From death to life

Outside the empty tomb

Today we remember the culmination of a battle won, we celebrate a great victory. It’s a victory that has changed the course of history and dramatically altered the quality of life of millions on this planet, yet strangely is understood by so few.

Almost two thousand years ago, and documented by a variety of historians of the time, Jesus died on a Roman cross outside the walls of Jerusalem; but His death was planned before the world began. In fact He said that He came to give His life as a ransom. It was to be a divine exchange: Jesus’ perfection sacrificed for our guilt, that we may go free, forgiven, accepted and cleansed for all eternity.

Death is a formidable enemy. It is something that none of us can avoid, but it was helpless against Jesus. Yes, He succumbed to death, but that was His choice. It could not hold Him, as hundreds of witnesses at the time could testify (1 Corinthians 15:6). He rose from the dead, even keeping an appointment in Galilee that He made before His death (Matthew 26:32; John 21).

Throughout His time on earth, He frequently spoke about life; not just humdrum, everyday life, but a new quality of life that continues into eternity, and that is on offer to all who will put their trust in Him. John, one of His closest followers, records His words: “I came to give life with joy and abundance.” “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” “Whoever trusts in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life.” “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

However, Jesus didn’t just talk about it, He fought the battle with death and came out the victor, and because of what He did two thousand years ago, we have the opportunity today to receive that free gift of life, life in all its fulness, life for all eternity.

To find out more, check out: Time to Change.

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What is your safety net?

Human cannonball
Entering the cannon

A great tragedy occurred in Kent on Monday. Matt Cranch, a young stuntman, performing as a human cannonball died when a safety net failed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Many people have a spiritual safety net that they beleieve will keep them safe in eternity. For Egyptian pharaohs it was the treasures that filled their tombs. For some today, their safety net is a belief in reincarnation, without any certainty that it will hold them. Of course wishful thinking doesn’t turn something that is supposed into something that is real. The atheist claims that there is no life after this one, but has no certainty; remember the 2008 atheist bus campaign slogan, “There’s probably no God.” The only dependable safety net is a real relationship now with the One who made us; knowing that as the Bible describes it, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath  are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

A second tragedy occurred this week in Texas on Wednesday. David Wilkerson, a world famous author and pastor, died in a fatal traffic accident. Whether Matt knew where he was going or not, we don’t know, but David Wilkerson certainly did. He knew God personally, and had done for many years. You can read about his experiences with God and with New York gang members in his book The Cross and the Switchblade. God’s words were precious to David. Just as the Psalmist writes:

“Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.” (Psalm 119:109)