Home About us Lighthouse What's on Listen Again Contact us Links
THE CHURCH
OF ENGLAND “When the
power of love
overcomes the
love of power
the world will
know peace”
< I was intrigued when I came across this quote in a little book by John Maxwell called The Power of Leadership. The quote is from an American coach called John Wooden, and Maxwell comments, “When we get beyond a superficial understanding of an idea or concept is when the truth really sinks in” (p.73).

That made me sit up and take notice, and I hope it will make you do the same in this season as we approach the celebration of Good Friday and Easter. All Christians are familiar with the events of Good Friday and Easter: Jesus allowed Himself to be offered as a sacrifice to bear the burden and responsibility for all our sin when He suffered the terrible death of crucifixion. But the reason the Easter weekend is a time of such joyful celebration is the knowledge that Jesus didn’t stay dead! When the women went to anoint Jesus’ corpse with spices, they found no body in the tomb; instead, there were two angels, who told them, “He is not here; He has risen” (Luke 24:6)! God had raised Jesus bodily, and in every other way, from the dead.

None of this is at all new to anyone who is a regular (or even an irregular) worshipper at a Christian church. But this is where John Wooden’s quote comes in: “It’s what you learn after you know it that counts.” Let’s apply this to the basic truths of the Christian faith which I have outlined in the previous paragraph.
The message of the Bible is that Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice on the cross to pay for your sin, which would otherwise always have constituted an insurmountable barrier between you and God. Imagine knowing that there was a God of love, compassion and purity, but also knowing that you would never be able to know that God for yourself because you had no way to make good all the ways in which you had offended against Him, which stood as a barrier between you and Him. What a terrible situation to be in (actually, this is precisely what it means to be in hell: knowing there is a God of love, but excluded from His presence for all eternity).

When this realisation truly sinks in, that the dreadful fate I have just described could have been ours – but isn’t because Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty of our sin and make it possible for us to come right into God’s presence and dwell for ever in His light and glory and grace – that is when we move beyond a superficial understanding of the cross and our breath is taken away by the sheer magnitude of the mercy God has shown us.

And that’s before we’ve got as far as Jesus’ resurrection! For every human being, death is the end, it is that boundary beyond which lies the dread of the unknown. But by rising bodily from the dead, Jesus has crossed that boundary, He has transformed it into a gateway that no one who believes in Him need fear going through, because it leads
into a fuller experience of God’s presence than we will ever have known before.

And if all that was not enough, the apostle Paul states clearly that that “incomparably great power” by which God raised Jesus from the dead is available now “for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19,20). So yes, I know in my head that God’s resurrection power is available for us who believe, but I want to learn everything God has to show me about living in the reality of that truth. If John Wooden is right that “it’s what you learn after you know it that counts”, then, I may know in my head the things I have set out in this article, but I want to learn every last thing God has to show me about the reality of experiencing those things.

One last thing to say: if you have read this article and you are not sure whether you have placed your faith in Jesus or not, please take this opportunity to make sure – it’s the most important thing you will ever do. If you would like to talk it through with me, I would be delighted to do so – just ring me on 020 8300 4712 – or come to one of the Easter services (or any 10am Sunday morning service) and I will be glad to chat with you or make an appointment to come and see you.
Rupert Hankey Writes about
“…the reason the
Easter weekend
is a time of such
joyful celebration
is the knowledge
that Jesus didn’t
stay dead!” Learning Something
After You Know It