Jesus Breaks the Ice

Did you ever desire to have a serious talk with someone, but lacked the courage to get at the real problem you wanted to discuss? You talked around the subject that needed to be discussed. When the conversation ended, nothing had been accomplished.

I recall a luncheon recently where a gentleman wanted to visit with me. We had been at the table for an hour, and I was trying to figure out what was on the man’s mind. Finally I said, “Please tell me what you want to discuss with me.” That broke the ice and we had a meaningful conversation.

Perhaps I have described a situation in your life. There is something you need to talk about with someone near and dear to you. You hesitate because of the negative response you might get and finally conclude that it is not worth it. This is not healthy. If the person is very close to you, it helps to get the agenda on the table and discuss what is bothering you.

This is exactly what Jesus did one day with the Apostle Peter as they sat on the shores of Lake Tiberias.

Peter’s conscience was killing him. In his last conversation with Jesus, the Lord had said, “You will all fall away on account of me.” (Matthew 26:31) Peter’s response was, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (33) You know the rest of the story. That night when Jesus needed him the most, Peter denied three times that he knew Him. Then came Jesus’ trial, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. Why did I deny Him? That was Peter’s agonizing question. He had seen Jesus several times since the resurrection, but there was never an opportunity to discuss his sin with the Lord.

Then came the morning when Jesus broke the ice. They had finished breakfast and Jesus asked Peter the question, “Peter, do you love me more than these?” With those words Jesus made it easier for Peter to get on with what was bothering him. Why did Jesus ask the question? Because Peter had inferred that his love for Jesus was greater than that of the other apostles. They might all leave you, but you can count of me, Lord. I am true to my word. You can be sure that Peter had tortured himself with questions like, do I really love Him? He would then comfort himself by saying, Of course I do. Then another question would come to mind: Was my love for Him only verbal? Why didn’t I show my love by confessing I was one of His? Then he might have become philosophical and ask, what is love, anyway? Try as hard as he could, Peter had no answers explaining his action that would bring any kind of peace to his soul.

The writer of Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (4:12-13). You can be sure Peter knew the meaning of those words after Jesus had finished His conversation that day. There were no more games. Down came the defenses. Away with the excuses. Christ was confronting Peter with his sin.

God’s Word is confrontational and that is a primary reason why it is often offensive to many people. We do not appreciate being confronted with our sins. One of the temptations facing the Church in our day is to be true to God’s Word. If we want the congregation to grow numerically, we are tempted to learn how to entertain the congregation. Present a soothing message for twenty minutes and send people home feeling good. They will be back next week to learn what wonderful people they are. In our day people seek pleasure and entertainment. If the Church can fit into this demand from the general public and entertain people with appealing music and comforting thoughts, it will be the church of the day, but only for that day. The truth is that Jesus did not minister to people this way. He first confronted them with their sins, and then He shared the Gospel with them.

Returning to our text, Jesus did bring peace to Peter’s soul when He said to him, “Peter, go out and feed my sheep.” With those words, Jesus conveyed the message that once you thought you could be my witness on your own strength. Now you know better. I forgive you. Go and tell the world how I forgave you and that I am anxious to forgive all people who will come to me. And that is what Peter did until his dying day.

On Pentecost Sunday, Peter was preaching the Gospel to the crowds assembled in Jerusalem. That day three thousand people received Christ and were baptized as believers. A few days after that Peter and John were telling the rulers in Jerusalem about Jesus. When they were told not to mention Christ’s name again, they fearlessly said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19) Quite a different Peter, wasn’t he? This is what Jesus can do for people.

After we have our time with Jesus, there is a peace in our soul which passes all understanding. As He met Peter by the sea, so He meets us in His Word. There He breaks the ice and confronts us with our sins only to deliver the wonderful message that, through faith in Him, our sins are forgiven. Then all is well between our Heavenly Father and us.

History’s Most Important Event

The Christian is quick to say the event in history that has changed his or her life more than any other is the resurrection of JesusÊChrist from the grave.

There are many discoveries or inventions that have had a profound effect on our lives. Today it is the computer. Fifty years ago itÊwas television. We do not know what it will be down the road,Êbut none are, nor will be, as powerful as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

How can this be? It is the resurrection story that tells us we areÊmore than earthly citizens of a particular nation. We are eternalÊand shall live after these years have past. Death was conqueredÊwhen Jesus came forth from the grave and those who trust HimÊwill live with Christ forever.

Let’s go back and review what happened that first Easter day.ÊThe Bible tells us three women were on their way to Jesus’ tombÊto anoint His body. They wondered who would roll away

the stone. But when they got there, the tomb was open. A youngÊman met them and asked if they were looking for Jesus. WhenÊthey told the young man, or angel as some of the Gospel writersÊreport, their mission was to anoint His body, they received the good news. “He is not here. He has risen. Come and see whereÊthey laid Him and then go and tell His disciples.”

The best commentary on the resurrection comes from the inspired pen of St. Paul in I Corinthians 15. Paul tells us that after Christ’ resurrection, He appeared to the apostles and then about fiveÊhundred people, and then finally he appeared to Paul. Because Paul persecuted the Church, he did not feel worthy of being called an apostle, but by God’s grace he worked harder than all of theÊapostles. Paul wants his readers to know that if the living ChristÊlives in you, you are a different person than you would have been without Him.

At the present time I am serving a congregation on Sunday morningsÊwhere the pastor is ill. It’s a joy to meet with these people. I walk into their midst and see those happy faces. I see their love and care for each other. One of the members showed me some pictures of a missionary church the congregation is helping to build in the Philippines.ÊHe was more enthusiastic than a grandmother showing a pictureÊof her first grandchild. Seeing his enthusiasm for this missionary project,ÊI said, “This really brings joy to your heart, doesn’t it.” Smiling fromÊear to ear he said, “It is a miracle that we can share the Gospel with these people so far away.” Christ lives in this man’s heart, and he wantsÊthese people thousands of miles away to have the same joy he has.

If you do not experience any change in your life, perhaps Christ doesÊnot yet live in you. Why don’t you make a special effort to explore what this Easter message is all about and what you are missing that others have who live daily with the risen Lord. If this year you make this discovery, it will be an Easter you will never forget.

There is no group or invention that has made as great a contributionÊto life in your town as the Risen Christ. Paul tells how depressing lifeÊwould be if Christ had not been raised. He says, “And if Christ hasÊnot been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are found to be false witnesses about God, for weÊhave testified about God that he raised Jesus from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ is not raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hopeÊin Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (14-19)

What a pathetic picture. Think of your town without the messageÊof the resurrected Christ. Our gathering for worship on SundayÊmorning would be of little value. We would really be preaching a lie.ÊThere would be no hope for the future. There would be no message from a living Lord who would tell us to be concerned about our neighbors. There would be no message that would deal withÊforgiveness. We would live without our own guilt and refuse to forgive others who have sinned against us. How different it would be.Ê

But more than all of this, there would be no message of the heavenly home. How would you like to live without these words, “Where OÊdeath, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting ofÊdeath is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

At the time death comes to your home, people can be very helpful.ÊBut without the message from Jesus, “Your loved one shall riseÊagain,” there is no comfort. Forty-five years ago, a mother and her three grown children came to my office and asked if I would buryÊtheir father and husband who had just died. I was glad to be of helpÊand this was my first meeting with this family. Shortly after the funeral,Êthey joined our congregation.Ê

They were committed to the Lord Jesus and served Him in a mighty way. Nine years later, the dear mother went to be with the Lord. I remember visiting her only hours before she left this world. She saidÊin her broken English, for she had come from Denmark, “Soon I will be at home with papa.” She was old and in poor health. WhenÊshe breathed her last, the children stood with tears going down theirÊfaces saying, “She is home with papa.” All of this because ChristÊhas been raised.

Then there were twenty-five years of good health until this yearÊwhen we buried the sister, Emma, and eighteen days later, theÊyounger of the two sons, Tony, who died while undergoing heart surgery. He had told friends that it was now time for him to go and be with the Lord and his family. All of this because of Easter.

I was once told after an Easter service that I should not have talked about death. It was too festive a day to deal with such a sad subject. However, it is impossible to deal with the message of Christ’sÊresurrection without talking about death, for this is the event that tells us death has been conquered and, in Him, we are victors over sin,Êdeath, and the devil.

Easter is history’s most important event. You may question that statement. There was a time when St. Paul did. Then Christ came into his life and there was no question that the resurrection of our Lord was the greatest event of history. So it is with you if your confession, “On the third day He rose from the dead,” comes from your heart.Ê

Why We Need a Savior

When is a person convinced that he or she needs a Savior?

Many people would say, “I don’t need a Savior. I respect that you are a religious person, but I don’t need religion.”

Such a statement blows my mind. When I visit with some of my friends who have no need for Christ or the Church, I have questions and they have answers. Here are few examples.

When are you discouraged? Where do you go for encouragement?

A common answer is, “I usually can work through my discouragements. But if I need a little help, my friends who are positive and upbeat know how to help me.”

Many people are bored with life. They feel they are in a rut. “When youÊfeel that life has little to offer that is exciting, where do you go for help?”

“That seldom happens in my life. I always am able to find something thatÊwill improve my life. But if it should happen to be unhappy, I believe some of these motivational speakers would be of great help.”

“As you look at your life and realize how imperfect it is, doesn’t the guilt get to you?”

“Here is where we who do not take the Bible too seriously have an advantage over you who consider the Bible your authority in what you believe and how you behave. We do not have all these Biblical laws that you have. We feel that right and wrong is determined by the individual in a given circumstance. But if I should do something that I believe is really bad, like being dishonest in a business transaction or being guiltyÊof breaking up a family, I would seek a good counselor who wouldÊassist me.”

There is so much help available in society that many of us do notÊneed aÊreligious faith. According to the press, Governor Jesse Ventura says it isÊonly those who are weak-minded who need religion. Jesus said that havingÊa Savior is not a luxury but a necessity.Ê

Let’s see when Peter understood that he needed a Savior. ForÊthree yearsÊthe Apostle had been under the teaching of Jesus. He had learned that the human being is weak and sinful. Jesus had told the disciples, “I came to seekÊand to save that which is lost.” People need a Shepherd to love them. All these great truths Peter knew and yet, it is apparent that he did not know he needed a Savior. He knew that a dishonest tax collector and a woman who lived in adultery needed a Savior, but our text teaches clearly that Peter did not put himself in their category.

It was the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. He had told the disciples,Ê”This night you will all fall away on account of me.” Peter was offended at this statement and he replied, “Lord, even if all fall away on account of you, I never will fall away.” He saw himself as a strong, loyal man who would never turn his back on a friend like Jesus. When Jesus saw Peter’s self-confident attitude, he warned him, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.”

Later on that evening Jesus was arrested and brought to the high priest’s home. Peter followed along and stood in the courtyard when a young lady saw him and said, “This man was with Him.” Peter denied it and aÊlittle later someone else made the same statement. Again Peter denied being with Jesus. Then an hour later, Peter was again accused of being with Jesus. This time he said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Just as Peter was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord walked by with the soldiers and He turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter went outside and wept bitterly. It was when Jesus looked straight into the face of Peter that he first experienced his need for the Savior.

Peter knew from Jesus’ teaching that all are sinners and need a Savior. He had looked at the woman in Samaria who had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. Peter hadÊno doubt that she needed a Savior. When he learn how Zaccheus had stolen from the people in Jericho, Peter knew that the tax collector needed a Savior. Intellectually Peter knew that he needed a Savior too, but it wasn’t until he saw his helplessness and how far he had fallen into sinÊthat he could say from the bottom of his heart, “Now I know I needÊa Savior.”

Dr. Joseph Sittler once said, “When the facts of life intersect with the teachings of the Bible, then you know it is God’s Word.” We can quote the Scriptures, deliver beautiful Bible studies and still not beÊtouched with the truth that we need a Savior. This must be experienced before it is real for us. Jesus must look into our face and confront usÊwith His love and our sinfulness.

Let me list three reasons why it is necessary to have a Savior.

First, our sins need to be taken away so that we can be restored into a relationship with God. Then, He becomes our Father to whom we may turn for forgiveness and help. This kind of forgiveness can only come from Christ our Savior. Without this forgiveness, we are still in our sins which separate us from God.

Secondly, we need a Savior to give us a reason for living. There are many challenges in our lives. We need to excel in our work. We need to develop our talents.ÊWe need to be responsible people who will take care of our responsibilities.Ê

But none of these responsibilities are great enough. We need to let Christ challenge us. Peter knew what a challenge it was when he preached before thousands of people after Christ told him to go and “feed My sheep.” The Savior showed Peter what the big challenges in life were when he and John were told by the authorities they couldÊno longer mention the name of Jesus.Ê

It was a challenge for the timid man to say, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For

we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Thirdly, we need a Savior to motivate and empower us to accept challenges. We know all too well how difficult it can be to be Christ’s ambassadors. Our society will not be offended when ourÊconversation is limited to religion in general, but let us begin to talk about our need for a Savior and what Christ has done for us, and we can expect some strong negative reactions. We do not want toÊbe offensive. We want to be the nice guys and gals. It is at thisÊtime that we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what God wants regardless of what the consequences will be. In otherÊwords, we can know the answers, we can be well-schooled in knowing how to share the Gospel, but when God has opened the doorÊand we have an opportunity to point people to Christ, we needÊstrength from the Savior to be faithful.

A good therapist, an up-beat friend, and a motivational speakerÊall have their places in our lives, but none are adequate to meet our deepest needs. Only Christ can do that. When this is our experience, we understand that we need a Savior.

Considering the Cost

It was strange that a comment made yesterday is quickly forgotten,Êbut one made years ago remains fresh in your mind today.

I recall a conversation when a board I served on scheduled a meeting for a night when I could not be present. One of the members asked if it would not be possible for me to adjust my calendar, since this wasÊa very important meeting and all others could be present.

I suggested that they have the meeting without me because it was notÊpossible for me to be with them on that date.

“Are you going to be out of town?” a member asked.

“No, that’s the night that we have Lenten services at our church andÊI need to be there.”

“Oh, you’re speaking, I presume.”

“No, this is not my night to preach. One of the other pastors willÊdeliver the message. I’ll be worshiping with my wife.”

Evidently feeling that this Lenten service was not nearly as important as the board meeting where big decisions had to be made that wouldÊ

involve thousands of dollars, I was asked rather sarcastically, “WhatÊis this Lent business all about?”

After these many years I don’t know what my answer was, but IÊknow what it would be today. Today I would have said that LentÊis that special time of the year when we consider the cost ChristÊ

had to pay that our sins could be forgiven. And if someone had asked, “Doesn’t the cost need to be before us every day,” I would haveÊsaid, “Of course, but the added attention to this redeeming act isÊa wonderful way to prepare for the greatest celebration of the yearÊEaster the day Christ rose, winning for us victory over sin, death, and the devil.”

I don’t recall whether or not the meeting was held without me, butÊI know some of those people felt I was carrying my religion a bit too far.

CONSIDERING THE COST! That is what Lent is all about andÊthat’s the theme for this sermon.

In our text Jesus is fighting His battle with death. We see His humanÊlonging to evade the cross.Ê

William Barclay has said it well:

“No one wishes to die. No one wishes to die at 33. No one wishes to die on a cross. There would have been no virtue in Jesus’ obedience toÊ

God at all, if it had come easily and without cost. Real courage doesÊnot mean not being afraid. There is no virtue in doing a thing if to do itÊ

is an easy thing. Real courage means to be terribly afraid and yet doingÊthe thing that ought to be done. This was the courage of Jesus.”

Only hours away from the cross Jesus says, “Now my heart is troubled.”ÊHe was torn apart. We need to remember that Jesus was not only trueÊ

God, but also true man. Pain was as real to Him as it is to us. As I write this sermon, two of my friends are in a rugged battle with cancer. TheyÊ

are young men in their early 40s and 50s. One has three young children.ÊThe other is looking forward to a more relaxed schedule with his children educated. There would be more time and money to travel. Death carriesÊwith it not only physical but emotional pain. The physical pain can beÊcontrolled to some extent, but what quiets the emotions? It is this sameÊconflict that goes on in Jesus’ life. Because of His experience with death,ÊJesus can identify with us when that hour comes for us and He standsÊby our bed.

His pain was not only physical and emotional, but all of the world’s sins were upon Him. He says, “I was sent to die and the hour is here. WhatÊshall I do? Shall I say, ‘Save me, Father, from this hour?'” (In theÊlanguage we better understand, “Will you scratch your plans for me,Ê

Father?”) After many torturous hours He concludes, “No, it was for thisÊreason I came to this hour.”Ê

From that time on He was ready to give Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was at peace. But let us never forget, this was not an easy decision, not even for Jesus.

As we consider the cross, can we take Christ’s death lightly? CanÊwe reduce His mission on earth to something less than paying theÊ

price for our sins? Can we demote Him to the lower office of teacherÊand moral example? Those are the questions that are especially

important for us to face in the Lenten season.

Does Christ’s struggle not cause us to struggle? Perhaps not if youÊare not willing or interested in becoming involved in what is includedÊin this matter of forgiveness. But if you are serious about Christianity,Êyour struggle might be in making Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world understandable.

His struggle makes us struggle with the seriousness of sin. I can noÊlonger laugh about sin, wink at it, rationalize it or ignore it. It hasÊ

captured my soul. I am its victim. I might be angered when someoneÊreminds me that what I am doing is sin and tell him/her to mind

their own business, but the emotional outburst does not quiet theÊguilt in my soul.

If you have become reconciled to God through Christ, there isÊanother struggle of reaching out to others with this glorious messageÊthat they too might be set free spiritually. Jesus had that struggle tooÊas we see him sitting on the Mount of Olives looking out over the city of Jerusalem and saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together like a hen gathers her chicksÊunder her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).Ê

How can they reject this love shown to them by Christ?

In the midst of Christ’s struggle comes the Father’s comforting voice.ÊJesus says cried, “Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice cameÊfrom heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” It was atÊHis baptism that Jesus first heard His Father’s voice. Then He was beginning His ministry. Later, on the Mount of Transfiguration,Êthe Father says, “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to Him.” AndÊnow, on the final step to the cross, Jesus is again comforted by HisÊFather. It was that reassuring voice that he did not walk alone.

What God did for Jesus, He does for us. When the strain of life isÊtoo much for us, we can turn to Him. If we will listen, His voice willÊspeak clearly to us through the Scriptures. There we find peaceÊand comfort.

Christ died as a payment for our sins. This is the core of the ChristianÊmessage. It determines our eternal destiny. Anyone who is convincedÊof this will have difficulty opting to attend a board meeting, no matterÊhow important the decisions may be, in place of gathering in God’sÊhouse to hear once more the reassuring words from our Father that,Êin Christ, all is well.Ê

The ABCs of Christianity

Why is it that our children have a clear understanding of Christianity,Êbut as we grow older confusion sets in? I imagine it is natural, since the experiences of life cause us to ask questions regarding our faith, andÊlistening to others discuss their religious views forces us to examineÊour own faith. We might get bogged down trying to make our faith more rational, but when life draws to a close, we go back to the basicsÊand receive them in faith.

I visited one of the old saints of our congregation who was dying.ÊHer children and their spouses were by her bedside. One of theÊrelatives was a prominent theologian who had a doctorate inÊtheology from Harvard. He had studied, written, and lectured inÊmany parts of the world. I read the words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life,” and assured the dying woman that Christ had died for her sins and in faith she had received Him as her Savior. Soon He would come and receive herÊinto the heavenly kingdom. When we had finished our devotionalÊtime, the theologian said, “This is all that we have to hang on toÊwhen life is over.” This brilliant mind was comforted with the basics,Êthose same truths he had learned as a child.

Let’s turn to the ABCs of our faith as revealed in John 3:16. Point A tells us that “God loves us.”

This statement is unique to the Christian faith. Other religions present an angry god who must be appeased in one way or another. We might question His love when things go wrong, but our thoughts and emotions do not alter the fact that He loves us. He created us in His image, which means that we are the crowning work ofÊHis creation. We have a mind with which we can think, a will with which we can make a decision, and a soul that is eternal. No other part of God’s creation has these attributes. And notice that He loves the world.

He loves the wealthy and the poor. There is no distinction in lovingÊpeople of different colors. He loves the brilliant, the illiterate, and all the rest of us in between. It appears that we in society can say,Ê”That is true, God loves all the people of the world,” but how difficult it is for us to believe that. It seems much more natural forÊus to say that He loves us and our kind, and so our congregations are quite stereotyped. And why is that?Ê

Because these are the people we went out looking for, believing they would fit into our group. Not so with God.

Take a look at the “B” part of our sermon.

“God so loved the world that he gave his Son.”

When love is love, it moves us to act and that is what God did.ÊThe freedom given to us in the creation caused Adam and Eve toÊturn their backs on God and sin came into the world.Ê

Though our culture has little understanding of sin in the Biblical sense of the word, it is serious to God. God in His righteousness could not wink at sin as sinners do. It had to be dealt with.ÊEither the sinner had to pay for his/her wrong doing or someÊone had to atone for those sins, and that Someone was Jesus Christ.

Listen to these Bible passages which describe Christ’s work.ÊThey tell of His sacrifice far better than any modern-day portrayal.

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for ourÊiniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,Êand by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone stray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:5-6.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” I Peter 2:24.

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowshipÊwith one another and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us fromÊall sin.” I John 1:7 Need we say any more. Through Christ’s vicarious suffering at the cross, full payment has been paid for our sins and through Him all of our sins can be forgiven. We can stand righteous before Almighty God as He sees us in the person of His Son, Christ Jesus, who alone is our Savior.

What a marvelous gift, but it is ours only if we receive Christ. Look at the “C” part of our text, “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” There is a strong temptation to stop halfway through the verse and let it read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” Universalism all people will be saved is so nice to hear, but so unbiblical. Empowered by theÊHoly Spirit, we must receive Christ or He died in vain for us.

Such a statement causes some to rise up in furor and shout, “Heresy,Êheresy!” It is their contention that when we receive Christ we are making a contribution to our salvation. Nothing can be fartherÊfrom the truth. God has given us the right to reject what Christ has done for us. A gift must be received if it is to benefit us.Ê

A while back a lady came to our house with a beautiful plant. My wife,Êa lover of flowers, reached out and received this plant and has placedÊit in the most conspicuous place in our house where all can see it.ÊShe is absolutely thrilled. Did she earn it? No, she didn’t. What if sheÊhad been courteous to the giver and hypocritically thanked her saying,Ê”I love it” only to place it on the patio, which was covered with snow,Êwhen the giver had left. To enjoy that plant, it was necessary toÊreceive it. So also with our salvation. This message of salvation inÊChrist is for all of us. God does not want us to be lost and so He sends us to tell the story of God’s great gift for us.

As children we began our Christian journey trusting Jesus, who loves us and has died for us. When we say farewell to planet earth, it will be that same message which brings us to heaven. This message is so simple that the child can understand it, but so profound that the greatest scholar cannot exhaust its depths.Ê