As I gazed out from the top deck of the Mersey ferry this summer, the Radio City tower and the Anglican cathedral stood boldly above the Liverpool skyline. Below them were the Three Graces: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building that grace the waterfront. On leaving the ferry terminal, I had only gone a few yards, when I met four young Liverpudlians, all larger than life and cast in bronze. Liverpool has been an international port for centuries, but it was John, Paul, George and Ringo, who made Liverpool world famous. These four ordinary Liverpool lads drew screaming crowds wherever they went, and even today are acknowledged to be the band that changed the face of popular music.
It will soon be Halloween, more properly known as All Hallows Eve, because it precedes All Saints Day, celebrated in the U.K. on 1st November each year. All Saints Day is a time to remember those who have died, and as such it will be a particularly poignant occasion this year, because of the pandemic. The day is often associated with those true believers, past and present, who have come to know Jesus personally. Amongst these are a different “Fab Four”, again ordinary young men, who changed the world, not by their music, but by the biographies that they wrote.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each wrote about the life, teachings and miracles of Jesus. Matthew and John wrote their own eye-witness accounts after spending over three years with Jesus. Their companion, Peter, dictated his account to Mark. Finally, Luke, a 1st Century doctor, who although not one of Jesus’s original followers knew many who were, and researched thoroughly before writing “an orderly account.”
The words and experiences that they recorded have gone on to impact the lives of millions: Jesus’s revolutionary teaching for example, that we should forgive each other and not take revenge, that we should love our enemies, and if we have millions in the bank but have no hope for eternity we are poor.
However, with so many having lost loved ones this year, it is the following words of Jesus that will surely bring the most comfort:
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NCV/NIV)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 (NCV)
“I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. … So don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t be afraid.” John 14:27 (CEV/ISV)
I hope and pray that you will find the peace and rest that we all need right now, and that you will also find the free gift of hope that Jesus offers. Take care, stay safe.