From the Pastor
Happy New Year! Here we are at the start of 2019! At the beginning of a new year many churches choose a text and make it the text for the year ahead, or at least something to think of as we begin another twelve months. It might not be something we’ve ever done here – how do you choose from the thousands of appropriate verses in a book as glorious as the Scriptures? – but perhaps this year we could let the year itself choose the text. As we begin 2019, it’s worth looking at one of the ‘20:19’s of the Bible – John 20:19! It’s worth reproducing entirely here too!
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.””
There are a number of good reasons why this 20:19 should encourage us as we enter our 2019. Perhaps the first thing that strikes us is the word ‘peace’. After the busyness of the Christmas and holiday season we all would value a little peace I am sure. As we look at the political and economic uncertainty in our country, and the state of the world we live in, we are glad to think of a promised peace. But the peace that Jesus is thinking of is something far greater than either of those things. It is the biblical idea of shalom, a peace that has the idea of wholeness and spiritual well-being. The peace that Jesus brings to these first disciples, and to the church today, is a peace with God, and a peace within ourselves that nothing and nobody in this world can give us. Do you have that peace?
The occasion on which Jesus spoke these words gives us added hope as we enter another New Year with all its uncertainties. It is good to remember that John 20:19 describes the events of the evening of the first Easter Day – the first time the Lord Jesus had appeared to the disciples gathered together since His death and resurrection. The One who offers and proclaims peace is the One who has just conquered death and the grave. He has defeated Satan and evil, died on the cross for the sins of all His people, and risen again so that we can see that His sacrifice was accepted and believers can be assured of a resurrection and eternal life too. It is probably worth mentioning that the 20:19 in Matthew’s Gospel is one of Christ’s prophesies to His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise again! The promise and prophecy is fulfilled. Jesus has died and risen again. He has defeated the strongest and most deadly of enemies.
That means that we can enter the New Year with real peace. The Jesus who died and rose again can be our Saviour and Lord. With Him in our hearts and securing our future, and with Him as our great High Priest at the Father’s right hand in Heaven, interceding and preparing a place for us, we know that we are safe whatever 2019 might bring. Do you know that? Do you have His peace? Gordon