Toward the end of Holy Week Jesus was eating dinner at the home of Simon the leper. While they were eating, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, entered the room and anointed Christ's head with expensive perfume. Some of those present began to complain about Mary's extravagant act. Jesus responded, “Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (St. Matthew 26:13)
Jesus made reference to the gospel. The word gospel means “good news.” The gospel, the good news, is Jesus Christ Himself. The simplest definition of the gospel is: The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In order for God to accept someone into heaven they must be righteous and sinless. That is the very thing we lack. The Son of God became a human being, a sinless human being, and lived a truly righteous life. Jesus lived the sort of life God's holiness demands.
When we come to Jesus in repentance and faith He will grant to us the benefits of His righteous life. We are clothed with His righteousness and God the Father looks at us and sees the perfect righteousness of His Son.
Being righteous why did Jesus die the death of a criminal? Why do we call the day He died “Good” Friday rather than “Black” Friday? Once again it is part of the gospel, the good news. As sinners we have incurred guilt, i.e., legal liability. God, being just, could not dismiss our guilt for we deserve punishment. However, God is also loving and has compassion toward the creatures He created in His image, an image marred by sin.
God desires to forgive, but there must be a just basis for that forgiveness. The solution to the dilemma is Jesus Christ. In His death Christ assumed our guilt, our legal liability. As St. Paul put it, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Cor. 5:21) The demands of both justice and love were met in Jesus Christ.
Three days following His death, Jesus broke the bonds of death and came back to life. Death is a curse that came upon humanity because of sin. In the Garden of Eden God told Adam, “… for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die.” (Gen. 2:17) When Adam sinned that curse fell upon the entire race of humans.
The work of salvation would not have been complete if Christ had not defeated death, the curse that lay upon us. That is why Christ's resurrection is an essential part of His work as the Savior.
This is the Gospel, the Good News. It is the living, dying and living again of Jesus Christ. The benefits of this Gospel, salvation and eternal union with God, are not automatically ours. We receive the salvation Christ has earned through faith in Him as our Savior. When we do so His life, His death, and His resurrection become our own.
by Rev. Frank M. Levi
Ladies Appreciation Dinner
April 24, 2004, at 5:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. The men will cook, serve, and clean up. Chef Barney Reagan has prepared a menu that includes roast pork and beef, baked potatoes, and a variety of vegetables and desserts. All the women of the Parish and their guests are invited. If you are planning to attend place your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the narthex or call the church office at (708) 614-7404.
Annual Parish Meeting
Sunday, April 18, 2004, following Morning Worship. The meeting will be preceded by a catered luncheon provided by the Vestry. All heads of departments, treasurers and committee chairmen should be prepared to give reports.
Easter Breakfast 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Hall.
The service of Holy Communion begins at 10:30 a.m. We hope that all of you will be with us as we celebrate our Lord's RESURRECTION!
In accordance with the new Canon 19 an alms box has been installed in the narthex. The Canon reads, “In every Parish a suitable receptacle shall be provided for gathering alms for the poor. Alms and other offerings for the poor shall be deposited with the Minister of the Parish, or with such Church officer as shall be appointed by him, to be applied by the Minister, or under his superintendence, to such pious and charitable uses as shall by him be thought fit.” We would encourage you to contribute to this ministry.
Missionary of The Month
Rev. & Mrs. Gerhard Meyer (Grace) and their children Esther, Melody, Jessica, Joy. Youth/Camp/Pastoral Ministries. Schwarzenborn, Germany.