Mat’s April Letter

One of the most common things said to me as a vicar at Christmas is, “this must be your busy period”. Actually Easter is far busier, and rightly so. The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are the key events of the Christian faith.

A couple of weeks ago I preached on John 3Open Link in New Window at another church in the Deanery. Jesus and Nicodemus are having a discussion Jesus tells him; “unless you are born of water and Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus does not understand.

Jesus is trying to explain the ultimate purpose of his coming. That purpose is gloriously expressed at Easter. In the garden of Eden God, humanity and creation live in perfect relationship. That is destroyed when Adam and Eve disobey God. A barrier is erected by our wilful disobedience. We are expelled from the garden and the direct presence of God; banished from heavenly to earthly. Through the Old Testament God tries to draw people back to him. But his people continually ignore and reject him. So God sends his only Son into the world; Jesus, both fully God and fully human. His death, resurrection and ascension defeat sin and death, and provide a gateway in him for humankind, and all creation to be re-united with God.

When we confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord we are born again spiritually. We become present in the heavenly places in Jesus, having direct access to the Father. We are given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of this wonderful truth and as a helper to live in us and enable us to live more like Jesus.

All this is God’s gift to us in love. We are born again to live as God’s children and as God’s witnesses. That is the good news. That is the Easter story. Praise God!

A colleague of mine was saying the other day that his window cleaner showed more joy at cleaning windows than some of his congregation showed in worship. I hope and pray that as we journey through Lent and into Easter, the magnitude of all that Jesus did will become increasingly real. When we truly grasp the fullness of the gospel of Jesus, we will be filled with joy at our new birth in Christ. Happy Easter!


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