Friday, July 26, 2019

The Leavers Assembly

I have just had the privilege of attending the ‘passing out ceremony’ of a group of Year 6 boys and girls. It was their last day at Primary School and in six weeks or so they will be launched into the rather bigger world of secondary education. I say ‘passing out ceremony’ because that’s what it felt like. It was most enjoyable. They were celebrating what they had achieved and the people that they had become since they arrived in the school. Approximately seven years ago they faced a whole new world – some of them were anxious, many of them quite settled and happy but for all them they faced the unknown. Now they have to do it all over again! Life’s like that, as we all known only too well. We just seem to get comfortable; find our slot and then things change. 

As a Christian I have the assurance that despite the changes in life I have an anchor. My anchor is none other than Jesus Christ – He provides the hope, ‘both sure and steadfast’,‘which hope we have as an anchor of the soul’. An anchor is a heavy object attached to a cable or chain and used to moor a ship to the sea bottom. When life is changing, we need a fixed point of reference, an anchor to keep us steady. One of the reasons for my being at the ‘leavers assembly’ was to wish the children well and to give them the gift of a Bible. There is no other document known to humanity that can give us stability and the fixed point of reference that we need as we make our journey through life. Within its pages we will discover the reason we exist, the cause of all the evil and sin in our world and the way that we can know what is eternal i.e. things that are of lasting value. To be confident in this life we need peace, contentment and confidence that our life has real significance. I believe the only way this is possible to get to know God, the maker of us all. He made us and he knows how we tick.

The reason that I believe that Jesus is the key to all of this (which why He is my anchor in life) is based on who He is as well as what He taught. Now I am aware that many of you may have switched off or be about to. Please stay with me a little longer and allow me to test your patience. What if Jesus is who he claimed to be? He claimed to be the Son of God, Saviour of the world, Messiah of Israel, Judge of all the earth and a whole lot more.

Just imagine that he actually did fulfil the ancient predictions of the Bible. For example he was born in Bethlehem. This was predicted in the Jewish Bible - Micah chapter 5 verse 2. He died the death of crucifixion. This was prophesied again in the Jewish Bible in Psalm chapter 22 verse 16 and Zechariah chapter 12 verse 10. These are only two examples; there are in fact many more. The Old Testament (the Jewish Bible), written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection.

Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering. Mathematicians put it this way:
1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!
It is the magnificent detail of these prophecies that mark the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Only God could foreknow and accomplish all that was written about the Messiah (the Christ). This historical accuracy and reliability sets the Bible apart from any other book or record.
This is why I believe what it says about Jesus and the claims that He made.
But it is not enough to agree that the Bible is the word of God, it is trusting God through His word that is the key
The Bible leads us to God and causes us to understand our need of His forgiveness
It is the Bible that shows us our sin – ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,’ Romans 3. 23
It is the Bible that tells us of God’s love and patience with us – ‘The Lord is . . . longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,’ 2 Peter 3. 9
It is this book that teaches us that ‘Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,’ 1 Corinthians 15. 3,4
And it is the scriptures that announce, ‘Be known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things,’ Acts 13. 38, 39. 
My prayer, as always, is not that you accept the accuracy of the Bible but that you come 
to know the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said 'and this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,'
John chapter 17 verse 3. 

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