Often when I speak in churches, I encourage people to listen to the familiar Easter story as if for the first time. There are three reasons why I think this is a good thing. First, as Christians it is good to re-visit the reality that is the basis of our faith. Secondly, others may come to faith. And thirdly, it helps people appreciate what it means to literally hear the story for the first time!
So when my friend, Marlene Ferguson, recently wrote an article for her Ballyhenry Presbyterian Church website, I asked her permission to re-blog on John 20:21.
Imagine that this year you hear the Easter story and truly understand it for the first time…
Jesus willingly allowed men to kill him in an extremely brutal way. Why? Because he loved us. He did it because we deserve a brutal punishment for selfishly sinning against God, but He wanted to save us from such punishment. He did it because no-one else could have stood in the gap like that for us. He also knew that only He could conquer the power of death and when he rose from the dead, death was conquered – once for all.
Jesus’ death and resurrection was a ‘once for all’ event. Once only did he die; once, through which all men might receive salvation. After he rose, he asked the apostles to make disciples of all nations. He still asks that of us. Indeed, it is prophesied in the book of Revelation that there will be people from every nation, tribe and language worshipping the Lord in Heaven. That’s all nations, all tribes and all languages represented before the throne of God, adoring him with one unending song of worship.
Unfortunately, there is much confusion among people who still don’t have access to God’s Word in their language. A pastor of an Asian language group without God’s Word once asked “Is the resurrection for white people only?” Of course not! The resurrection is for all people. Wycliffe Bible Translators are working to ensure that all language communities receive this message in a language that they can understand and Ballyhenry is playing its part to support this goal. Through God’s power at work in us, people from all language communities will have the opportunity to respond to Jesus’ invitation to worship the Lamb in eternity.
There are 2,195 Bible translation projects currently underway around the world and it is thought that 1,860 are still in need of work to begin in their language! Wycliffe Bible Translators supports Bible translation in order that all people will be able to hear the Easter message of salvation in a language that they can understand.
I’d encourage you to check out a short video on YouTube by one of our partners, the Seed Company, entitled ‘The Gamo see Jesus’ to be refreshed by the reactions of a group of Gamo people of Ethiopia as they watch the Jesus film (based on Luke’s Gospel) dubbed in their language for the first time.
This Easter imagine that you are one of those people who will finally hear the Easter message and understand it for the first time.
Thank you, Marlene!