Last weekend we went away down the Coast and dropped in on some people we’d never met before. They were ‘acquaintances’, friends of friends so you never know how it might go. But, for four hours – us, them their friends and family spent a wonderful time together. We laughed, we ate, drank, talked, prayed, healed and loved.
In a world that can barely seem to stand side by side for a moment, what is that drew strangers together for an evening of such intense joy? Well, behind it all stood the towering figure of Jesus, the divine man of such startling contrasts. Humble, simple, loving and yet forceful enough to draw together those who seek to serve and obey. The same Lord who demands total obedience is the one who gives total freedom in return. He alone keeps us together in love, in spite of the fact we cannot see it. It is not always tangible – sometimes it is just an experience, yet one where we know his presence.
That night as we sat around the table, each person shared stories from the past few weeks and they almost all centred around him, our Lord and Saviour. We told of others who had been set free when they too had encountered him, some who had been healed, yet more finding peace in lives that had never had any. We heard of night turning into day, death moving to life in people’s lives, all on account of this simple carpenter from Nazareth.
This is what Paul, inspired by the Spirit of God said of this simple carpenter, our Jesus:
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
The one lesson we all took away from that night, is that given who he is, we need to share more of him. He alone is the answer to this life, and the more we share that with others, the more we see the reality. There is nothing trite in the phrase, Jesus Saves.
When we see what he has done, we can see why you would not want to keep such a thing a secret. Paul continues:
This includes you who were once far away from God.
You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
For many people, the notion that there is a God who so completely and utterly accepts them, on account of what Jesus has done on their behalf is simply staggering. For those who have spent a lifetime under condemnation, it takes a while to sink in, but when it does, it is life changing.
It needs to be life changing for us who believe as well. May you dwell in his presence this week, with this carpenter, this King, this Lord. But let us also share him, this Jesus who saves.