Torchbearers for Christ
Sunday, June 23, 2024
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The Bible is a northern hemisphere book. This means, among other things, that there is a distinct difference between the four seasons of the year, more so than in some other parts of the world. In particular, we find that in Bible lands there is a very significant contrast between the winter and the spring time. Winter can mean storms, wintry blasts, chilly nights and gloomy days. The trees have lost their leaves and the earth seems largely without life But what a change comes with the spring time! Everything seems to come alive. This contrast between summer and winter is brought out vividly in a lovely picture given to us in the Song of Solomon. In the Song of Solomon, chapter 2, we read “My lover spoke and said to me, arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past, the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing of birds has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming of vines spread their fragrance....” (Vss. 10-13).
What is the spiritual application of this picture? It is all about a new life that is found in the Lord Jesus; the old life can well be thought of as life’s winter without Christ, lifeless and barren. The Lord Jesus brings a spiritual spring time to all who are willing to leave their “winter” experience. In John 5:24, the Saviour tells us “Whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”. Jesus tells us “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
The Lord Jesus certainly brought a spring time to His sorrowing disciples when He rose from the dead and appeared to them. Behind closed doors they were feeling devastated by His death, mourning and weeping. But suddenly the Lord was among them saying, “Peace be unto you and showing them His hands and His side. John tells us “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).  What an amazing change! The Saviour was alive; their “winter” had passed and “spring” had come. John also describes the new life that the Lord Jesus brings to the believer by telling us, “the darkness is past and he true light now shines” (1 John 2:8).
Think of Mary Magdalene. In deep sorrow she had stood by the cross of Jesus together with Mary, the Lord’s mother, and Mary the wife of Cleopas. He, whom she loved so dearly, was dying a cruel death. Then very early on the third day while it was still dark, she came to the Saviour’s tomb in tears. Jesus stood nearby, but she did not recognise Him. Then Jesus spoke one word, “Mary”! In a moment she realised that Jesus was alive. Her winter of grief and weeping was ended.
How precious it is when we think that we may not only enjoy a heavenly spring time in our hearts now, but beyond this life there is a perpetual spring time to be enjoyed in the life to come; a place where there will be no more tears, no more looking into an open grave, no more sickness or sadness; earth’s winter will be past forever. When the Saviour returns, the believer will experience a joyful, eternal spring time, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one and come with me” and “so shall we be forever with the Lord: (1 Thess. 4:17). Amen!
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.