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Viewpoint from Rev Dan Waite 20/04/2012

Dan WaiteRev Dan Waite, Associate Vicar
St Andrew’s Parish Church, Gorleston
photo courtesy of Stephen Gostick Photography
I have often found that when reading a book, there is a key passage which holds the essence of the story. For example in Charles Dickens’ novel “The Tale of Two Cities”, when Sydney Carton steps forward to take the place of Charles Darnay and walks to his death on the guillotine, he says, “It is a far better thing that I do than I have ever done …” You could perhaps call it ‘the key to the book’. For me it is the same in the Bible, there is a verse which I believe contains the essence of the Bible, it’s John 3:16  - “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
The great Christian reformer Martin Luther called this verse “the Bible in a nutshell”
Jesus himself spoke these words to a man called Nicodemus who was searching for the truth about life and God. Let’s explore some of these key words…
GOD – the one who created all things – who is eternal – Holy (set apart) - who is Spirit – omnipotent (mighty power) – omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) – omniscient (having infinite knowledge)
dove leftLOVE – is the very nature of God – it means giving and forgiving – God gave us the pattern of true love, loving us so much that Jesus gave his life freely for us
WORLD – God’s creation. The Bible is the story of God’s relationship with his people living in his creation, the world
ONE AND ONLY SON – of God, Jesus, Christ, the Messiah, our Saviour who laid aside the majesty of heaven to be born as a man to live and to die among us
BELIEVE – have faith for – not relying on what we can see but on what we know and hope for. This is about trusting that Jesus words are reliable and that he will give us the strength we need to change
Dove rightPERISH – in this context it means separation from God for ever - it is our choice
ETERNAL LIFE – the opportunity of being with our God for ever. Not an extension of a miserable life here on earth, but a glorious existence without sin and sickness
We are still in the season of Easter, celebrating the death and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus Christ. God the Father gave Jesus his one and only Son up to death for us. Through his sacrificial death and resurrection to life we can know forgiveness for our sins – for all those wrong things we all think, say and do - and we can know the joy of an eternity with God in the heavenly place he has prepared for. All we need to do is to show our love for him by accepting him as Lord, as the most important thing in our lives. God wants everyone to love and accept him, but if we reject Jesus, we also reject the heavenly joys that he offers us
Crack the nutshell, take in the truth of God’s message and he will give you the strength to believe, and to accept Jesus as the Saviour who wants us to share eternity with him