The sun shines on the….? – August 2013 Magazine Leader

One day of sunshine and we all change into hot weather clothes! Two days of sunshine and the smell of Bar-B-Q’s wafts around the streets. The sweltering heat experienced at the end of the school term has taken many by surprise. The outside seating areas at restaurants and cafes have really come into their own. It almost feels like living in the Mediterranean as you saunter down the High Street, enjoying what we neither worked for nor arranged to have.

People often say about the sunny days: “The sun shines on the righteous!” It’s a saying that suggests we deserve a treat and it makes up for a rubbish week. In fact this is a MISQUOTE, which gives only half the actual sentence and is misleading.

The words spoken by Jesus are very different. Jesus once talked about a really hard thing that his followers should do. The proof that we are children of the heavenly Father is to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us! Jesus led by example when he was executed by crucifixion and prayed for his enemies ‘Father, forgive them as they do not know what they are doing.’

He followed this challenge about demonstrating a powerful love with the saying: ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (Matthew 5v45). Jesus’ disciples have as their example God himself, who loves so indiscriminately that he sends sun and rain on both good and evil, those in a right standing with him and those who are his enemies. This ‘common grace’ is God’s favour shown, without distinction, to all of humanity.

God’s example provides the incentive for Jesus’ disciples to become like their Father. If they have come to know his love, as shown in the death of his Son Jesus for our forgiveness, then it changes the direction of life. His followers are now to live and love in a way far excels the way of the world. In fact, Jesus encourages his followers to ‘be perfect’ by following his example.

You may enjoy the sunshine as an experience of the common grace of God. But have you come to know God’s special grace, which is ours only through Jesus Christ? There is so much more of God’s love to discover and to demonstrate.

Paul Kingman

Christ Church Magazine August 2013