The gospel of John Lewis.

Unless you’ve been hibernating for the last few years you’ll have noticed that the worlds pretty divided at the moment.

Trump v Clinton.

Brexit v Remain.

Black v White.

Rich v Poor.

East v West.

All over the world division reigns but fear not the John Lewis Christmas advert is out and it brings good news of great joy.

If you haven’t seen it yet click here – if not, spoiler alert.

The advert begins with a Dad building a trampoline in a snowy back garden as his little girl goes to bed on Christmas eve. Before long 2 foxes appear and begin to bounce on the trampoline. Suddenly, a badger joins them. Before you know it a squirrel and a hedgehog join the party while buster the dog watches on desperate to join in.

‘Jesus out, trampoline in’

The advert is a beautiful picture of animals that should be divided uniting together because of a trampoline. The good news message of John Lewis is that we can all come together through trampolines (or any other product they sell) The gospel of John Lewis substitutes Jesus in the manger for a trampoline in the garden. buster_the_boxer_-_john_lewis_christmas_ad_03-large_transnjjoebt78qiaydkjdey4cngtjfjs74myhny6w3gnbo8

It promises peace through trampolines, if everyone buys one all division in the world would disappear.

Jesus at the heart of Christmas

But Christmas is actually about the coming of Jesus, something that was promised 700 years before it happened. In Isaiah 11 we read this “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump on Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Trampolines aren’t supposed to be at the heart of Christmas, Jesus is.

And what will Jesus do? Isaiah 11:6-9, looking ahead to the new creation, says: “The wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,for as the waters fill the sea,so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.”

Jesus came as the God-man to destroy sin and all it’s effects. Through His perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection from the grave He has secured a better future. A world of peace where as Isaiah 11 explains wolf and lamb will live together, leopards will care for baby goats, calves will be safe with lions and where babies will play near Cobras. Maybe foxes, badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs will even bounce on trampolines together?

Jesus has promised to restore a world of peace.

The gospel of John Lewis v the gospel of Jesus

You see, the gospel of John Lewis speaks into our God-given desire for a peaceful world and it offers us peace for the cost of a trampoline. The gospel of Jesus speaks to the same desire but it offers true peace for free because Jesus has already paid the price.

Two gospels, two saviours but one true hope.

 

What teenagers think of Christianity.

Each Tuesday I get the privilege of helping out with the SU group in our local High School. There’s around 20 teenagers who come along, most have no Church background whatsoever. Every week brings new insights into their hearts but yesterday was fascinating.

As part of an exercise the students were given a sheet and asked to answer ‘What do most people think about Christianity?’ The options were boring, pointless, out of date, full of rules, important, only for Sundays, interesting or the same as other religions.

What do you think the answers would be? I presumed the group of 5 unchurched teenage boys I was with would say boring and out of date. I was wrong.unknown

5 out of 5 said important and full of rules and 4 out of 5 said interesting. None of the others got a tick. Fascinating.

See, often Churches presume that people today just aren’t interested in Jesus. We lament about our culture not seeing the importance of Christianity. However, (I know it’s a small sample) it looks like this generation don’t match up to our presumptions. And from my experience I think this is a trend that stretches across generations. I often meet people, of all ages, who are  interested in Christianity.

Why? Because they’ve never heard about it. They’ve never set foot in a Church. They’ve never had Bible stories read to them at home. They haven’t heard about Jesus at school assemblies. It’s not that people have heard and rejected Jesus it’s that most people have never heard the gospel before. And it’s our job to let them hear.

So as Churches lets leave our pessimistic presumptions behind and optimistically get on mission. Instead of complaining about the lack of interest in coming to our events lets use that energy to get out into culture to share the gospel with the people we meet. And while we’re at it let’s demonstrate that Christianity isn’t about the fullness of rules but about the fullness of life.