(April 2, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, brings an Easter reminder that God so loved the world…
Admittedly the world is going through trying times such as never encountered before! But we Christians know that our God is real, loving and caring for those who know and love him. And… that Jesus is still the final and absolute answer to the greatest need off all – the way back to God and full salvation!
As I reflected this year on Easter as a special time on the Christian calendar, I thought immediately that the message of all true missionaries is Jesus. He is the reason that we celebrate Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest evidence of the love of God for humanity that could ever be.
I first heard this message in a little Salvation Army meeting in July 1949. That was the day I knelt at the penitent form in that simple chapel and surrendered my life to God. That was the day I called on the name of Jesus and was saved.
That is now seventy years ago and the joy, the peace I found that day is richer and deeper than ever!
- The celebration every Easter by followers of Jesus centres on him.
- And why? God’s gift to the world was his only Son!
- This is the good news that has been declared not only at Easter, but all year every year, for centuries.
- This is the event that changed the world, bringing fallen, sinful humankind a hope that shines brighter every year!
Missionaries in their tens of thousands have declared this message of redemption for humankind ever since That Jesus died to atone for the sin of the world, rose from the dead to complete the way of salvation, and then returned to heaven. A message that assures us that he is coming back again to gather to himself for eternity all who have called on his name.
The best-known text in the Bible is surely John 3:16 which declares in the words of Jesus that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life!’
This scripture is so dear to missionaries’ hearts – as is the very name of Jesus, that all-powerful name!
I love the story of missionary Edward P. Scott who went to India in the 1800s. He set out to visit a remote mountain tribe which had never heard the name of Jesus.
As he neared their land, he was suddenly surrounded by a savage band of warriors, all pointing their spears straight at his heart.
Expecting a quick death, the missionary pulled out his violin and began playing and singing in their native language the hymn All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.
As he reached the stanza that reads:
‘Let every kindred, every tribe,
On this terrestrial ball,
To him all majesty ascribe,
And crown him Lord of all!’
– the natives lowered their weapons, and some were in tears. Reverend Scott spent the rest of his life ministering to these primitive people.
The scripture account of what is called ‘Good Friday’ includes the words of Jesus just before he died – ‘When he had received the drink, he said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit’ (John 19:30).
It did not mean, ‘he was finished,’ but that what he came to accomplish was finished! The word ‘finished’ is teleo: a better translation is ‘fulfilled.’ Indeed the Message Bible says simply, ‘It’s done . . . complete.’
And what was fulfilled? It was much more than many realise – or celebrate – at Easter! Yes, the work and ministry of Jesus was finished on earth with his death and resurrection. He finished all that the Father sent him to accomplish. The more accurate word ‘fulfilled’ embraces why he came to earth. He came to provide…
- Salvation by his death and resurrection
- Forgiveness and a new life
- Peace with God
- Eternal life
- Entry into the kingdom of God
- Divine fellowship
- Great joy
- A place in heaven forever
- A position of service in his kingdom forever
- And – so much more!
Too many believers simply observe the obvious aspects, without learning and committing themselves to the discovery of the power of Easter in their daily lives. Easter has purpose and meaning that we must find!
The final words of Jesus before he rose from earth to return to the right hand of God have driven my life for the greater part of my time on earth. I have delighted to write of the commission, the missionaries’ message that Jesus gave to his disciples in the light of his death and resurrection.
Remember, he said, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world’ (Matthew 28:18-20).
May the meaning and the power of all that Jesus did on that first Easter and his commission move you to fulfil the will of God for your life as a witness to all nations.
- If God does not call you to go, then help send a substitute by your support in prayer… as well as needed finance.
- More than ever the world needs to hear the missionaries’ message!
- May we all take opportunities in these trying, uncertain times and play our part in helping to turn troubled people back to God!
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ (Editorial note: Do keep praying for Dr Forbes in his recuperation from medical treatment).