9th November 2019

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
John 11:25 (NKJV)

I once stayed in a raft house on the river Kwai in Thailand. One morning four or five of us travelled in a small boat a couple of miles upriver. We landed on a dry bank, took a path through a narrow sliver of jungle and emerged from the dark shade of the trees into a brilliantly sunlit, immaculately manicured war cemetery. Butterflies hovered over colourful flowers among neat rows of small plaques. Each had the name of a soldier who had died in the construction of the Burma railway built by the Japanese to supply their troops after they invaded Burma in WW2. The peace and beauty of the place seemed in stark contrast to the terrible history that gave rise to it. These men, prisoners of war, had been used by their captors to build the railway and had suffered torture, starvation, and humiliation before their deaths.

As I walked along the lines of graves, one caught my attention. This young soldier had died on the same day in early 1944 that I had been born. As I had entered the world in comfortable south London, this young man had left in death, far from home and loved ones in the most dreadful circumstances. It seemed so unfair.

My mind went back to the the great 1957 film starring Alec Guinness The Bridge on the River Kwai. I enjoyed the film, it was exciting and powerful, but it was Hollywood, not the true story! The real story is recounted briefly by D.James Kennedy, author of What If The Bible Had Never Been Written. He met the commander of the British forces in Burma who told what actually happened in the prison camp. He said the men were reduced to savagery by starvation and fought among themselves for every scrap of food. Then their commanding officer found a New Testament in a backpack. He read it and was transformed by what he read of the grace and love of Jesus Christ. He began to read it to his men and gradually “Virtually the entire camp was transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.” They began to share their bread instead of fighting over it. Even though many of those prisoners died in that place, Jesus was there in the midst of the savagery, the pain, the war. He hadn’t forgotten them, and neither does He forget any of the soldiers and war casualties of this or any other age. He came to bring hope and salvation not condemnation.

There will surely be a time and opportunity for all to look into the smiling eyes of One who is a righteous judge, yes, but who is also full of grace and love, mercy and hope. The young soldier who departed this world in 1944, the day I entered, went to be with this ever loving Jesus who understands our every weakness and has already forgiven us on the cross. There are decisions to be made, but I have every hope for that young man and all others who died on battlefields throughout history.

Thank You, Jesus, that whether it’s the soldier on the battlefield or the brokenhearted widow at home, all will stand and make their decision before a Judge full of love and compassion on that Great Day.

Study by Doug Bass

About the Author:
Doug Bass is a member of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Coulsdon
Coulsdon Community Church
Coulsdon Community Centre
Barrie Close
Chipstead Valley Road

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
Brian Smith
Phone: 01243-699812
Email: coulsdon@gracecom.church

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