Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. (John 14:12)
Our savior, Jesus Christ was crucified, and died. It was the most horrible day to Jesus Christ. He took sins of the world, and Jesus experienced the crushing weight of all our sins of past, present and future sins. The weight was so heavy even to Him. Indeed, He took the curse of the sins as a perfect man. Jesus always referred Himself as Son of Man, which signifies this moment of being crucified on the cross as a perfect sacrifice as a perfect man who has no sin at all. He confronted His horrible death, and His pain was indescribable. However, the real pain of Jesus Christ was not the excruciating physical pain of bleeding to death by being nailed on cross, but His dreadful experience of the total and complete separation from the Father God as He paid all wages of our sins. At the moment, even the sky became dark. The earth quaked. It lasted three hours, and tortured Him to the extreme where no human beings had ever gone before till His last breath on cross. For Him, it was agonizing three hours, but for us, the wage of all sins, that is the eternal death, were paid once for all. Yes, our Lord paid all, although He had no sin at all, but He died on cross as a perfect sacrificial lamb. As a result, all of our sins are forgiven. Yes, we are forgiven! Through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on cross.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
However, it was not the end of the God’s salvation plan, but the most glorious blessing was waiting after Jesus’ death, which was the resurrection of the Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. He spent three days in His tomb. Then Jesus Christ conquered the death by rising up to life on the third day – the Easter Sunday. This is the reason why all believers in the world celebrate every year Easter Sunday, and proclaiming His resurrection while joyfully telling, proclaiming and singing, “Christ has risen. Yes, Christ is risen, indeed.”
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)
It is also true that it was not easy to believe Jesus Christ, Our Savior’s death and resurrection, because such an extra-ordinary event had never been happened in the human history. First, Jesus Christ was whipped, tortured, crucified, and He bled to death. Then, He was buried for three days. It must have had been the end of the story. However, on the third day early morning, Jesus lived again. Did the people in 2000 years ago believe this story? No. Nobody believed. Even Jesus’ disciples did not believe when they were told the Jesus was resurrected by a couple of women who went to the Jesus’ tomb on the early Easter Sunday morning. A couple of the disciples ran to the tomb to see, but what they found was the empty tomb. They could not see Jesus. They came back in confusion. They could not associate what was told by Jesus about His death and resurrection with the empty tomb where they just eye witnessed.
Although they saw the empty tomb, their hearts returned to their primary concern, not being arrested and crucified like Jesus. They continued hiding together from the public. It was a real pity that the three years’ teaching of Jesus, Jesus’ miracles, and Jesus’ prediction about His death and resurrection didn’t do anything on them. They were in fear because they saw Jesus who powerlessly arrested, crucified, and buried. To the disciples, it was the end. No hope. In fact, they expected that they would see a restoration of the Jewish kingdom by Jesus, who would expel the Romans and saved the Jewish nation from the Roman occupation. In their hearts, Messiah was the person who liberated the Jewish kingdom on earth. After all, what actually did happen? Jesus, whom they though as the liberating Messiah, was powerlessly arrested and killed by the Romans. They lost the entire hope in Jesus after His death.
Jesus Christ told before multiple times that He would die and live again. He even mentioned that His death would initially put His disciples into sorrow, but they would be in joy when they saw Jesus again. None of them could not remember what was told by Jesus at that time. Thus, they could not comprehend the news about Jesus’ resurrection. Their inability to believe Jesus’ resurrection continued till Jesus, who rose from the dead, appeared to the disciples.
Jesus also appeared to two men going down to Emmaus, who were greatly depressed by the death of Jesus, whom they thought the best prophet and teacher. They were in sorrow, and disappointment. They also heard a strange rumor of Jesus’ resurrection. It did not make sense at all, and added confusion in their hearts. Although Jesus joined their journey, they could not realize the man walking together was Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Only after Jesus Christ opened their eyes, they realized the man was Jesus Christ. Their hearts were burning with Jesus’ mercy and love. They were hurriedly back to Jerusalem, and joined the disciples. All together rejoiced because of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
However, their excitement did not stay long with them. As their excitement was cooling off, they started talking about going back to what they used to do. Then Peter and disciples departed Jerusalem and went to the Sea of Galilee. They returned to fishermen again. Without Jesus, they were like sheep without shepherd. They could not see Jesus anymore. The disciples were not much different from babies who do not what to do except crying for their mom. They searched for Jesus, but they could not find Jesus. Then they returned to their old lives.
Especially, Peter had a deep remorse about what he had done to Jesus — denying three times Jesus Christ, His own beloved teacher and master. Peter sought out his own safety first. Peter denied and even cursed at Jesus when he was questioned by a servant girl whether Peter was with Jesus or not. How coward Peter was! He was the one who always claimed to be the first among Jesus’ disciples. When the time actually came Peter was coward and vehemently defended himself. Peter promised not to forsake Jesus even to death. It was less than 24 hours ago. Jesus actually warned Peter by telling what would happen to Peter. Jesus, then, asked Peter to be alert before falling into the temptation. However, Peter failed. Even Jesus was painfully watching on Peter who was failing by denying Jesus three times. Peter also saw the eyes of Jesus Christ directly watching on Peter. Even so, he could not realize what he was doing. Only after hearing the rooster crowing, Peter came back to himself. Peter realized what he did. He ran out, and wept bitterly, but Peter could not erase his sin against Jesus by himself. It was the heaviest burden on him. Indeed, the weight of his sin was so heavy that he could not carry anymore. Peter left the mission of Jesus – becoming Fishers of Man. Peter precisely knew he was not worthy of the name.
However, Jesus’ love toward Peter remained unchanged. Jesus came to Peter, who fled from Jerusalem and returned to fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Jesus personally came to Peter because He knew exactly Peter’s pain in his heart. Then Jesus took away the Peter’s sin in his heart one by one. He denied three times, and Jesus confirmed His love three times. This was how Jesus forgave Peter’s sin and restored Peter. Jesus is our true shepherd who searches for one lost sheep, and then forgives and restores the lost one with His unfathomable love. Peter was forgiven and restored, not because of Peter was faithful, but because of Jesus’ unfailing love. Does anyone of us have a painful past of sinning against God or fellow human beings? Look up Jesus on the cross, and ask His forgiveness. Surely, He will always forgive and restore us when we ask His mercy and forgiveness.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22)
Jesus stayed on earth for forty days after His resurrection. He appeared to the apostles from time to time, and Jesus proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive. And He talked to them about the Kingdom of God and gave the ultimate mission on earth:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Jesus also commanded His disciples,
“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
The disciples also asked Jesus, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
“The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11)
Departing the scene, the disciples’ hearts were filled with joy and expectation of receiving the Holy Spirit. As commanded, they did not leave Jerusalem, prayed together while waiting for the Holy Spirit.
On the day of Pentecost, 50 days later Jesus’ crucifixion, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
As Jesus promised, the disciples received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit completely transformed them. Before this moment, they were in fear of being arrested and killed because the religious leaders and the Romains were still searching for them. When the Holy Spirit came to them, they were changed. They were no longer fear of getting arrested and even getting killed. They saw Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension, and they believed Jesus’ promise, which was given as Jesus was ascending into Heaven:
1. You will receive the Holy Spirit
2. I will give the authority to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and
3. Jesus’ return as He was ascending to Heaven.
As promised, they actually received the Holy Spirit. As being full with the Holy Spirit, they became new men who did not fear the world any more.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, they even spoke tongues. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise of descending the Holy Spirit, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the disciples.
They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.
Even others in the crowd could not believe what was happening, and ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” Yes, when the Holy Spirit comes up on us, we become a new creation in Him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Yes, when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are no longer the same old self. We become a new creation by being sons and daughters of God. God becomes our Eternal and Ever-Loving Father. This is, in fact, the biggest and most precious gift of God. Additionally, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As we have many body parts: eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and hands, and each part performs a different function, the gift of the Holy Spirit is different and unique to each person. As the whole-body parts work together and build up one body, all of us together build up one Body, the Body of Jesus Christ. The Head is Jesus Christ, and we build together to form His body. As our whole body cannot be eyes, the Holy Spirit provides a unique gift to each of us so that we together build up His body. That is, each of us together perform His mission on earth – expanding His Kingdom. Yes, each of us is equally and uniquely precious in the eyes of Jesus Christ. Each of us is so precious to His eyes. We are daughter or son chosen to do good in Him and glorify Him.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16)
Then what God want from us? God wants unity among believers in God’s love. Specifically, love God and love neighbor as Jesus loved to the end even on cross. Then bear the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is what we should do on earth — bearing the fruit of the Sprit. Indeed, this is our way to praise God and His Son Jesus Christ, who died for all our sins on cross.
What should we do daily? Open widely our hearts to God, and be renewed daily by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Give thanks to God every moment, and praise God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit without ceasing. Then we surely experience the power of the fruit of the Spirit oozing out of our heart, and the power is so strong that nothing in this world can against us. This is our faith, and hope with each of you in Christ Jesus.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23)
We’d like to share about how to wisely manage the current worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. First, except our own family living together, consider all others as a potential source of transmitting the Coronavirus because people who are asymptomatic (no symptom of Coronavirus at all) can carry and transmit the virus. Thus, please avoid a physical contact with others, and maintain distance about two meters (or six feet). This social distancing saves lives. Please wash hands with soap about 20 seconds to wash out the Coronavirus that might be on our hands. Our hand skin is pretty thick and it protects well against the Coronavirus, but our hands frequently touch our mouth, then the Coronavirus on our hands will go into our body. We should prevent this type of infection by our own hands.
Most of all, this is the time to have a quality time with one’s own family and with God, Our Ever-Loving Father with prayers, and reading and medicating Bible every day. Please fix eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and follow the foot step of Jesus Christ with our own families in this difficult time. When this Coronavirus pandemic is over, doing so, we will all find that we are one step closer to each other in our own family members in Christ and have a deeper relationship with God.
May God’s grace, protection, healing on all and especially for those who are physically suffering from the Coronavirus and those who are mourning for the loss of the loved ones due to the Coronavirus.