3 April 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 31st of March, Glad Tidings’ full-house Easter Service began with a mournful stage dance performance depicting the sadness of Jesus crucifixion, followed by a flamboyant dance depicting the joy and hope of His resurrection.
“On Friday, Jesus had to go through the crucifixion alone and lay down His life by His own will,” said Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Vincent Leoh, continuing in the lines of Good Friday’s celebration in Glad Tidings on 29th of March. “But on Sunday, when nobody else was near the tomb, three women – Mary of Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome – did not give up… It was one last beautiful act to give Jesus a proper burial.”
But when the stone was rolled away, they found that Jesus’ body was gone!
“The body of Jesus cannot be contained in the tomb and it cannot be limited by space,” said Pastor Vincent. “The resurrection of Jesus spells the defeat of the devil.”
The resurrection also shows God’s declaration that He is alive; He is here to redeem and empower His people. Resurrection is a celebration of life.
Pastor Vincent said that Jesus never showed disregard for Peter, even though Peter betrayed Him. It is proven in Mark 16:7 that Mary was told to tell the disciples and Peter, “Go tell Peter! Tell Peter that I love him! Tell Peter that I forgave him although he is fallen and finds himself unforgivable.”
Indeed, Peter was still struggling with his denial of Christ even after the resurrection.
“When the going gets tough, the tough goes fishing. Having lost his position as a disciple of Christ then, Peter returned to fishing, to his old way of life as a fisherman,” said Pastor Vincent.
Later on, as Peter was fishing, a voice was heard, “Friends, haven’t you any fish? Throw your net on the other side and you will find some” (John 21:5). And when Peter found out that it was Jesus calling out from the shore, he jumped into the water to get to Jesus.
“When you have sinned against a person, you will run away. But here is Peter running to Jesus, hanging to God for love,” Pastor Vincent elaborated.
Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times but his humility, devotion, shattered self-assurance and experience of the Lord’s forgiveness, kept bringing him back, not by his own doing, but through the love of Jesus Christ, his Master and Savior. God knows that we all need forgiveness; but forgiveness alone is insufficient. Jesus needed to reinstate Peter to his position so that he can be wholly restored.
To emphasize his point further, Pastor Vincent gave an example of how Senior Vice President of IBM headed a project which caused the company a loss of US$10 million. Handing in his resignation letter, he told Thomas Watson, CEO and Chairman of IBM then that he was a big failure for causing such huge loss to the company. But Watson did not want to let his best man away. He said to his vice president, “I cannot let you resign after I have invested ten million dollars on your education.”
Like Peter, we need to receive Jesus’ forgiveness as well, before we can be restored into a position that freely receives and accepts God’s love, without pushing Him away. Peter later went on to teach, and preached the first Pentecost message in Jerusalem, and eventually led 3,000 to Christ.
“All of us need a second chance in life. God is saying My resurrection is your second chance. No matter what you have done, the ashes of your past have become the glory for the Lord,” said Pastor Vincent.
Everyone rose to their feet as Pastor Vincent closed the service in prayer.
May we remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ not only on Easter Day, but every day of our lives.
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Reference of pictures: Pictures of performances and ensemble were provided by the courtesy of Glad Tidings.