MY BIBLE BLOG
In the last few weeks I faced the ultimate reality we call
death twice. As a hospital chaplain, I was called to minister to
families facing bereavement. In one instance a young mother of 31 years
died as the result of an acute asthma attack. In another an elderly
lady of 95 years passed away in her sleep. Death is no respecter of
Whether we’re young or old we mustn’t take life for granted. Every day
is a gift, to be embraced and enjoyed as from God. And death is a
reality to be faced by all of us. When death does come we need
meaningful words of comfort and hope. Jesus Christ offers such to all
who trust in him. He offers eternal life, that is, a quality life that
puts a sparkle into the everyday, and gives hope for the future.
Again, in hospital, a patient related how the story of Lazarus was
meaningful to them. In what way? It taught them that the Lord Jesus
could bring life and hope to the worst situation. When the Lord Jesus
raised Lazarus from the tomb, he said: “I AM the resurrection and the
life. He who believes in me will live” (John 11:25).
This month the Christian church is challenged with a revived
interest in gnostic writings. This is the result of Dan Brown’s
fictional novel The Da Vinci Code and its release as a movie, and the
attention directed to the so-called ‘hidden Gospels’ (such as the
Gospel of Thomas).
Dan Brown alleges, among other things, that Mary Magdalene and Jesus
got married and had a daughter, and that they settled in the south of
France and became the progenitors of the Merovingian kings.
Historically, the statement is untrue. Theologically, it undermines the
person of Christ, who is revealed as the Son of God in the New
Testament. The Gospel of Thomas compares with the simple language and
witness of the four Gospels as a complex, self-centred, philosophical
work. It ignores the works of the historical Jesus.
Belief in neo-gnostic writings side-steps the challenge of the risen
Lord, who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn.14:6).
For information and answers log on to Christianity Today’s website and
follow its links, e.g.: http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/2003/nov7.html
Whitsunday, as we used to call it, isn’t recognised by secular
calendars again this year. In spite of this, churches around the world
celebrated 2nd June as Pentecostal Sunday. Like Easter, this is an
important date. At Easter we remember the death and resurrection of the
Lord Jesus Christ; at Pentecost we celebrate the advent of the Holy
Spirit and the birth of the Christian church.
This year Pentecostal churches remember that 100 years ago the Spirit
was outpoured on believers in Azuza Street, Los Angeles, California.
The believers were anointed with the Spirit as the early Christians
were in Acts 2:1-4. At the same time the experience was repeated around
the world. The Pentecostal revival came to Wales in 1904, and
Sunderland in 1907. The Holy Spirit is still moving in the world in a
dynamic way today.
Whitsunday or Pentecostal Sunday should be more that a date to
remember. The biblical promise is for today: “Repent and be baptised
every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of
your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The
promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for
all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts2:38,39). So, “be filled with
the Spirit” (Eph.5:18)!
God bless you,