The Cost of Living

People are worried about the cost of living. Prices of things we consider essential are rising almost out of control. And this affects many people in many countries. We keep hearing about the poverty trap: a helpless situation. And there is pressure on governments to help; pleas to save people from crisis.

The Law of Moses had provision for the poor. The Jews were commanded to care for them, not exploiting them or making profit from them. Even if a poor person volunteered himself as a hired worker in order to survive, he could be redeemed. And he was only required to serve for a limited period of time. Some of the instructions were:

He shall treat him as a worker hired year by year. He shall not rule ruthlessly over him in your sight. And if he is not redeemed by these means, then he and his children with him shall be released in the year of jubilee

Leviticus 25:53 & 54

Being ‘redeemed’ is a theme in the Bible; the most important example being Jesus Christ. Jesus died a cruel death so that we could be redeemed from the worst possible crisis: the fact that as sinners we naturally die and perish. A situation which, without Jesus, is utterly helpless and hopeless.

Jesus said that he:

 came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45

The apostle Peter wrote to believers:

you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,but with the precious blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18 &19

Jesus does not ask for much in return, but he does ask us to follow him and try to obey God in this life. This involves loving and caring for others. In return he offers us eternal life. He has ‘paid the price’ for this, doing much more than we could ever begin to achieve. Surely this is the ultimate cost of living!

Easter heralds brighter days ahead

Easter time! Spring, new life, and hope of brighter days ahead.

Easter is a major event in many church calendars. But the word ‘Easter’ does not actually appear in the Bible. The translators of the 1611 Authorised Version did use it when defining a time when the apostle Peter was in prison:

…[Herod] intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Acts 12:4

However, most English translations say ‘Passover’, because that is what the original Greek word means.  Jesus was crucified at the time of the Jewish annual festival of Passover. And, more importantly, that was when he rose from the dead to live for ever.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

Romans 6:9

The word ‘Easter’ was not used until many years later. And although the dates of Passover and Easter are both worked out using the lunar calendar, they have slightly different rules. So although this year (2022) they coincide, this is not always true.

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in our history. Other world-changing events only affect this life. The resurrection of Jesus can affect us for ever.

 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:19–20

So those people ‘in Christ’, his true followers, also hope to live for ever; in a transformed world, when he comes back. If they die first, then they too can be raised from the dead. This is the most amazing hope of a new life and a future brighter than we can imagine.

What on earth is happening

There is a lot of fear in the world. Despite reassurances by our leaders, people are worried about many things: the effects of the pandemic, climate change and now talk of world war.

Where is God?  Can we solve the problems?

Many people thought that Christianity would unite the world and give us peace and harmony. And the United Nations aimed to do that. But the world is unstable and facing all manner of problems which, at best, spell an uncertain future. Has Christianity failed?

No! The Bible predicted that the world would be as it is. And it also explains why we are in this mess and why we cannot solve the problems.

The Bible does describe a time of peace for the whole world when Jesus comes back, but not before. There is certainty about both aspects of this Bible message. Ultimate peace; but first trouble – serious trouble.

Jesus himself said that people would be:

‘fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world’.

Luke 21:26

There has always been trouble. But before the return of Jesus it will be worse than ever.

Centuries earlier, a Jewish prophet predicted: 

‘there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book’.

Daniel 12:1

The ‘book’ that Daniel refers to is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. It is God’s book of life, containing the names of those who are faithful to Him. They are the people who will be delivered and given eternal life. People with real hope for the future.

So let us read the Bible for ourselves and really take notice of what it tells us. Then we can

‘keep … in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life’.

Jude 1:21