American poet John Greenleaf Whittier once wrote, "Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, `It might have been.’"  One of the most tragic words in human language is the word "almost." "Almost" speaks of missed opportunities.  A life filled of almost is a life filled with regret; it is a life that speaks of disappointment.
    The most infamous "almost" in history would have to be when Pilate almost released Jesus. Luke 23: 23 says, "But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that He be crucified, & their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand." Pilate had the authority to release Jesus.  He knew Jesus was innocent, and his wife even warned him not to have anything to do with Jesus.  Pilate almost listened, but he didn't.  He surrendered Jesus to their will.
   The soldiers then took Jesus, beat him, placed a crown of thorns on him, placed the cross on his back, and led him out to be crucified.  Satan and his demons thought they were won; they were celebrating.  The hopes and dreams of Satan were almost realized, but Sunday was coming.
    On that cross , Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US!”  It was on that cross that Jesus Christ offered his perfect, sinless life on behalf of each one of us. When Jesus Christ breathed his last, he cried out; “It is finished.” The penalty was paid.  Before that fateful Friday, God could open the books and look up each name, and written in black were the words, “guilty of sin.” On that resurrection Sunday, across the name of every believer God wrote in Jesus blood, “forgiven.” 
   A father and son were traveling down a country road on afternoon in the spring time when suddenly a bee flew in the window. Being deathly allergic to bee stings, the boy began to panic as the bee buzzed all around inside the car. Seeing the horror on his child’s face, the father reached out and caught the bee in his hand. Soon, he opened his hand and the bee began to buzz around once again. Again, the boy began to panic. The father reached over to his son, and opened his hand showing him the stinger still in his palm. “Relax, son,” the father said, “I took the sting; the bee can’t hurt you anymore.”
   The empty tomb is God’s way of saying to us, “Relax, my child, I took the sting; death can’t hurt you anymore.”
    Don't live your life in the almosts.  Live it with the confidence of knowing you are a child of God who can rest in saving grace of Christ's blood and walk the path laid before you with confidence in the God who loved you enough to give his only Son for you.
In Him,
Pastor Boyd

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