11th April 2020
I just wanted to be in touch to wish you all a very Happy Easter. However odd this time may seem Jesus is the same ‘yesterday, today and forever’. And that means he is risen!
Easter changes everything. Absolutely everything. Ever since Adam and Eve bit into that apple the world has been decaying and dying. But beginning with Israel God began his plan of salvation and rescue. This culminated in the birth of the Jesus all those years ago. He grew up in Nazareth and worked as a carpenter. But aged 30 his public ministry began. He preached repentance and faith, like his cousin John the Baptist. God did many miracles through him and his teaching was extraordinary.
Yet, he made enemies of the religious establishment and in the end, they wanted him dead. And in a way that only God could arrange their rejection of him, led to the event which dealt with our rejection of God. When Jesus was killed the sky turned black as God poured out his anger at sin on his own beloved son. Jesus, in offering himself as a perfect sacrifice, enabled your and my slate to be wiped clean. When he cried out is finished, the barrier in the temple tore from tip to toe. The earth shook. People who had died long ago were seen walking around Jerusalem. Even though Jesus had died it was if a shock wave of life and love had hit the earth.
But to have grasped this on Good Friday would have been beyond most of us. Jesus hadn’t only dealt with sin, he’d also defeated death. The cold hand had no grip, and Jesus burst out of the tomb on Easter morning. The angels who had been present at his birth were back for his resurrection, making sure the disciples understood what was happening.
As a result of Holy Week you and I can be forgiven our sins; we can turn to Christ and ask him to save us. And that means we can have life. All the world is scared of death, but this fear is misplaced for Christians. We will die one day, but death for us is like the planting of a little seed. From that seed springs up a whole new plant. Our bodies are wearing out but when they are ‘planted’, a new and wonderful life will begin with God in heaven. The doorway to eternity is now wide open and above that door is marked Jesus’ message: ‘Repent and Believe’. If we turn from all we know is wrong, ask God to forgive us, trust that Christ died for us and rose again, then eternal life becomes ours.
This is what we believe as Christians and no wonder people celebrate. It’s the best news in the world ever! Hallelujah!
I love the way John Hughes put all this into the last verse of Guide me Oh thou Great Redeemer and I pray these words will help us to praise Him who gave his all for us.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
Have a super Easter and don’t’ forget to get in touch with Simon Mills at ‘Love Marlborough’ is you need any help (07982 199583).
With every blessing
Rev Chris Smith, 01672 514 357
On a lighter note:
One Easter a priest and a taxi driver both died and went to heaven. St. Peter was at the Pearly Gates waiting for them. 'Come with me,' said St. Peter to the taxi driver.
The taxi driver did as he was told and followed St Peter to a mansion. It had everything you could imagine from a bowling alley to an Olympic size pool. 'Oh, my word, thank you,' said the taxi driver.
Next, St. Peter led the priest to a rough old shack with a bunk bed and a little old television set. 'Wait, I think you are a little mixed up,' said the priest. 'Shouldn't I be the one who gets the mansion? After all I was a priest, went to church every day, and preached God's word.'
'Yes, that's true.' St Peter replied, 'But during your Easter sermons people slept. When the taxi driver drove, everyone prayed.'