Vicar's letter March 2015

Dear Friends,

It was a Friday morning in Jerusalem and a massive crowd had gathered at Golgotha called “the place of the skull.” It was north of the city, just outside the Damascus Gate, by a well-travelled road. The Romans liked to hold their crucifixions in public places. Killing people in public brought a calming effect over the masses.

This particular crucifixion was unlike any before. Some called this man a prophet, while others said he was the King of Jews and, of course, some called him a blasphemer. It was about 9 a.m. and for the next three hours everything proceeded normally. When the sun was directly overhead, the sky went black, not overcast, but pitch black, so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Darkness fell across the city of Jerusalem for three hours. There was screaming, moaning and a crying out of sounds never heard before. Then, just as abruptly as it started, the darkness lifted and sanity returned to the earth. One glance and it was obvious that this man Jesus would not last much longer. The soldiers knew he wouldn’t make it to sundown. His body shook uncontrollably and his chest heaved with every tortured breath.

Then He shouted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Still the crowd mocked him. Death was drawing near as the moments passed. He whispered, “I thirst.” The soldiers lifted a sponge on a stalk of hyssop dipped in sour vinegar to His lips. You could hear the gurgling of blood in his throat as he moistened his lips and took a deep breath. Then with a quick shout. He breathed out His final words before death, “It is finished.”

How does that final statement Jesus made from the cross affect you and me? Let me share some good news about this outstanding display of love filled with all compassion, all mercy and amazing grace. “It is finished” means the debt was paid, the work was accomplished, the sacrifice was completed. There was nothing more God could do to save mankind. When Jesus died, he died once for all time for the sins of every person who has ever lived, past, present and future.

But, there is more… and we only need to look around at the wonderful signs of new life to remind us; the lambs, the daffodils and the longer days promising new growth and the warmth of summer to come. At Easter time we celebrate new life.

The blackness of Good Friday turns to the light of Easter morning. Utter grief becomes unadulterated joy. A dead revolutionary becomes a risen Messiah. Jesus is alive!

Come and share our joy as we celebrate Easter.

Your friend and Vicar

Rob Jackson


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