Easter 2021

 

Easter

A reflection from the Vicar

We can’t have failed to notice that life has over the last year been turned upside down as this virus has come in and disrupted our life in many ways.

We have had to adapt and change the way we do many things, and it has been unsettling and fearful. I would not be surprised if most of us have not been anxious about what is going to happen next.

Not just in our own personal lives here in the area of Barston, Hampton and Bickenhill but in the lives of everyone. 

That which has been central to life, our way of life, has been turned upside down. Economy, Education, health, politics, “infrastructures”... all turned upside down!!

What Jesus does in the temple is very much the same, if not more so... turns the whole of life upside down.....

Context

In the Gospel of John chapter 2, what Jesus did was truly gob smacking in his day. He went into the Temple, which as well as religion, had become the Centre of much social and business life and he stopped what they were doing. 

We need to understand why and what was happening in this unique event to try and grasp what John, the author of the Gospel, wants us to see.

John has arranged his Gospel in a series of signs, the first one was the wedding and water into wine, pointing to something new and transformative; Jesus’ words, “my time has not yet come”. Then this temple event, and then the sign that follows which is a conversation with Nicodemus about being born again, new beginnings, a new awakening...

The temple was the heart and soul of the nation. But more importantly the temple was the place where Israel’s God had promised to live in the middle of his people. It was the focal point of the nation, and the world.

And this is where, the then unknown prophet from Galilee came and turned everything upside down. 

Looking back we can see that this temple, the dwelling place of God, the central point to all life without which life as we know it cannot exist, is indeed the man Jesus. This is perhaps why they ask Jesus the question what he thinks he’s up to and request some sign to show them all what this means. As a result Jesus tells them very cryptically about his own death and resurrection.

He, Jesus is the true temple, he is the word made flesh, the place where the glory of God has chosen to make his dwelling. The Jews had ancient traditions about the temple being destroyed and rebuilt. It had happened before and some thought it would happen again. Herod the Great had built the one they were standing in and it took forty six years to complete. Jesus takes the tradition and applies it to himself. His death and resurrection over just 3 days will be the reality to that which we focus on at Easter.

Conclusion

So the signs in John’s Gospel:-

1.      New wine - something transforming is coming

2.     Clearing of the decks turning everything upside down getting ready for change....

We have, as congregations, been on a journey of change. As we move out of lock down later this year we want to be ready for the change that is coming. 

3.     A new awakening. A new birth... with Jesus the living temple of God central to all life including yours and mine.

READ THE PASSAGE YOURSELF

The Gospel according to John, the fourth book of the New Testament. Chapter 2. 

Rev Stuart Dimes