Redemption

 

Dear friends 

‘I cried all the time’ was how Steven Spielberg recalls his months directing ‘Schindler’s List’. The winner of 7 Academy awards and ranked 8thin the 100 best films by the American Film Institute it recounts in graphic detail the slaughter of helpless men, women and children in a Jewish ghetto and the horror of trainloads of bewildered Jews arriving at the Auschwitz death camp. Oskar Schindler, heroic saviour of 1100 Jews is presented by Spielberg at the end of the film looking at the faces of those he has saved, then looking at his possessions and the many more lives that could have been ‘purchased’ if he had offered his possessions as bribes. ‘I could have done more’, he wails, breaking down in tears. 

Oskar Schindler redeemed those men, women and children, rescuing them from the Gas Chambers and providing a place of security and protection in an environment of threat and intimidation. 

We might define redemption as:

· To recover ownership of something by paying a sum

· To liberate by payment of a ransom

· To save rescue recover

· To clear release from debt or blame 

Easter Celebrated. This month we re-visit the great world changing events of our faith in which Jesus purchased through his death on the cross the salvation of all who will believe. All these words which give meaning to the word ‘Redemption’ apply to the great story of God’s rescue plan for human kind.

Jesus: · Recovered ownership of each one of us by the payment of his life

· Liberated us, bought us freedom through his death on a cross

 

· Saved, rescued, recovered us from the penalty of eternal punishment for rejecting God’s rule and reign over us.

· Cancelled the debt we owe, cleared the guilt and shame of sin and washed us clean forever. 

‘For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for (literally ‘in the place of’) many.’ Mark 10:45 

Oskar Schindler died in 1974 and is buried in Jerusalem. Although not a Jew, he is honoured by the state of Israel with the title ‘Righteous among the Nations’ – an honour used to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Stones placed on top of his grave express the gratitude from Jewish visitors for his acts of kindness. 

Jesus, has no grave. The resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning was God’s mighty stamp of approval on all Jesus said and did. It powerfully declared that death was defeated and that all who put their faith in Jesus and what he achieved on the cross will also defeat death and share in his resurrection life. 

Over to You

The Jewish people who were offered sanctuary by Schindler gratefully rushed into the shelter of his protection. It was something like that which Noah provided with his Ark before the floods came. Jesus offers us his life, his forgiveness, his freedom, his eternal protection. We, like those Jews, should be rushing in with gratitude into the shelter of his protection. Many of us have done this and are filled with thankfulness for God’s amazing love. The invitation is open to all. We respond to this offer by expressing our sorrow for ignoring God’s will for our lives (repenting of our sin), thanking Jesus for dying on a cross in my place and deciding to live for Jesus and follow his lead for the rest of our lives. 

This is the commitment that those who are being Baptised today are making. We pray for them and for each one of us that we all may be true to our Baptismal confession each and every day. 

With every blessing in Christ, Stephen