Even if everyone else was absolutely perfect Jesus would still have died on the cross just for me
When you are a child your life is normal – it’s everyone else’s that is strange. But I soon learnt that some things about my family were strange - being one of 5 children was one of them!
Going to church was less strange in those days than it is today. But even then our church was a bit unusual. It was a Church of England church but the vicar didn’t normally wear all the funny clothes. There was a church organ but there were guitars as well. But the important thing was that the preaching was all about what the bible said. And church life was all about putting that into practice.
I didn’t really pick that up when I was young – it was just a nice place to be where people were kind to me and where the Sunday school teachers really wanted us to learn what the bible said and really wanted us to learn things about Jesus.
Understanding the cross
In the summer before going to highschool I went to a Christian camp. It was in an area of woods and we boys were supposed to be learning about woodsman activities and outdoor life. And every evening there was a talk about what the bible said about Jesus.
One evening the leader giving the talk had a tiny little noose and he pinned on his jumper like a badge. It was a bit odd and the point was that wearing a cross on a necklace was just as odd. A cross was a way of executing criminals just like a hangman’s noose, but even more horrible.
Jesus was executed on a cross. However, it was not for crimes he committed but for crimes people like me had committed. At that camp I realised it wasn't just about the big things we did that break the law but everything that we do against God – big or small. I realised that even if everyone else in the world was absolutely perfect that Jesus would have died on the cross just for me.
I understood that to be true - something that could be trusted and a solid truth to build my life on. There and then I trusted that Jesus had died because of what I had done and I knew my life was now different.
It was difficult at school to know what all this meant in daily life. I didn’t really talk about Jesus at school so the other kids probably just thought I was a goody-goody. As I became a teenager it became easier to say that I was a Christian but it was still hard.
Leaving home brought new challenges to life. I didn’t settle in a church and my life suffered from the lack of God’s word (the bible) and God’s people (other Christians) in my life. Bizarrely it became easier to talk to people about being a Christian. I wasn’t that goody-goody anymore – perhaps people were less put off by an outward show of being good. They could see that I wasn’t good.
Thankfully, I started going out with a good Christian friend and I settled into her church and we’ve now been married a good long time. I’ve been the grateful recipient of good bible teaching and good Christian fellowship in a number of churches since then including coming to Grace Church Wakefield in 2018.
There has been a lot happening in my life since that 11 year old boy realised that Jesus’s death on the cross for him was a solid foundation to trust in for life. There have been doubts and failures on my part. There have been job difficulties, family stresses and losses, money worries.
There have also been opportunities to serve God and see him at work in us and for us in all sorts of different ways. And in all that I have found that trusting in Jesus’s death on the cross has been the right foundation for life.
I can truly say, having mixed with all kinds of people with lives based on all kinds of things, that trusting in Jesus is the only reliable foundation for life.