Since the story of the resurrection has been known it has been an encouragement for those who are experiencing suffering, whatever its cause. There are several places in the gospels which seem to indicate that Jesus knew that he would rise again after three days. Why then was he so distressed at this time? After all, it would soon be all over! If we believe that Jesus was truly human he could not have had this knowledge and scholars believe these passages were written with the benefit of hindsight.
It can be encouraging for people to read of the experiences of how others coped with adversity two and a half thousand years ago and how Jesus did two thousand years ago, but it is also encouraging to hear stories since then and in particular, in our time. Feelings associated with difficult times are similar today to those experienced by the Psalmist, by Isaiah and by Jesus. It is good to know God is with us in these experiences now.
We may speak of the encouragement we have received through experiences of God’s action in the lives of others. These people may be seen as special, not ordinary folk like us. We are often reluctant to tell of the encouragement we have received through the experience of God’s love in our own lives even though we know it will help others because we fear being ridiculed as Isaiah was. God still wakens our ears to listen, to be strengthened, to have the words to encourage and sustain the weary. God answers our desperate prayers with encouraging reassurances that all we will need for this day will be provided.
Rev Julianne Parker
(for full sermon see sermons page)