We interrupt this broadcast with a newsflash from the BBC. Lots of us remember where we were when the nation was rocked by those dramatic live bulletins. From Nelson Mandela to Princess Diana, from JFK to MLK and from Apollo 11 to 9/11. Half of the world’s population are connected to the internet. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the 24 hour global news feeds have made television newsflashes virtually meaningless. The big stories instantly light up the little screens and we all live our lives inside one giant newsflash.

There’s a guy in the Bible called John the Baptist who did a very important job. In today’s language, he set up the social media accounts for Jesus. Essentially the warm up act but some people thought he was the headliner. John set the record straight on that one with a very clear status update “There is one coming whose boots I’m not worthy to bend down and lace up” Contained in the pages of the Bible are the words of the Father posted and shared by Jesus his son. They have been trending across the world for the last 2,000 years. Standing like two gigantic bookends to his three years of public life are two great newsflashes from Heaven that define the destiny of the human race.

The first one is this “The Spirit of the Lord is on me” Jesus said “because he has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free” I’ll tell you the second newsflash in a minute but first we’re taking a trip back through history to the First World War. Trench warfare produced huge challenges for communication and cable laying was second only l to ‘going over the top’ in terms of danger. Nevertheless, by the end of 1917 a 500 mile long network of trenches along the Western Front was connected by telegraph cables. WhatsApp nearly 100 years before the internet.

There’s a famous old painting that captures a dramatic event amidst the squalor of the Battle of the Somme in 1918. An unarmed soldier ventured out into Nomansland to repair a transmission cable, snapped by shellfire interrupting vital trench to trench communications. Today’s equivalent of the internet going down in the worst possible location. The painting shows the soldier bridging the broken connection in his hands and restoring the connection to the peril of his own life. It has a deep and profound resonance with the mission of Jesus and the second great newsflash that he delivered on the cross.

Jesus ventured out into the Nomansland of humanity’s separation from God. With his arms outstretched he cried “It is finished!” The final status update from the Son of God at the climax of his 33 years of life on earth echoes throughout time and eternity ‘Contact Restored’ Our rejection of God as Father has interrupted the wireless connection and the divine current between us and him but it was repaired by Jesus. By humbling ourselves and surrendering our lives to his finished work we can be forgiven, restored and reconnected to God.

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