Notes of Meeting Sunday 3rd April 2022

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 3rd April 2022

Worship led by Ken Cowell

Psalm 100: 1-3: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  3 Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

The other day I looked in a concordance to see how many times did joy, rejoice or glad appear in the Bible.  It is over 500 times.  So the Bible is a book of joy.  Of course the Bible is about God, so that would tell us that God is a God of joy.  Psalms is the book that mentions joy the most being over 120 times.  Psalms is said to be the hymnbook of the Bible so joy is used primarily with worship, praise and thanksgiving.  In Psalm 100 1-2 the theme of joy is referred to three times.  There are many things to be joyful about.  In verse 3 we can rejoice that God is our Creator who made us and that we are also his people who he has redeemed.  So let’s seek to praise him with joy this morning.

496   Shout for joy and sing

553  This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made

These words are from Psalm 118:24 which refer to Jesus being the stone that was rejected but now has been made the capstone.  It speaks of our salvation through his suffering and his exaltation at God’s right hand.  The day of our Christ’s exaltation and our salvation is something to rejoice about.

Prayer

Psalm 28: 7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

27  As the deer pants for the water

Psalm 16:11:  “You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”.  God has given so much to make us joyful.  However, more than the gifts themselves the giver is our greatest joy and to be in his presence is our delight.

1067  To be in your Presence

480  Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is in you. 

We not only rejoice in His Presence but also that His presence is in us by the Holy Spirit.

 

Breaking of Bread  -  led by Brian Legg 

This focused our thoughts on the fact that the price of our redemption has been paid IN FULL. The whole price for our salvation has been paid by the Lord Jesus on the cross – so we are free; no debts to pay – He has done it all. But remember too that our freedom has been bought at a terrible price.

In 1Cor 6:20 Paul writes “You are not your own; you were bought at a price”. It’s that price we remember as we once again today share in the bread and wine – in remembrance of our blessed Lord, and what he did to set us free.

Robin Thomson’s Message

How did Jesus know that he was going to die?

Mark 10.32-45

Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem (verse 32). It is a dramatic scene. Jesus is very determined, going ahead. He knows that this visit will be decisive. The disciples feel the tension: they are ‘amazed’ and ‘afraid’. They don’t understand what is happening.

Jesus wants to tell them something important.  He reveals it only to the twelve. What was it?

He told them: ‘this road leads to suffering’

The disciples must have wondered:

Is this the road to suffering: but why? 10.32-34
- why did Jesus have to suffer?

This is the 3rd time that Jesus has told them about his suffering (earlier in ch 8 and ch 9). Here he gives even more detail of how he will suffer. It is horrible. Romans = crucifixion.

But why did Jesus have to suffer?

There is a mystery here and Jesus doesn’t explain it at this point

Back in 8.31 he had told them ‘the Son of man must suffer…’. Why? And how did Jesus know?

Was he aware that he would inevitably clash with the Jewish leaders?

He would object to their use of the Temple and their hypocrisy - They would find him a threat and want to get rid of him.It would be essentially a political clash, an inevitable tragedy.

That is how many view Jesus’ death (Jeremy Bowen).

Was that what Jesus had in mind? We don’t know at this point.

And it seems the disciples didn’t understand at all what he was saying.

Why talk about suffering?

Already Peter had challenged Jesus about this (8.33).Jesus had rebuked him severely. But it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. The disciples were thinking very differently.

They were asking :Is this the road to glory?  - this road to Jerusalem?  10.35-41

We see this from James and John and their request (verse 37). Their minds were full of expectations of glory - they were expecting glory for Jesus. By now they had understood that he was the Messiah (chapter 8). He called himself Son of Man, a glorious figure (Daniel 7.13-14). So he would overcome any opposition. He would be the king, in glory -- and that would mean glory for them as well.

That was all they could think about. They wanted their share.

The other 10 disciples are furious at James and John (verse 41). Not because they thought they were wrong. But because they made their request first, ahead of the others.

They all wanted glory. And they were constantly competing with each other.

This was not the first time. In Mark 9.33-37 we read they had been arguing who was the greatest. It seems to have been their continual attitude.

Jesus tells them the glory only comes through suffering (verse 38). The cup, the baptism – symbols of suffering. They agree, not understanding at all

Then Jesus explains to them.

The road to glory is the road through suffering and service 10.42-45
Glory will come only through service. And that service will mean suffering.

He tells his disciples, ‘your approach is human’ (verse 43). That is what happens in our world. The big people want to become bigger and dominate others (Putin / China / America…)

Or in our company. They want to be the boss.

Or even in our church.

Or our family.

We want to be the top. That is life as it is.

‘But it shall not be so among you’ says Jesus. That is not the way to greatness. Greatness comes through service (verse 43-44).

You must be a servant – the first word he uses meant a table waiter, a very humble job, bringing food and clearing the dishes. Then he said ‘slave’ – even more humble and degrading.

Because ‘That is what I am’ he says (verse 45)

The Son of Man is a glorious figure. But he has come to be a servant. And not just a servant, but to die, ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’.

But why did Jesus have to die? How did he know that he was going to die? In 8.31 he said that he must suffer. Why?

Was it just going to be a political clash, as we have already asked? In that case he could have counted on the people’s power to support him against the leaders. Soon he would enter Jerusalem in triumph. Surely he could win the day?

But Jesus describes himself differently

His words here finally give us a clue as to how he understood himself – and his death (verse 45):

He came… ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’.

Jesus is quoting here from scripture, from Isaiah 53.12

In that part of Isaiah we have a series of references to God’s servant, who would bring deliverance to God’s people Israel

Ch 42 – he will bring justice

Ch 49 – he will be a light to the nations

That is very positive. But as we go on reading, his role includes suffering

Ch 50– he will suffer

and then 52-53 – his suffering is described in detail

53.3 – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief

v 5 – he was wounded for our transgressions (disobedience), for our iniquity

v 11 – he will make many to be accounted righteous

v 12 – he poured out his soul to death - and was numbered with the sinners. He carried the sin of many

 

Jesus read his Bible – what we call the Old Testament. And he realised that if he was going to fulfil God’s plan of deliverance he must fulfil the role of this servant, who would bring deliverance to God’s people through his suffering.

He was the Messiah, the glorious Son of Man, the king.

But he was also the servant who would suffer.

And so he quotes the words of Isaiah here – ‘he bore the sin of many’, or as Jesus puts it ‘he gave his life as a ransom for many’.

Here is the mystery of the cross: Jesus died in our place.

We could not save ourselves. We needed a saviour, someone to take our place.

And Jesus says, that is why he came: to be a servant and to give his life as a ransom in our place.

 

We live in a broken world - Ukraine - Suffering (fighting) but how will there be reconciliation? Forgiveness? More suffering?

This is just one example - all through our world, brokenness and suffering.

God himself takes our suffering.

Rev Edward Shillito was a vicar, visiting those terribly wounded and disfigured in the First World War. He wrote a poem, thinking of Jesus visiting his disciples after his resurrection and showing his scars:

‘Jesus of the Scars’

Lord Jesus, by thy scars we claim thy grace

If when the doors are shut, thou drawest near,

Only reveal those hands, that side of thine;

We know today what wounds are, have no fear,

Show us thy scars, we know the countersign

The other gods were strong, but thou wast weak;

They rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne;

But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,

And not a god has wounds, but thou alone.

 

Only Jesus is the God with wounds.

Jesus gave himself in our place

His whole life was a life of service, and finally he gave himself completely for us.

That is how he knew he had to die. He knew that he was God’s faithful servant, born to suffer and die.

 

I wonder whether the disciples understood at that time.

In Luke’s Gospel we read that they continued arguing with each other about who was greatest, right up to the night that Jesus was betrayed (Luke 22.25-27). They heard what Jesus said but they did not understand.

 

What about us? Where are we on this road with Jesus?

 

As we prepare for Easter, we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection. But have we understood? 

From this story there are two things that we can do

 

- understand his unique service

Jesus died in our place. We cannot come to God with our own efforts. We do our best but that does not bring us to God… Jesus has done it all for us. So we receive what he has done for us; We thank him.

And as we receive his love and forgiveness, we are set free, we are healed.

Some of us feel we are struggling with heavy burdens: things we are not able to do, or things that we wish we could stop doing; habits that are hard to change.

We may have relationships that are broken: - somebody we have to forgive, but it is very hard

- or something that we have done to somebody else and we feel guilty or ashamed .

 

All this he takes from us. He gives us unconditional forgiveness and takes the burden from us.

Instead of, in our place. Signing on behalf of another (illiterate, or a child) they cannot do it and now they need not do it

 

Maybe you are feeling guilty – and your guilt is taken away.

When my mother died, I felt a lot of guilt– I had not fully cared for her as I should. We were in India in the months before she died, so we could not be with her, but I felt I definitely should have done more. And there were some things between us which had not been resolved when she died. For several years I felt that guilt

Then I realised: she is in heaven, she has forgiven me. God has forgiven me. Jesus took the guilt in my place. I didn’t need to carry it any more. It was liberating.

 

Jesus not only deals with the past; he also gives us back our lives:

A scholar has written “He came to ‘lay down his own life as a ransom price, that those to whom those [forfeited] lost lives belonged, might obtain them again.’ “ James Denney, the Death of Christ, 1951, p3, quoted in NBC p 874

 

When we know we are forgiven we realise that our future will no longer be imprisoned by our past.

We are new people 2 Cor 5.17). We can grow into the fulness of our potential.

 

My friend Rahil – part of a Hindu sect, under the control of a guru, from the age of 17. He became a monk, living under strict discipline and rules for his spiritual growth. For nearly 20 years he continued, but he had no peace. He came to the point where he knew he had to leave. So he did. But where next? His life seemed empty. He had given up on religion. Then one day, passing a church in central London, he decided to go in. He was welcomed warmly and felt a voice whispering to him ‘You’re home.’  He had already been attracted to the person of Jesus, while in the monastic life, but now he was drawn to him in a new way. As he heard the story of God’s grace in Jesus, he knew it was for him and he responded. Not rules any more, but a relationship of love and forgiveness.

‘I had done so many things in my life to attain this deep satisfaction, but it never arose. That morning the Lord called me and gave it without a price, without cost, totally free.’ (p 195) Found by Love – his story (Instant Apostle, 2016)

 

That was great, but what was he going to do now? He had no job, no training – just a monk for all those years. Friends in the church helped him but he was struggling in many ways. When I first met him, about two years after his encounter with Jesus, he still had no security in the human sense.

 

But wonderfully, over the last few years, he has found a new life, with the opportunity to use his gifts – speaking, coaching, writing – to help many people, both Christians and Hindus; to support himself; to find a loving wife and now a beautiful baby daughter. He has received back the life that he thought he had lost – and much more abundantly.

The same can be true for all of us, through Jesus’ death. It is because Jesus has paid the price for us.

 

Recently I read these words about Jesus’ death:

“It was for you. You who have such storms and stresses in life that even at this moment your shoulders are tensed up under your ears. Someone was prepared to die for you because he found you to be so beautiful. You are reconciled to God and everything has changed.”

Peter Graystone, All’s Well that Ends Well, Canterbury Press, 2022, page 195

 

When we realise what Jesus has done for us by his sacrifice for us, and we receive it, we are free. He takes the burden from us and gives us back our life. Because of his unique service for us

 

But then we are free to follow his example of service.

This is the second thing that we can do as we think about this story.

- follow his example of service

 

We can’t die for others as he did for us. But we can live to serve others,

Whether it’s our marriage, our family - do we give ourselves to them in caring for their needs?

Or our work colleagues - do we want to be number 1 in the group?

Do we want to be great? - ‘whoever would be great among you must be your servant’

 

Yesterday I attended the thanksgiving service for a friend who died two years ago. We had been family friends for many years. I thought I knew him quite well – quiet, polite, unassuming. I knew he was generous and helpful. But yesterday I learned about how much more he had been doing quietly through the years

- he had served on various church committees – boring but essential work

- he had helped on a number of practical projects, teaching English to refugees, digging trenches for youth camps

- he came each week to Mums and Tots and read to the children

 

Practical, humble things in the background. I thought, there was a real example of a servant heart.

 

Jesus was free to serve others because he was very secure in his Father’s love. We have been set free by his love, so that we can be servants of others

 

We are on the road with Jesus, towards Jerusalem - and it is his road of service

 

We thank him for his unique service for us

And we follow his example of service.

 

Closing Hymn: 161 He came to earth

 

Notices

  • Lent Course on Wednesday – 7.45pm at Horley Methodist Church, and at 10.15am on Thursday at Horley Baptist Church
  • Speaker next Sunday at 10.15am is Ken Cowell
  • Easter Day (17th April) – C4H Sunrise service at 6.30am; breakfasts can be purchased from the café after 7am.