Minister’s Letter April 2015


‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship, or persecution, or nakedness or danger or sword? [Romans 8:35] ‘

Dear Friends,

The ultimate expression of God’s love is seen on the Cross. God gives up his only son for us. Sending Jesus to Calvary is both a mark of his love for us and an act of His will.  We know from the human perspective that true love is sacrificial in its expression. True love has a view of the greater good that can be gained from a sacrificial act. We might think of a soldier on the front line bravely sacrificing his safety for the good of his friends. How much more good does God the Father have in mind when he gives up Jesus for no ordinary crucifixion?

If the Cross is about God’s love, then the Resurrection is all about hope. Death is the great taboo that none of us speaks about: but it is the greatest of life’s certainties. God knows how much we fear death and so in the ultimate act of hope, God the Father raises Jesus the Son from the death and he shares this resurrection life with us.

On the one hand we have God’s cross-centred love and other we have his resurrection hope. What is it that binds them together for the Christian? Surely it is the Christian’s faith in God that ties the two together.

Without faith which gives the scriptures context, then the events described on Good Friday might well describe any other crucifixion of a Roman criminal. There may have been hundreds of thousands of Roman criminals crucified during the height of the empire but our faith in Christ provides meaning for this particular crucifixion described in the gospels, as it provides us with God’s explanation of the events. Jesus’s violent end was part of God’s plan for him and for humanity and creation as a whole. There is a grand purpose to Jesus’s crucifixion.

To begin with we must remember that God is a relational being. One of the best examples of this is how God relates to himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit within the Trinity. He also desires to relate to humans beings; but sin gets in the way and results in a vast gulf between ourselves and a God who is holy. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament provided temporary relief for the sinner to come to God in penitence and receive God’s forgiveness, but a more permanent and universal solution was provided by Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross, as the unblemished Lamb of God. He takes the place that we deserve and the punishment for our sins. The result is that the Cross is not only the place of Jesus’s dereliction, but it is also the place of forgiveness between God and ourselves. Indeed it is more than that, it is the place of reconciliation between God and all of creation which had been tainted by sin.

But as Christians we know that the Cross of Good Friday is not the end. There is a ‘to be continued…’ found in the gospels that culminates in the resurrection of Easter morning. God declares to us that death is not the end for us and life beyond the grave is a real and tangible promise to Jesus’s disciples. This is coupled with the promise that a new heaven and a new earth are being prepared by God for us when those who died in Christ will be raised to life by the same resurrection power that raised Jesus.

But what about Resurrection life in the here and now? God our Father has expectations of us in the life of faith. We are to live out the humble ways of God’s kingdom in obedience to our Saviour Christ the King. The scriptures are clear that God’s expectations of his people are to live the way of his kingdom and not the selfish way of the world. Jesus described the way of the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount [Matt. 5:1-7:26]. He showed the way of a servant by washing the disciples’ feet in the upper room [John 13:1-17]. His description of the character of kingdom living in the Christian’s heart can be summed up with the words ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all soul and with all your mind’ [Matt. 22:37].

So as we celebrate Easter together, keep these three things in view: the forgiveness of the Cross, the hope of the resurrection and the life of faith of Christ’s disciples.

Every blessing for Easter

Your minister and friend