(Jesus Christ is popularized around the world, like this picture on the side of a jeepney in the Philippines).
As we approach Easter, here is a wonderful meditation from Rex Lee Carlaw, who has served as ACTION USA’s Director for the last 22 years and retired from this role on March 31, 2018.
The concept of the resurrection, though difficult to grasp for many, is taught by the Scriptures from beginning to end. In what many consider to be the oldest of all books, Job gave his shining testimony in 19:25-27 (NIV): “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” That that understanding was never lost across the millennia is illustrated by Martha’s statement to Jesus at the time of her brother Lazarus’s death, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24, NIV). Yet even with this background, the disciples still struggled with Jesus’ clear teachings for Himself and for mankind: “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’ The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about” (Luke 18:31-34, NIV). For the disciples, these doubts were cleared up one by one with the most dramatic example being Thomas. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:26-29, NIV).
Our Easter celebration underscores the crucial nature of the resurrection and is observed by believers everywhere. Our own missionary society is rooted in the Easter message. It changes doubting disciples into triumphant Thomases. We should never tire of teaching the resurrection and celebrating its transforming power. This is our mission, and the eternal blessings of the Gospel depend on its core teaching of the resurrection of Christ and of every person in the end times. Revelation 20:11-15 says, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” (NIV).
Let us not weary in the proclamation of the Gospel!
Yours in Christ,
Rex Lee Carlaw, USA Director