Sometimes that ‘what if?” question of thought just passes through your mind. “What if I’d married someone else?” “What if I’d been born in another country?” So many options to think on like these! In 1 Corinthians 15;12-34, Paul asks the question ‘What if Christ was not raised?” and comes up with some devastating answers. The resurrection of Jesus is so crucial to the Scriptures that without it, everything else falls. Paul even says that we may as well live the the rest of the world and adopt their philosophy ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!’. But he doesn’t leave it there. One of the great ‘buts’ of the Bible puts things into their proper perspective!
David John Anderson d.16.06.1915 aged 18 William James Blake d.18.09.1918 aged 23 William Ferguson Buchan d.1.07.1916 aged 23 John James Hindley d. 6.05.1919 aged 28 William Love d. 31.08.1918 aged 43 Angus Mackay d.19.08.1916 aged 19 Archibald McAlpine d. 2.10.1916 aged 31 Thomas Menzies d. 9.09.1915 aged 45 Walter Harold Reynell d.11.11.1917 aged 21 Richard Bertram Taylor d. 28.04.1918 aged 21
When you compare the leaders of world religions, it’s clearly a no-contest. Only Jesus lives. The rest are dead. And the evidence for this resruuection of Jesus is something that the Apostle Paul was keen to share with the church at Corinth. So in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul did just that, reminded his readers of not only the information that had been passed down to him personally, but also of his own experience (not to mention that of at least 500 others) of the risen Christ. But this message of the resruuection is not just fact, it is fact that leads to a changed life and a living hope in the face of death.
There’s no doubt that the death of Jesus was one of the world’s greatest events for all the wrong reasons. Not only was He inncocent of all charges laid against Him and not only did the situation show itself to be one fuelled by anger and hatred, it was also true that it was possibly the greatest injustice ever handed out to a man. It’s telling that when the Son of God appeared on earth, mankind rejected Him and put Him on the cross. But that’s not the whole story and in Mark 15:1-15, the other side of the coin is made clear. Jesus went through with all this in obedience to God’s plan and in the madness of it all, we can trace the love and mercy of God.
One of the most obvious features about living in this world is the fast pace of living! Life is lived at such a rush and any kind of delay can easily lead to outbursts of anger of frustration. Something somewhere is terribly wrong! In the midst of all the rush, deep down we still know that our busyness does not completely drown out the fact that we are burdened by sin, feelings of guilt and much fear. We enjoy many things in this world, but inwardly we yearn for true rest and peace.
In the midst of all this, the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 are so inviting. He said, ‘Come unto Me, all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. Here He is, calling us to come to Him, to trust in Him and find rest in Him. He does not wish to add to our burden but wants to lessen it by coming to Him. And He can do that because He gave His life for us and received it back again from God the Father at that first Easter so long ago!
This invitation of Jesus deserves a response. You will not hear words like this from anyone else in this world! No one else can promise rest for your soul and deliver on that promise.
As Easter comes around once again, why don’t you stop and take some time to consider where your life is heading and think over what Jesus promised? And if you intend on doing that, then these words of John Mason from the seventeenth century may also help. He wrote; ‘Come as you are; come poor, come needy, come naked, come empty, come wretched, only come, only believe; His heart is free, His arms are open; ‘tis His joy and His crown to receive you. If you are willing, He never was otherwise.’
There’s no doubt that the human body is a wonderful invention. The fact that we can move, breathe, talk, eat sleep, is so often taken for granted. So much has to happen for everything to work together. If the church is the ‘body of Christ’ as 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 indicates, then it’s likely that the same holds true. Every part of the body not only has its own place but its own purpose and function. And every part of the body, each individual in the body is linked to the One who is the Head of the body for His purposes. That’s the wonder of being part of ‘the Church’, which exists for His glory and not that of the individual parts!
The Old Testament book of Joshua tells the story of the people of Israel taking possession of the land of Canaan according to God’s promise and instruction. By the time Joshua 9:1-27 comes around, not all has gone according to plan for God’s people – mainly through their own disobedience and failure to keep in touch with the Lord and His plans. This message of the chapter preached by Chris, tells us of a similar story, but ends up with a striking parallel for the those who are saved by His grace and included in the number of His people today.
The Church. What is it? Some say a building. This is true, but only one aspect of the answer. The idea of the Church being a ‘body’ is found in the New Testament, especially in 1 Corinthians 12:1-13. The church is made up of individuals, all saved by grace, and all united to the one Head (Jesus) who brings us together and makes us part of His body. It’s this that unites us and this unity should be evident to the whole world throughout all generations as witness to the the one truth, ‘Jesus is Lord’.