Author Greg Scharf shares the following true story and beautiful insight.
In the spring of 1991, even before the brief coup in August, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev found his authority and leadership tested on all sides. From Baltic states declaring their independence, to conservatives clamoring for a return to old-line communism, to progressives pushing for more economic reforms, the Soviet Union was a nation on the brink.
Things were coming to a head when demonstrators planned a massive march on Thursday, March 28, in Moscow itself to show their opposition to government policy, hoping that 500,000 people would participate. The Kremlin banned demonstrations, issued dire warnings against protesters, and promised a massive show of force if the ban was defied. On everyone’s mind was the peaceful January demonstration in Lithuania that was crushed by Soviet tanks and troops, in the process killing fourteen people.
On the day of the march, 50,000 troops and police crowded Moscow; 100,000 people ignored the ban and marched. Fortunately there were no clashes but commenting on short-wave radio, a BBC correspondent described Gorbachev’s show of force as “a display of strength that showed considerable weakness.”
The following day Christians worldwide celebrated Good Friday, the day when Christ voluntarily went to the cross and allowed His creation to torture and kill Him. It was a display of weakness that showed considerable strength.
In the Father’s glorious plan of redemption, Jesus made Himself nothing. He humbled Himself to become a man – taking the very nature of a servant – even unto death (Philippians 2:5-8). Broken, bruised and dying on the cross, Jesus was the picture of Failure, utter and absolute Defeat. It looked like Satan had won, that All was lost!
But the Father is always in the work of Redemption, transforming broken, sin-ruined lives into His sons and daughters, turning defeat into Victory! What Satan thought would be his greatest victory turned out to be his great defeat. Jesus rose Triumphantly from the dead; He defeated death, hell and the grave. And He promised you and me, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19).
In 1739 Charles Wesley penned the words to this triumphant hymn. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing ye heavens and earth reply, Alleluia! (2) Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where O death is now thy sting? Alleluia! Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia! Where thy victory O grave? Alleluia! (3) Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
This Sunday, April 4, is Resurrection Day and we will sing praises to our risen Lord and Savior! As the angels declared, “He is not here (in the tomb); for he is risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6). Please invite someone to share this thrilling celebration with you. We will also be sharing in Holy Communion.
If you are not able to join us in person in the building at 10:35am for worship, please join us online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG). It will be uploaded later that day to our website (honoluluag.org) and YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God).
The following Sunday, April 11, we will celebrate Friend Day. Invite your friends to enjoy the 10:35am worship service with you and stay for a potluck Fellowship Lunch that will take place right after the service. Bring your favorite foods to add to the table. It is going to be a wonderful time together so please do not miss it.
Exciting news! I want to welcome Pastor Mabel Chang as the newest Board member here at Honolulu AG. I am so thankful for her faithfulness to serve the Lord and His church. She is a leader, an inspiration to many of us!
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!