Dear members and friends of VP,
This month offers opportunity for expressions of love and gratitude to God Almighty for what He has done for us through Jesus, His Son. For any person who knows and understands who Jesus is, it is His death and resurrection that is amazing because it gives us hope in a world that has little cause for hope.
In the light of the many discouraging things we witness in this life, it is good for us to pause and consider what life would be like without true hope as established by Jesus Christ. Objectively speaking, the world offers little reason for hope.
- Human nature suggests we are in a hopeless situation. We witness lack of love, kindness and grace in politics, racial relations and in a multitude of other relational settings. Lack of peace is evident everywhere nationally and internationally. Money, power, and hatred infect human relations throughout the world. God offers His perspective in Genesis 6:5.
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”Genesis 6:5
Human nature is always problematic. We cannot trust that human beings will ever establish peace on earth.
- Of greater concern is that there is absolutely nothing we can do that will resolve the inevitability of death. While we desire and pursue better health care for all people, better food resources and living conditions for everyone, and may seek to preserve the planet for our descendants who live after us, death, for every one of us, is inevitable. Death is a frightening reality if the best we can hope for is a short time on planet earth ending with the return of our body to dust.
Human nature and death suggest that the life we live is without hope if we would like a world where there is peace and no fear of death. I personally struggled with this during my teenage years. I believed there had to be more to life than earning enough money to do whatever I wanted. I felt there had to be meaning to the short life we lived. Upon reading the Gospel of John, I discovered that Jesus Christ was a person who knew the meaning of life. He said things that made me think.
“Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”John 14:6
“Jesus said to her (Martha), “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”John 11:25-26
I had never heard anyone speak like this and I was determined to understand more about Jesus and the things He said.
As I sought a deeper understanding of Jesus, I began to realize that understanding Jesus involved understanding God and His involvement in the redemption of the world. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection did not just happen by chance. They were designed by the creator of the universe to liberate mankind from the power of sin and death. Jesus stressed this divine purpose in His teachings.
“Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:27-28
“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”Matthew 26:27-28
Easter is the time of the year when we focus upon celebrating the liberation of life from the power of sin and death. What I referenced above as reason for hopelessness has been replaced by victory accomplished by Jesus Christ. We now no longer fear the human condition and reality of death. We have been liberated from their power over us. I like what the Apostle Paul said.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”I Corinthians 15:55-57
Let us together, as members and friends of Valley Park, celebrate the victory of Jesus that gives us hope no matter what we see in this world that is discouraging. Let us express gratitude to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for loving us so much that He would die for us. In the arms of Jesus we have real hope.
To God be the glory,