Sunday 19 April 2020

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Sunday 19th April 2020

 

The government announced on Thursday that we have another 3 weeks of lockdown, which takes us at least to 7th May. So sadly we are not going to be able to get together to worship at Emmanuel until sometime after that date. And then it will be dependent on the way that restrictions are lifted. So in the meantime let us keep in contact with one another, and encourage one another in our faith.

 

“She, supposing Him to be the gardener…”

Last Sunday was Easter Day and since then I have been thinking about the events that followed the resurrection and in particular those involving Mary Magdalene.

There is a very tender passage in John 20. Following the crucifixion, Mary comes to the tomb early on the first day of the week, (v1). She sees the stone has been rolled away, runs to tell Peter and John and tells them that the body of Jesus has been taken away, (v2). Peter and John go and investigate, (verses 3-10); and Mary returns, and stands outside the tomb weeping, (v11). Looking into the tomb she now sees two angels who ask “Woman why are you weeping”, (v13a), to which she replies, “They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him. (v13b).”

And then follows these three amazing verses-:

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

 

Why was Mary so upset, and what was Jesus’ relationship to her? We need to go back to Luke 8:1-3, where we read that many women ministered to Jesus, including Mary Magdalene; Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

Jesus had healed Mary of seven demons. What were these seven demons, mental, physical or moral? We just don’t know. But Jesus had radically changed her life. Instead of being under the sway of the demons she was now travelling with Jesus and helping to support Him financially. But it was more than that, because we read  “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25).

The disciples may have deserted Jesus at this crucial time, but Mary was there, at the crucifixion and she was there when He was taken down and laid in the tomb. Mary was a true follower of our Lord, and as far as she was concerned right up to the end when He was laid in the tomb. No wonder she wept when she found that the body had been taken. Jesus meant everything to her.

But Jesus had a special word for her. There was a man by the tomb who spoke to her but “She, supposing Him to be the gardener”. She did not recognise the man through her tears, but when He spoke her name then she understood that this was the risen Lord! Then she did as Jesus asked her “and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.” (John 20:18).

 

What can we learn from Mary and her devotion?

God had done great things for her – Jesus had healed her of the seven demons.

Mary followed the Lord closely – travelled with Jesus, the twelve and others.

Mary supported Jesus financially - provided from her substance.

Mary did not give up when times got rough – kept vigil at the cross with Mary, His mother.

Mary obeyed Jesus commands – went and told the disciples.

 

God has done great things for us in saving our souls from the penalty of sin;

How are we when it comes to following, supporting, not giving up and obeying?

God bless you all as you serve the Lord.

Please continue to pray for those in the fellowship and our family members who are involved in the NHS and care work:-

Lindsay is working in RD&E Wonford.

David and Anne’s niece, Sarah, who works as a children's nurse at a hospital in Manchester (new addition)
Sue Stockdale’s daughter Joanna  a nurse at the North London hospice, 

Douglas and Margaret’s two daughters, Gillian and Rachel are both nurses and granddaughter Bryony is a midwife,

Bernard and Pat’s sister-in law Gerri (Kelly) a senior nurse in the Nuffield Hospital, Cambridge.

Isobel’s nephew David, is a GP in the Midlands, he has recovered from a bout of Covid 19.

Sue Cousen’s daughter Sarah and granddaughter Amelia are working as carers until their nursing course are reconvened.

Chris and Felicity’s daughter Rachel is a speech therapist, in Whanganui Hospital, New Zealand.

Christiane’s grandson Adrian is a paramedic.

Arthur and Jean’s daughter Julia in Taunton and granddaughter Lucy in London are nurses.

Jane Cooper and her sister Emma are carers in Arcot House where Nora Crow is; also those caring for John Melville in Trowbridge and for Jenny Gregory and Barbara Perchard in Sidmouth Nursing Home. And finally those caring for Anne Phelps living in her own home in Sidmouth

 

The Christian Institute is organising a week of prayer starting today Sunday 19th April.

Sunday               Coronavirus

Our country, like others around the world, is grappling with the coronavirus. Our God is sovereign. It’s vital to place our trust in him.

“I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” Psalm 91:2

Please pray:

    For a swift end to the outbreak;

    With thanksgiving for the millions of key workers in the NHS and elsewhere on whom we depend;

    For our Prime Minister and all others leading the national response to the outbreak. Give thanks for their clear aim of saving lives;

    For the Institute’s staff as we seek to continue our important work despite the inevitable practical difficulties;

    That our sovereign God will use these extraordinary times for his glory.

Further details on the CI website.

I am repeating this passage as it seems so pertinent to this season and our personal circumstances.

Hebrews 12:1-3    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

And a benediction

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20-21)

And remember, STAY AT HOME, keep washing your hands and keep your distance if you have to go out.

God bless you all,
Chris