When we moved from London to East Leake a few years ago we saw many differences. East Leake doesn’t have any traffic lights, or real traffic jams! East Leake has no tower blocks, no tube trains and no all-night takeaways. But East Leake does have community spirit, fresh air –and sheep!Listen out on a still spring evening and you’ll hear their gentle bleating drifting on the breeze.
The sheep you’ll see on the hills around the village will be safely fenced in. If a sheep finds a hole in the fence or a gate left open then it may well wander off and get itself into danger.
People have the same sheep-like tendency to wander from safety. The Bible puts it like this:
‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.’ (Isaiah 53 vs.6)
God made us to know him, enjoy him, and to live in harmony with him. The rules God gave us (often called the Ten Commandments) were not given to oppress us and restrict our enjoyment. They show us how to live for his glory, the good of society, and our own good too.
Yet there is something inside us all that says “No” to God. We turn away from him and choose to go our own way instead. We think our waywill bring freedom and happiness, but instead it leads to unhappiness, dissatisfaction and guilt.
Most seriously, breaking God’s Law brings us under his judgement. Just as it is right for people who break the law of the land to face the penalty, so it is right for people who break God’s Law to face the penalty. The Bible tells us about this penalty: ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6 vs. 23) –not only our physical death, but being cut off forever from God’s love and life.
But the good news is that though we have turned away from God, he still loves us. And though he must punish our sin, he has provided a way to forgive and rescue us. The verse from Isaiah goes on to explain how; although we have all wandered like sheep, ‘The LORD has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.’
God sent his own Son, Jesus, who willingly came to take the penalty of our sin when he died on the cross. Though Jesus had done no wrong, God laid on him the guilt of our sinand punished him in our place.When he had fully paid the terrible penalty, death and hell could hold him no longer –and the third day after he was crucified, Jesus rose from the dead. This is the wonderful message of Easter!
If you turn from your ‘own way’ and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, you will experience the joy of being forgiven and restored to the God who made you –not just now but for ever!