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IT IS FINISHED!

HAPPY EASTER!


On Easter Day I usually share one of my favourite pieces of art by my good friend Gill Douglas: It is finished. (She gave me a print of this as a leaving present when I left St Michael Le Belfrey).


It’s based on Christ’s final words on the cross when he gave up his life for a lost humanity.

It’s wonderful and profound and awe-inspiring because it illustrates the central truth of the gospel (what the apostle Paul was later to call ‘justification by faith’ - the fact that we can only be made right with our holy creator by the work of Another -namely Christ by his atoning work on the cross.


The opposite of this is ‘justification by works’ the natural religion of humanity which I encounter in my travels frequently (people believing that by good works they might possibly have the hope of heaven which of course is futile). It took me years to work out that God is not religious and in my preaching I sometimes say “religion says DO Christianity says DONE “ It is finished !


This year I juxtapose Douglas’ wonderful work of art with a photograph of Jack and Martin, who came in off the streets to hear me preach last night about the Resurrection of Jesus.

(photo and story used with permission).


Martin (on the right) had given his life to Christ before but fallen away but for Jack (on the left) it was the first time. As Jack was hearing me preach (he later told me) “I was having to fight back the tears. I didn’t know why I was feeling like this”. Martin gave his life back to the Lord and said in tears. “There’s such an amazing atmosphere in this place. I don’t feel judged - it feels like the house of God” (and asked me for a hug).


I prayed for them after the service, and both had powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit.

They were in tears and Jack experienced warmth and heat and Martin experienced weight in his whole being (they both said that they would have naturally fallen over but had to stop themselves from doing so). This is the resurrection in action.


Religion would have been as much use as a chocolate teapot to these guys.

They needed the risen Jesus coming to them in the power of the Spirit to give them life.


And so do you and I.



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