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Devotional: Luke 3:1-14

The Luke Devotionals:

As part of my Bible study in the book of Luke, I started writing devotionals for each passage, and decided to post them here. I also will have the devotionals translated into Japanese, so if you know of any Japanese-speaking women who are curious about Christ, please do point them here!

English is at the bottom.

***

ルカ3章1節〜14節

8年生から9年生に進級するときの夏休み、わたしの心はとても悲しかったのです。わたしは、とても恥ずかしがりやで人とうまく話すこともできずに、クラスのなかで友達もいなくて孤独でした。そのようなことから、わたしはだんだん人を避けて一人になり、その孤独感から逃避するために小説を読むようになりました。本だけがわたしの友達だとよく思っていました。

大学で心理学を専攻したあと、今となるとわたしは鬱病だったと思います。一週間に何回か自殺を考えるようになっていました。家族が精神科医にいくようになったのですが、その中で弟がADHD (注意力不足活動過多症)だったので、わたしが精神科医と話す時間はあまりありませんでした。わたしは一人の少女の短編小説を書きました。その少女は自分の存在は無意味であり、すべては無駄であり、自殺を考えている少女でした。

神様の恵みにより、そのころ教会に行くようになりました。唯一、自殺願望を阻止していたのは、毎週教会の牧師が罪の悔い改め、キリストにある喜びの説教でした。わたしは、個人的にその罪の悔い改め、キリストにある喜びを経験していたわけではないのですが、頭では、そのことを理解していました。

何が原因だったか覚えていませんが、ある晩、クライマックスが来たのです。わたしは、泣き崩れ、神様に自殺しないように助けを求めて祈ったのです。その時、何があったのかわかりませんが、わたしは罪を悔い改めて、「良いクリスチャン」になることを決心しました。

わたしの感情は何も変わりませんでした。自殺願望が続きましたが、だんだん自殺願望は少なくなり、そのうちにその自殺願望はまったく無くなっていました。このようなことが内科医、精神科医の治療をせずに起こったということは、今思うと奇跡です。

わたしが奇跡なのです。

聖書の中でバプテストのヨハネは、罪を悔い改め、悪の道から離れるように人々に言いました。
人々はすすんで、罪を悔い改めました。なぜなら、人間よりもずっと高いところの力のある方に説明責任をしなければいけないと考えたからです。

その当時でさえ、多くの違う神々、多くの違う宗教がありました。バプテストのヨハネは、イスラエルの神様は、すべての人々の罪を救うために神の御子キリスト、「救い主」をこの世におくって下さいました。

ある人たちはキリストを信じ、ある人たちは違う神々を信じました。ある人たちは、罪に気がついて悔い改め、ある人たちは悔い改める必要はないと信じていました。(それらの人たちをバプテストのヨハネは「まむしのすえたち。」と呼んでいます。)ある人たちは、最後には神様の前に罪の説明責任があると信じたのです。罪を悔い改めたのです。

何をあなたが信じるかはあなたの選択です。でもわたしはこの神様を信じ、この方に罪の説明責任があると信じています。神様は存在することを信じています、なぜならこの神様はわたしを自殺から救って下さり、人間の理解を超えたこの神様がわたしの心に触れて下さったからです。その時には、理解できず、劇的なことではなかったのですが、わたしが奇跡なのです、この神様によって。

そしてあなたもです。

神様があなたに命を与えたのです。この同じ神様が今あなたの人生に大きな衝撃を与え、新しい方向にあなたを導くことができるのです。あのヨハネが言ったように簡単なメッセージです。
悔い改めなさい。そしてあなたは罪深い行動から方向を転換しなさい。

言うのは行うことより簡単ですよね。そうですね。でもこの罪の悔い改めがあなたを罪の赦しへ完全に導いてくださるのです。もうこの罪の重荷を背負うことはないのです。神様がわたしを自殺願望からだんだんと助けてくれたように、神様はあなたをもだんだんに変えてくれます。

信仰による一歩:神様に祈る時間をもってみてください。罪を神様に告白して、悔い改めて、罪を赦して下さり、あなたを変えて下さる神様を信じましょう。

訳者 山上弘子

***

Luke 3:1-14

In the summer between my 8th and 9th grade years, I was in sad shape emotionally. I was very shy and socially awkward, and I felt like an outcast in my classroom, where I had no friends. I retreated further into myself, avoiding people, and I spent time reading fiction to escape from my loneliness. I would often feel that books were my only friends.

After majoring in Psychology in college, I know now that I had been in a clinical depression. I had thoughts of suicide several times a week. My family was going to a family psychiatrist, but the focus was on my brother, who had ADHD, and I had very few one-on-one sessions with the doctor. I wrote a short story about a girl who committed suicide and the futility of it all, the meaningless of her existence.

By the grace of God, I was also going to church at that time. I think it was the one thing that kept the suicide thoughts at bay, because each week I would hear the preacher talk about repenting of my sins and discovering the joy to be found in Christ. I understood it intellectually even though I hadn’t experienced it personally.

It came to a climax one night, although I don’t remember what caused it. I remember breaking down and praying to God to help me not to commit suicide. I didn’t really understand what it was, but I repented of my sins and committed to being a “good Christian.”

I didn’t feel any different. I continued to have suicidal thoughts, but I didn’t realize until later that those thoughts came less and less, and eventually they stopped almost entirely. I know now that for this to happen without medical or psychiatric treatment is a miracle.

I am a miracle.

In Luke chapter 3, verses 1-14, John the Baptist was telling people to repent of their sins and turn from their wicked practices. People were willing to repent because they believed that they were accountable to a Higher Power.

Even back in those days, there were lots of different gods and different religions. John the Baptist was preaching about the God of Israel, who had sent His son Jesus, the “Messiah,” into the world to save everyone from their sins.

Some people believed in Jesus, and others believed in other gods. Some people were aware of their sin and repented, while others didn’t believe they needed to repent (the “brood of vipers” that John mentions). Some people believed they were ultimately accountable to God, and that’s why they repented of their sins.

What you believe is your choice. But I believe in God, and I believe I am accountable to Him. I believe God exists because I felt the supernatural touch of God when He saved me from committing suicide. It wasn’t dramatic or even noticeable at the time, but I am a miracle because of Him.

So are you.

God gave you life. That same God can impact your life now and draw you toward a new direction. It’s as simple as John’s message: repent. Then change your actions so that you turn away from the sinful things you do.

It’s easier said than done, right? But just the act of repentance brings you complete forgiveness of your sins. That’s a burden you don’t have to bear any longer. And like how God gradually helped me stop having suicidal thoughts, God can help you gradually change, too.

Faith step: Spend some time praying to God. Confess your sins and repent, and then believe that God has forgiven you and will help you to change.

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