by Pastor Peter Bean
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Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life; there is no price one can give to God for it (Psalm 49:7).
This could be considered quite a morbid reading! It reminds me a bit of the Book of Ecclesiastes. But with a second reading, there is wisdom that speaks into our world.
Simply put, the writer is telling us not to put our hope or trust into wealth, riches, money, physical possessions or buying our future life! Because no-one can buy life.
In recent years in Australia, we have elevated Anzac Day and Remembrance Day to almost be the two most religious days of the year. The emphasis on lives given for another takes precedence over anything else. And it is an important emphasis. Except, in these celebrations, we seem to have forgotten that no-one (sacrificing their own life) can buy back the life of another.
The exception, of course, is the divine-human, Christ Jesus. But when was the last time Jesus was mentioned on either of these dates?
I remember, years ago, being at Duntroon on a Year 10 state high school trip to Canberra. We made an unscheduled stop at the Changi War Memorial replica. Equally unscheduled was the senior teacher asking me as chaplain to say a few words. A little bit stunned, I looked around, and the memorial was festooned with (plastic) red poppies, so (inspired by the Holy Spirit, no doubt) I spoke about the sacrifices of many in wars and how the red of the poppies signified the blood laid down for others. I also pointed out this had developed from the sacrifice of Jesus and his blood flowing for us. Just as we have freedom because of the sacrifice of soldiers in war, so we have freedom to live because of Jesus’ death for us. All done and dusted in about two minutes!
Imagine my surprise later when one of the teachers (who I knew to be an atheist) told me that was the best thing he had ever heard! Why was I surprised? The power of the gospel was at work in an unexpected situation. Similar comments have sometimes been made at funerals and weddings by those who don’t know Jesus when the gospel is proclaimed. The Holy Spirit at work.
No-one can pay God for their own life. But Jesus did for you, me and all who hear the gospel. It’s time to sing his praises.
Thank you, Jesus, for your death and resurrection. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for unexpected opportunities to speak the good news. Give us the courage to do so when asked. Amen.
Peter is often out tending his garden – with 83 fruit and nut trees and extensive native bushes, he says there is a lot to do! Other times, he will be walking his dog, reading (too many books at a time), enjoying his family (15 grandchildren!), and occasionally writing – poetry, opinion pieces, devotions! To keep out of mischief, he is currently teaching himself to play the piano and is writing a paraphrase of each psalm. You can read these on his website, Creative Walking.