39 Honor Oak Road
Thought for the month
I was camping (not one of my favourite pastimes) at a Christian young people's conference when I heard the news. It was morning and the news was spreading around the campsite. Can you remember where you were when you heard? Where were you 20 years ago when you heard the news of Princess Diana's death? Or perhaps you remember hearing of the deaths of other famous people: Martin Luther King or John F Kennedy?
It is striking that many of us will remember the deaths of famous people from decades ago. Something about their life and death means that as a society we remember them. Yet it is even more striking that we still remember today the death of a man killed almost 2000 years ago - Jesus Christ. In many ways the death of Jesus could be seen as unremarkable - the Romans executed many thousands of people by crucifixion. Yet Jesus' death is remembered today because of what his death achieved.
Jesus had a special meal with bread and wine with his followers on the day before he died. During the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine and said:
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28 NIV)
All of us have fallen far short of the standards of a good and holy God, in our thinking, words and actions - what the Bible calls sin. Yet Jesus tells his followers that his death would be the way that we can be forgiven our sins in God's sight. For when Jesus died on the cross, he carried the sins of all of his people. In God's sight, as Jesus died on the cross, he was taking the just judgement for all those sins. Through Jesus' death, justice is done, and everyone who trusts in Jesus can be forgiven.
It is because of what Jesus' death achieved that we remember his death every week when the church meets - often through taking bread and wine as Jesus did on his last night with his followers. As we eat the bread and drink the wine we remember how Jesus' death means that we can be forgiven. Almost two thousand years have passed, but it is still through Jesus that, wonderfully, we can be forgiven and accepted by God.
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
(1 John 4:10 NIV)