BEING A TEXT OF AN EASTER MESSAGE TO ALL ECWA FAMILY BY ECWA PRESIDENT, REV. STEPHEN BABA PANYA
On behalf of the ECWA Executive and the ECWA Family worldwide, I bring you Easter greetings in the precious name of our soon coming King, our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
The Reason and Purpose of Easter Celebration
Easter period is a time of reflecting on the great sacrifice made by our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ to come to this sin ridden fallen world, die on the Cross of Calvary by the hands of very wicked men, and be buried.
Jesus, born of the virgin Mary, was the only human being that ever lived without sinning. Yet, He was unjustly arrested and crucified on the cross of Calvary, shedding his precious, perfect, sinless blood. By this, He served as God’s perfect sacrificial lamb, paying once and for all for the sins of the whole world. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But praise God, Christ Jesus came to die instead of us, in order to pay the price for our sins and save us from what the Bible calls second death, which is eternal separation from God into the lake of fire, when we die physically here on earth (Revelation 20:11-15). Prophesying about Christ’s death for the sins of the world, long before Jesus was born in this world, the Prophet Isaiah said, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6). Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Therefore, anyone who would accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord would have all his or her sins forgiven, and have Jesus live in him in Person of the Holy Spirit, thus receiving eternal life as a free gift from God (Romans 6:23b). This means that even if such person dies physically, the Holy Spirit would take the saved soul of the person to heaven, the glorious abode of God, His holy Angels and all Believers in Christ Jesus who have preceded us.
Salvation and eternal life through Christ Jesus is possible because the Easter story did not end with the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus, NO! Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and is alive and reigns for ever more in power and glory in heaven and in the hearts of all those who have believed in Him and accepted Him as Saviour and Lord. Hallelujah! That is why for Believers in Christ Jesus, Easter now is a time of thanksgiving to God, for loving us so much as to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to come and die on the Cross of Calvary for our sins (John 3:16). Easter is also a time of celebration of the victory Christ won for us over sin, death and Satan. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, 1 John 4:4-5 says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Yes, Jesus, who is in every Believer in Person of His Holy Spirit, is far greater than satan who is in this world causing all kinds of chaos.
Easter 2020 Celebration Amid COVID-19
Covit-19 pandemic, sicknesses, diseases and plagues are all symptoms, consequences or fall outs of our fallen nature as we live in this fallen world. Coronavirus (Covid-19) is one of such numerous global challenges that the entire world is trying to deal with. Even as we obey governing authorities and adhere to the various physical measures put in place to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, especially social distancing, as Believers in Christ Jesus, we must not despair, because Jesus is our healer. Speaking of Christ Jesus our Lord when he was physically on this earth, Matthew 8:16-17 says, “ When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” Matthew saw Christ’s ministry on earth as fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4 prophecy, which was fully and finally accomplished on the cross on His death on that first Easter day. But in anticipation of that event, Jesus performed many definite acts of healing in His ministry even before His death on the Cross of Calvary. Therefore, rather than despair, we should humbly ask God for healing for ourselves and all those afflicted by sicknesses and diseases, including Covid-19, in the name of Jesus. Jesus is the answer not just for Corona virus, but the entire problems of the world today!
We must therefore reach out to all and sundry and encourage them to humble themselves and seek the Lord Jesus while He can still be found, for the salvation of their souls first, but also for healing. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
While there is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is a sign of the beginning of the end times and the very terrible times of great tribulation ahead, the good news of great joy is that the tribulation period will be preceded by a time of great revival and harvest of souls. This great revival will result in the gospel of the Kingdom being preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, before the end will come, in fulfillment of the prophecy of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:14. We are at the verge of the breaking forth of that great revival. And in the words of the popular hymn, may the Lord Saviour not pass anyone of us by in Jesus name! However, if the Lord is not to pass you by, then be determined more than ever before, and ask God for the grace from this Easter and forward, to live in obedience to our Savior and Lord’s command to watch and pray! (Luke 21:36)
God be with us and as Jesus said in Luke 19:13, occupy till I come! Stay safe under God’s protection and Happy Easter to you all. Maranatha!!!
Rev. Stephen Baba Panya