Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Names and Titles of Jesus

I conclude this series simply with the following by an anonymous author.

What Jesus Is to These

To the artist He is the One Altogether Lovely. 

To the architect He is the Chief Corner Stone. 

To the baker He is the Living Bread. 

To the banker He is the Hidden Treasure. 

To the biologist He is the Life.

To the builder He is the Sure Foundation. 

To the doctor He is the Great Physician. 

To the educator He is the Great Teacher. 

To the farmer He is the Lord of the Harvest. 

To the florist He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. 

To the geologist He is the Rock of Ages. 

To the jurist He is the Righteous Judge, the Judge of all men. 

To the jeweller He is the Pearl of Great Price. 

To the lawyer He is the Counsellor, the Lawgiver, the Advocate.

To the horticulturist He is the True Vine. 

To the newspaper man He is the Good Tidings of Great Joy.

To the oculist He is the Light of the World. 

To the philanthropist He is the unspeakable Gift. 

To the philosopher He is the Wisdom of God. 

To the preacher He is the Word of God.

To the sculptor He is the Living Stone. 

To the servant He is the Good Master.

To the statesman He is the Desire of All Nations. 

To the student He is the Incarnate Truth. 

To the theologian He is the Author and Finisher of Our Faith. 

To the traveler He is the New and Living Way. 

To the toiler He is the Giver of Rest.

To the sinner He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. 

To the Christian He is the Son of the Living God, the Saviour, the Redeemer and Lord.—Selected. 

Jesus! the Name high over all,

In hell or earth or sky;

Angels and men before it fall,

And devils fear and fly.

Jesus! the Name to sinners dear,

The Name to sinners giv'n;

It scatters all their guilty fear,

It turns their hell to Heav'n.

Jesus! the prisoner's fetters breaks,

And bruises Satan's head;

Power into strengthless souls it speaks,

And life into the dead.

O that mankind might taste and see

The riches of His grace!

The arms of love that compass me

Would all the world embrace.

O that my Jesu's heavenly charms

Might every bosom move!

Fly, sinners, fly into those arms

Of everlasting love.

Thee I shall constantly proclaim,

Though earth and hell oppose;

Bold to confess Thy glorious Name

Before a world of foes.

His only righteousness I show,

His saving grace proclaim;

'Tis all my business here below

To cry "Behold the Lamb!"

Happy, if with my latest breath

I may but gasp His Name,

Preach Him to all and cry in death,

"Behold, behold the Lamb!"

Charles Wesley

Friday, 30 October 2020

Names and Titles of Jesus


Author and Perfecter of Our Faith

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

When confronted with an almost incomprehensible happening you will often hear the phrase, you couldn’t write it could you. It is a phrase used to describe a situation that could not be predicted.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews has until this point in his writing, put together evidence of God’s handiwork in Christ as being the source of faith and hope in spite of what seems overbearing odds to the contrary. The words Author and Finisher are in the same vain as the terms Alpha and Omega we considered earlier. Yet here, they are linked the followers of Jesus, as the word Author in this context can also mean one who takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer. The obvious corollary of this is the title finisher or perfector. one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.

In chapter 11 the writer mentioned many "heroes" of the faith, as well as their accomplishments. This was in the context of explaining how God honours and works through true, godly faith—which is a trust sufficient to produce obedience, despite our doubts and fears.

In chapter 12  we see how Jesus again serves as the ultimate example of faith. His willingness to endure trials came from an understanding that God could, and would, "work together for good" all of those things  The end goal of Jesus' obedience was to establish the purpose we should be striving for:  our ultimate victory and reward in God through him.

Author of faith, eternal word,
whose Spirit breathes the active flame -
faith, like its Finisher and Lord,
today as yesterday the same;

To you our humble hearts aspire
and ask the gift unspeakable;
increase in us the kindled fire,
in us the work of faith fulfil.

By faith we know you strong to save 
your saving presence let us know;
Whate'er we hope, by faith we have,
future and past are present now.

To us who in your name believe
eternal life with you is given;
into ourselves we all receive,
pardon, and happiness, and heaven.

The things unknown to feeble sense
unseen by reason's glimmering ray,
with strong, commanding evidence,
their heavenly origin display.

Faith lends its realising light
the clouds disperse, the shadows fly,
the Invisible appears in sight,
and God is seen by mortal eye.

Charles Wesley

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Names and Titles of Jesus


Job 19:25

Verse Concepts

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,

And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

Within a matter of weeks we will no doubt we will  be reminded of the characters of Scrooge and perhaps Ron Moody’s unforgettable portrayal of Fagin. During this era the prominence of the pawnbroking was all too evident, where money was borrowed against the deposit of personal items that could only be redeemed at a price. 

It is perhaps to the use of the word redeemer in the English translation of scripture that the saving work of Christ has emphasised the notion of payment to redeem humankind. Rather, the word in the Greek is more closely aligned the concept of deliver - one who liberates someone who was previously a captive. The Old Testament adds to this image as a liberator with the word ‘gâ'al’ meaning to act as a kinsman. 

N T Wright says,”Wise Christian worship takes fully into account the fact that creation has gone horribly wrong, has been so corrupted and spoiled that a great fault line runs right down the middle of it ... worship of God as redeemer, the lover and rescuer of the world, must always accompany and complete the worship of God as creator.”

Human society also reflected God’s character as redeemer. In each family or clan of ancient Israel, a family member was responsible for “redeeming” others in the clan at various times of need. It also included redemption of property, when a family member bought back land that a relative had sold. A relative who had sold himself into slavery was to be bought back (redeemed) by another in the clan. In the book of Ruth, the family redeemer also provides a child in the case of a man who had died without descendants. In the situation that Ruth shows us, the family redeemer was under no obligation to perform the act of redemption, yet he willingly did so.

In the book of Ruth, the idea of chesed, often translated lovingkindness or mercy, lies behind the action of the redeemer in Hebrew thought. Chesed implies acting to meet the deep needs of others based on relationship of commitment and covenant. Because of this, it also implies that a more powerful person will be the one showing chesed to one who is weaker, and it is done voluntarily. In the same way, God’s chesed lies behind His acts of mercy on behalf of His people Israel and this action is the life death and resurrection of Jesus.

I know that my Redeemer lives,

and ever prays for me;

a token of his love he gives,

a pledge of liberty.

I find him lifting up my head;

he brings salvation near;

his presence makes me free indeed

and he will soon appear.

He wills that I should holy be:

who can withstand his will?

The counsel of his grace in me

he surely shall fulfil.

Jesus, I hang upon your Word:

I steadfastly believe

you will return and claim me, Lord,

And to yourself receive.

Samuel Medley

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus


Judge W 28/10

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 3:30

Making fair judgements is a difficult task, yet the bible helps us here with those cherished words by the prophet Micah “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Through the incarnation, this principle is personified in the person of Jesus Christ, and his claim to being judge in itself was self effacing. The qualifying element of the living presence of Jesus is love, his relationship with the father and with us as he exercises Justice with Mercy and Mercy with loving Justice. I found the words of Fred Buechner most helpful when considering Jesu as Judge. 

“We are all of us judged every day. We are judged by the face that looks back at us from the bathroom mirror. We are judged by the faces of the people we love and by the faces and lives of our children and by our dreams. We are judged by the faces of the people we do not love. Each day finds us at the junction of many roads, and we are judged as much by the roads we have not taken as by the roads we have.

The New Testament proclaims that at some unforeseeable time in the future, God will ring down the final curtain on history, and there will come a Day on which all our days and all the judgments upon us and all our judgments upon each other will themselves be judged. The judge will be Christ. In other words, the one who judges us most finally will be the one who loves us most fully.

Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ's love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ's love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering that Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.” - originally published in ‘Wishful Thinking’. A Theological ABC. Frederick Buechner published by Harper and Row 1973

Thou Judge of quick and dead.

Before whose bar severe,

With holy joy, or guilty dread,

We all shall soon appear:

Our anxious souls prepare

For that tremendous day;

And fill us now with watchful care,

And stir us up to pray:

To pray, and wait the hour,

That awful hour unknown,

When, robed in majesty and power,

Thou shalt from heaven come down.

Oh, may we all be found

Obedient to Thy Word--

Attentive to the trumpet’s sound,

And looking for our Lord!

Oh, may we thus ensure

A lot among the blest;

And watch a moment, to secure

An everlasting rest!

Charles Wesley


Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus 27/10

Lion of Judah T 27/10

Here, the imagery of the lion reflects the powerful, majestic, and kingly nature of the lion, often regarded as the king of beasts. Applied to Judah, this is significant because it heralds the lineage of Judah as that of kings. For out of Judah’s line, King David and his descendants would rule over Israel until the time of the Babylonian captivity  and generations later, Jesus Christ would come as a descendent of David and Judah to forge a new covenant and usher in a new kingdom of heavenly glory.

Furthermore, when Jacob says that “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,” he was also proclaiming the eventual eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ, who will forever as king, the sceptre being a symbol of his kingly authority and lordship. 

This is the main reason why Jesus is often referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

For us today, we can picture an image of the Lion as the strong protector, but we can also describe the Messiah as the Lamb of God.  Both of these images are also mentioned in scripture in that wonderful picture of the Lion laying down with the Lamb. The characteristics of the lion and the lamb form a vivid contrast of expectations when used metaphorically. While the lion is known for its strength and ferocity, the lamb is regarded as a gentle and dependent creature. Nevertheless, both are at times associated with the person and work of God. These metaphors and the attendant imagery give hope and confidence to the believer. As taken into union with Christ (Col. 1:27) the believer may through the power of the Holy Spirit exhibit lion-like courage together with lamb-like following and dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lion of Judah’s tribe, draw near,

Let all mankind Thy roarings hear,

Let all mankind revere Thy power;

Utter Thy voice, almighty Lord,

Pronounce the desolating word,

And thunder from Thy heav’nly tower!

Crown Thy impatient people’s hope,

And fill our faith and knowledge up,

The kingdom to Thy saints restore;

And when Thy church is filled with Thee,

Pure holiness Thy church shall be,

And sin shall never enter more.

Charles Wesley

Monday, 26 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus


1 Timothy 2:5 “There is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

The need for mediators in our world is so evident in these troubled times.  Whether it’s Covid-19 financial support, continued Brexit negotiations, presidential elections or the clash of warring factions at a national or personal level. In simple terms, a mediator is someone who bridges the gap between people, someone who reconciles conflict in a relationship. Or borrowing a technical term from the word of electronics an inter-annunciator, a means by which the condition in one area is relayed to another.


Closely linked to the notion of Jesus as Mediator is that he is the great intercessory, someone who intervenes on behalf of another, especially by prayer. But the significance of Christ as Mediator is that the title is qualified with the word ‘one’.  There is ‘one’ God and ‘one’ Mediator. 

Neither in Jewish nor in Greek thought humankind did not have direct access to God. But, through Jesus Christ, the Christian has direct access, with nothing to bar the way between. Concerning this one Mediator. E. F. Brown tells us, for instance, this iswhat the Hindus find so hard to believe. They say: "Your religion is good for you, and ours for us." But unless there is one God and one Mediator there can be no such thing as a harmonious family of humanity. If there are many gods and many mediators competing for their allegiance and their love, religion becomes something which divides people instead of uniting them. It is because there is one God and one Mediator that humankind are fully united to one another.

There is a view that every encounter and conversation, if touched by the Holy Spirit, can become a sacred moment.  It’s as if there’s me and you and this gap, this space between us, and if the gap is filled by the ‘Go-Between’ God,  then our meeting is utterly transformed from just a mundane encounter and becomes, instead, a precious moment touched by God. 

Just think about it; every time I am given this unexpected awareness towards some other creature and feel this current of communication between us, I am touched and activated by something that comes from the fiery heart of divine love.

Jesus, my Advocate above,

My Friend before the throne of love,

If now for me prevails thy prayer,

If now I find thee pleading there,

Do thou the secret wish convey

That prompts my wayward heart to pray;

Hear, and my weak petition join,

Almighty Advocate, to thine.

Jesus, my heart's desire obtain,

My earnest suit present, and gain;

My fullness of corruption show;

The knowledge of myself bestow.

My sovereign Lord, to thee I cry;

Without thy mercy I must die:

My life, mu only heaven thou art;

O may I feel thee in my heart

Charles Wesley

Saturday, 24 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus

Prince of Peace  s 24/10

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

So what are we to make of this tile Prince of Peace? Throughout his encounters we in the Gospels we find that Jesus gave a new substance to that beloved word of greeting Shalom. This Hebrew for peace, means fullness, a completeness having everything you need and to be wholly and happily yourself.

Jesus speaks of peace in three different ways. In the form of the traditional greeting - peace be with you; as an integral element of his kingdom that is possessed by those he blesses, the peace makers and in redefining peace as the peace that he brings that is so different from that which the world gives. 

Jesus also speaks from the depths of his heart to his dearest friends as he is faces his Passion. He wants his friends to know that he is with them, his father is with them. Jesus’ farewell wish is ‘Peace!’ His gift of peace is not a state, but a relationship. It is the fruit of deeply abiding in him. This relationship will never fail. It will enable the disciples to endure suffering and rejection.

The peace that Jesus gives is available to me; I have to do nothing to receive it. But maybe that’s the problem – I want to do something to earn what Jesus offers as a free gift. Lord, help me to do nothing in this time of prayer but to be ready to receive what you offer.

There is a certain peace and joy that comes from knowing and loving God directly, that nothing else can give. Once we know God as source of being, we love all of creation as expressions of this love and goodness. Creation, including all our beloved, are not rivals for God’s love but expressions of God’s love.

If you love someone you would want the greatest good of all for them, which is that they would know the peace that surpasses all understanding - a peace the world cannot give on its own - a peace that comes only from knowing and loving God and God’s presence in creation.

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Charles Wesley

Friday, 23 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus

Everlasting Father,

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Now, is there some confused thinking going on here, particularly in the light of trinitarian theology of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It’s unlikely Isaiah has the Trinity in mind at all when he says the Messiah will be called Everlasting Father. It’s not the Messiah’s role within the Godhead that this statement is about, but the Messiah’s character toward us that Isaiah has in mind. Concerning the language of “Everlasting Father,”: some have called it “a descriptive analogy pointing to Christ’s character . . . he is fatherly, father-like, in his treatment of us.”

So it could be said that the list of names in Isaiah refer to the characteristics of the coming messiah. Often, ascribed names derive from various origins, either a characteristic or occupational activity for example. Occupational names include such simple examples as Smith, Miller, Thatcher  or the likes of Potter, and so on.

You see, this word translated here as father from the Hebrew also refers to head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan; as well as an originator or patron of a class, profession, or art. It can also refer to one who is a producer or generator. Rephrasing this statement in the light of this understanding we get a view of the Messiah as the original generator and eternal guardian of his people. What this title is saying about Jesus is not that he has become the eternal person of the Father, but is fatherly towards those for whom God has made him responsible.

Such is the heart of Christ for us, his children. He utterly reflects and lays bare the heart of his own Father. The unconditional love and self-giving that Jesus himself enjoyed for all eternity from his Father, he now pours out on his Church. He is our Saviour, Lord, Friend, Brother, Husband – and the one who Fathers us.

Eternal Father, God of love,

To thee out hearts we raise;

Thy all-sustaining power we prove,

And gladly sing thy praise.

Thine - wholly thine - O let us be!

Our sacrifice receive:

Made, and preserved, and save by thee,

To thee ourselves we give. 

Come, Holy Ghost, the Saviour’s love

Shed in our hearts abroad;

So shall we ever live, and move,

And be, with Christ, in God.

Charles Wesley

Thursday, 22 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus

Mighty God,

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Again, in this title, we find a paucity in the english language that does not reflect the richness of the original Hebrew. Mighty, in the Hebrew, speaks of one who is brave and strong, where as God in this context refers to the Almighty Jehovah.  It’s almost like saying the Mighty Almighty, a superlative phrase that says there is no comparison.

With this prophecy embedded within their culture, no wonder the occupied Jews of the Holy Land were looking for a warrior saviour. But are there different ways of understanding strength, might and power. In another sense Isaiah is not only saying the the messiah has the power of God, but he is the power of God. This Power of the  kingdom of God is breaking into the old order, not as an imposition from on high, but as leaven slowly causing the dough to rise. In the sermon on the mount Jesus in fact  redefined power altogether, by saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus even rebuked the religious powers of his time when answering an involved question about marriage, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Surely, the power seen in Jesus Christ was the complete opposite to ancient and even contemporary thoughts of power.

We often confuse humility with weakness. After all, turning the other cheek does not seem all that powerful, does it?

Yet, when leaders choose to stand on the principles of love, compassion and integrity, many quietly label them as soft and spineless. Why? Because our modern-day ideas of strength have nothing to do with biblical principles. Too often, we commend so-called “success” that was achieved through a lack of empathy, greed, and self-centred attitudes.

Jesus, the greatest Leader of all time, had more strength, self-control and wisdom than any man who ever lived. Yet He passionately taught love, compassion, grace and forgiveness.

So, yes, Jesus was compassionate and loving. He was a strong leader who resisted intense temptations, led an imperfect team of problem-prone people, passed constant scrutiny and testing of commitment and integrity, and in all this, remained faithful to His mission despite the consequences.

If  leaders:

  • have a hard time embracing love, kindness, truth, grace, and forgiveness,
  • can’t put others first,
  • or think that somehow Jesus was weak and soft in the way He led,

then they probably have the wrong idea of what leadership is and its ultimate purpose,

Let’s remember that we can speak in tongues of angels, we can give all we have to the poor, we can have the prophetic power, we can understand all mysteries and possess all the knowledge, yet if we don’t have love, we have nothing. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3.) And that’s pretty hard to argue against.

God of all power, and truth and grace 

which shall from age to age endure,

whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass,

remains and stands for ever sure;

that I your mercy may proclaim,

that all the world your truth may see,

hallow your great and glorious name,

and perfect holiness in me.

Charles Wesley

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Names and Titles of Jesus

Image: Jesus with the woman at the well

Wonderful Counsellor,

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Wonderful Counsellor (Hebrew Peh-Lah Yah-wats). When able to analyse the original Hebrew, something of the extent of this title can leave the reader astounded.

Peh-Lah (Wonderful) means an extraordinary marvellous wonder, that whilst hard to understand reveals God’s acts of judgement and redemption. And Yag-wats (Counsellor) speaks of one who is able to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan.

How often have we heard this phrase either in the rendition of Handel’s Messiah or within a carol service reading and yet have not plumbed it’s depths or significance. The Hebrew word “pala” indicates a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events.  The same word is used in Psalm 139:6 in just this way: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” It describes something miraculous! By adding the word counsellor we are encouraged to meet with the one who although is beyond our understanding is able to speak truth to us in our situation.

If in need of counsel, surely we would seek wisdom from one who is a wise source. The New Testament sees this fleshed out in a Person as reflected in 1 Corinthians 1:30; One “who became for us wisdom from God”. Christ is able to give us the needed direction for life. How thankful we should be that Isaiah spoke of a Wonderful Counsellor, who is also rightly named the “Mighty God.”

Jesus was a Wonderful Counsellor to those He taught and revealed His divine truths. He taught the multitudes in parables. He sat on hillsides and in boats along the seashore teaching with truthful authority. The true wonder of His teaching and counselling is that He continues to teach us today. He continues to reach to you and me with that same truthful authority.

Any counsellor worth their salt exhibits empathic listening skills. Empathy can be described as  the ability to sense others’ emotions and understand what they might be thinking or feeling. Empathy is not simply feeling for someone but feeling with them. In Jesus Christ we can experience his divine empathy and receive his wonderful saving counsel.

Let not the wise his wisdom boast,

The mighty glory in his might,

The rich in flattering riches trust,

Which take their everlasting flight.

The rush of numerous years bears down

The most gigantic strength of man;

And where is all his wisdom gone,

When dust he turns to dust again?

One only gift can justify

The boasting soul that knows his God;

When Jesus doth His blood apply,

I glory in His sprinkled blood.

The Lord, my righteousness, I praise,

I triumph in the love divine,

The wisdom, wealth, and strength of grace,

In Christ through endless ages mine.

Charles Wesley

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Names and Titles of Jesus

King of Kings

Phillippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If you are like me you will have often skipped the opening seventeen verses of Matthew or verses 23-38 of the 3rd chapter of Luke. Both list the genealogy of Jesus. Mathew starts with Abraham, Israel’s first Patriarch and traces the lineage through 14 generations to King David and a further 14 stages through to the Messiah. Matthew conclude his listing with the words ,”Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Luke, on the other hand starts with Joseph and then works back to David and Abraham and then goes on tracing the lineage to Adam and finally ends with the Son of God.

Pivotal to this ancestral listing is the inclusion of king David and the people were waiting for such a chosen one to set them free.

The Kingship of Christ calls attention to the exclusiveness of His ancestral line: the nobility of His immediate parentage, and the dignity and grandeur of who he really is. However, Christ’s holy reign is of a different ilk. Through history we identify Kingship with someone  who has power; kings have wealth; kings lorded over others. Kings in the past used force and killing to get their way. With Jesus, none of these is true.

Jesus is spoken of as a king in the Gospels. Gabriel announced to Mary that the Lord God would give her son the throne of David his father, and he would rule over the house of Jacob forever. Magi looked for a newborn king of the Jews. When Jesus last entered Jerusalem, crowds hailed him as a king and his followers cried out, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord," the Pharisees went to Jesus and told him to put an end to their blasphemies, and Jesus said to them, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."  

He was arrested for making himself king, and the soldiers mocked him as one. When Pilate asked if he were king of the Jews, Jesus replied, “You say so,” and he clarified, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (John 18:36). The charge written against Jesus was “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Jesus announced the kingdom of God. His mission was to have God reign in the hearts of all and to have peace and justice in the world. But the difference is that Jesus exercised his royal office by serving. Perhaps there is a lesson there for us all to follow and emulate the Servant King.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus

Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us,

Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,

Born a child and yet a King,

Born to reign in us forever,

Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit

Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Thine all sufficient merit,

Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley

Monday, 19 October 2020

The Names and Titles of Jesus

Great High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I found this remarkable photo online where the trunk of the tree that had died was given new life by the skill of a sculptor into a hand stretching upwards and it spoke to me Jesus our great height priest. The base definition priest is one authorised to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God. 

In the Old Testament we read of the high priest offering sacrifice to God on behalf of the people and had the sole privilege of entering the Temple Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to burn incense and sprinkle sacrificial animal blood to expiate his own sins and those of the people of Israel.

The uniqueness about Jesus is that he was not only the High Priest, but the self-offered sacrifice.

Just like the picture of the hand carving form a tree that had died, Jesus reaches from earth to heaven. Christ our Great High Priest represents us to the Father for he was tempted in every way we are yet he did not sin but He understands and sympathises with our weaknesses. Because He represents us we may approach the throne of grace confidently through him.

A little  known hymn by Charles Wesley ably expresses the work of Christ our Great High Priest and sets the scene that as heirs of the kingdom. By virtue of this sharing in his priesthood, Christ gives all his heirs,  the capacity of offering in their lives that worship which he himself called "worshipping the Father in Spirit and truth" (Jn 4:23). By carrying out this worship the faithful, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, we share in the incarnate Word's sacrifice and in his mission as high priest and universal Redeemer.

See where our great High Priest

Before the Lord appears,

And on his loving breast

The tribes of Israel bears:

Never without his people seen

The head of all believing men.

With him, the corner-stone,

The living stones conjoin;

Christ and his Church are one, -

One body and one vine;

For us he uses all his powers,

And all he has, or is, is ours.

The motions of our Head

The members all pursue,

By his good Spirit led

To act and suffer too:

Like him, the toll, the cross sustain,

Till glorious all like him we reign.

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.