'LAZARUS, COME OUT!' And he who had been dead four days arose and got up, and came out! A memorable, remarkable, and astonishing story, if true! Was it true?
A former Anglican, Bishop David Jenkins is recorded as saying (in sharing his views in the 1980s) that the Resurrection was comparable to 'a conjuring trick with bones.' He was to go further and to say that both the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection should not be taken literally at all. He is not alone in this. Both The current Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa have voiced similar views. An article written in 2002 by one Jonathan Petre states -
'A third of the Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve
in the physical Resurrection, and only half are convinced
of the Virgin Birth'.
Have things changed since then I wonder - or is the picture even worse?
JESUS certainly existed, and just two weeks before he was undoubtedly Crucified in Jerusalem, he found himself outside of his friend's tomb, surrounded with his grieving relatives, disciples, and others. He was not alone. What happened was witnessed by ALL present. As another Bishop said 'It was so clearly visible it could have been videoed, had a camera been available.' This was not something done in a corner, or in a closet. It was done in the light of day. Oh, yes it MUST have happened as described. And Jesus, continued his own journey to his own death, and his own Resurrection, the Gospel of Luke telling how Zacchaeus the tax collector had tea with Him and been redeemed from his greed and dishonesty; and how he taught and spoke with his disciples along the road.....that road he had set himself determinedly to Jerusalem, and His Death. Then also as he left the home of Lazarus, how he went on toward the great City, collecting crowds along the way who had seen and heard the great things that He had done.............' All this carefully observed and noticed by those who were with him; not by angels or supernatural beings, but by ordinary men and women like you and me. This was no account of a Fairy Story. NO, it was a factual narrative of what was taking place.
AND THUS to St.Paul's 1st Letter to the Corinthian Church, chapter 15verses 12-58 (and no I am not referring to ALL the verses, but only commending the serious and thoughtful reading of them), where he says -
NOW, if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But, if there is no resurrection of the dead, thén Christ is not risen.
AND if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching for nothing, and your faith also for nothing.
You are still in your sins. All those who have fallen asleep have perished. There is no eternal life.
Indeed if this should be true then we have nothing to HOPE in or for, apart from our earthly existence, and we are indeed most miserable sinners. The RESURRECTION of the dead gives REASON for everything experienced on earth. Without that hope in us, then we have nothing to live FOR, and are no better than the feckless ant busy upon his anthill.
BUT EASTER is almost upon us, the season that forces us to look up and be caught up in the ultimate JOY that fills God's Heaven; the JOY of all the Ransomed who have died in Christ, and who confidently look forward to living WITH HIM with God at home IN Heaven......... This is why Christ Suffered and Died, and rose again, not only that our sins might be forgiven and cleansed, but that we might be restored fully to the God and Home our sin had separated us from. EASTER is the BRIGHT LIGHT of every year since Christ died.
THIS IS ABIGAIL, our daughter Helen's daughter, our granddaughter. She is FOUR today, and a very bright and happy child. She loves to laugh and chatter, and is full of inquisitive interest in everything. Very affectionate and out going; the darling of all who know her. Hopefully she and her Mum might be with us soon for the Easter Holiday. They are both down in Nairobi residentially, since Helen is teaching there. We miss them both, but miss the three of our children who are in England, with their five children, even more. Hoping to see Steven with his son Eric, and maybe also together with John Finney, Lizzy's son in July - God Willing. It is GREAT to have children, good or bad! They are the fruit and product of our love for each other. We and our partners are entwined in each of our children, and we cannot but remember how they reflect our first love for each other, and constantly remind us to be thankful and grateful to each other. It helps us to love our children faithfully with thanksgiving.
This what binds families together. It is God's Plan.
IT IS RAINING AGAIN, and the sky is grey and cheerless. And it is not even the season for it. Well, but so far Eldoret has not suffered because of it, and together with other areas we should be GLAD for it, since rain and water from any source has been scarce in much of Kenya. BUT now also FLOODING is being experienced too, in Nairobi, and other places. Flooding that comes every year with the rains, but which always seems to take everyone by surprise, causing much hardship, discomfort, disease, and even death.
I am hopeful to be able to send the 2nd Update to you all soon, and before Easter arrives. The New Year has been rather 'uphill' at times, as it usually is, with the beginning of the School Year and more of our children becoming young adults and seeking professional training, and employment each year. We have fifteen a present in College, and another NINE seeking employment. Tough times in Kenya with unemployment figures rising annually, and the National Debt beyond control, as the Population also climbs inexorably - not a very encouraging scenario. BUT, Jesus is with us, and HE never fails to help us and prove His very real Presence in and around us. He certainly is NOT dead! He HAS risen, and IS alive.
Our love always in Him, with Thankful hearts and lives!
John, Esther, and Daryl Green