Thursday, 5 May 2022


May 2022

Dear Friends

I am just old enough to remember the deployment of ‘Green Goddesses’, fire engines from the 1950s brought out of retirement and driven by soldiers in 1977 while regular fire brigades were on strike.

Some people think of Jesus in a similar way.  40 days after his resurrection he was withdrawn from active service on this planet and returned to base.  There he waits, still, for the day when our world is in such need that he will be brought out of retirement and will return to sort things out. 

But ‘retired’ (and bored or restless?) is not at all how the Bible speaks of Jesus’ life now.  Yes, he sits at the Father’s right hand because his great battle on the cross is over and his triumph is complete.  But his seat is not a deckchair or a recliner; it’s a throne from which he directs the course of world history.  When Jesus ascended it was to the place of all power and authority over heaven and earth (Philippians 2:9).  Jesus sustains everything in this universe by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3).  He has sent out his heralds to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19) by announcing that he is graciously willing to offer peace and forgiveness now (Acts 2:38) before he returns ‘to judge the living and the dead’.

I think some Christians prefer the idea of Jesus in passive retirement because they can then avoid difficult questions about the terrible suffering in the world on his watch.  Jesus is, they think, a loving and sympathetic grandfather figure who can only wish that the world was a happier place.

But what if the Bible is right and Jesus is God and Lord?  Then we will have to re-think our ideas about everything: what our lives are for, where the world is heading, and what is the good, loving and just way to rule the world, because the Lord Jesus clearly thinks very differently from us about how to do the job.


Graham Burrows

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