Many of you may remember the old hymn ‘Tell me the stories of Jesus’. I remember singing it in Sunday School as a child and as I learned the stories of Jesus I did as the hymn says ‘love to hear’ them. The second verse of the ‘children stood round His knee’ always gave me a warm sense of Jesus loving me and all children, in spite of the disciples trying to shoo them away. I didn’t realise until my later teenage years what an impact the stories of Jesus had had on me and would have on me, until I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 16. Indeed, it was at that time that the ‘scene in the garden of bitter pain; and of the cross where my Saviour for me was slain’ really meant that Easter for me would never be the same again because now Easter wasn’t just a story, it was a reality and an experience of my living Saviour and Lord.
The verse that takes us into the Garden of Gethsemane actually starts with the words ‘Show me…’ and I wonder how many of us could sing that and really want to see for ourselves how Jesus became ‘deeply distressed and troubled’ and hear him say “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me.” I wonder how many of us could be there at the cross and experience all the brutality of Jesus’ slow death? I believe that it is only in facing what Jesus did leading up to and being nailed to the cross, that we can truly understand what amazing love Jesus has for us. ‘…and through the sadness, help me to see how Jesus suffered for love of me.’
I took this photo whilst out on my prayer run this morning and it speaks to me of Easter in the early morning sunrise of the new life of Easter Day, with the shadow of the tree so much part of the story, for without death there is no resurrection and without Easter there is no relationship with God through Jesus.
As we approach Holy Week from Palm Sunday through to Easter Day and wherever you will be over this period and whatever you are doing, I pray that you will engage with the ‘stories of Jesus’ and enter into a revival in your relationship with him.
Happy Easter to you all
Your friend and servant