Subject: Why Easter’s Resurrection fulfills God’s Final Promise of Healing
2Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, pray, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
On Easter Sunday in Cleveland, 74-year old Robert Godwin was out for a walk after celebrating Easter with his family. A devout Christian family, they had all gone to church together and had just finished eating. As he was walking, a lone gunman pulled up to him in his car, walked up to him, and shot him dead at point-blank range. This murder grabbed media attention around the world because this “Facebook Killer” posted the murder on Facebook, for all to see as his last act of self-indulgence and narcissism.
But the most incredible part of this horrific event was the family’s response. In a CNN interview, daughter Tonya Godwin Baines told the reporter that “My father taught us about God – how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive. Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer. My dad would be really proud of us and he would want this from us. He would say, ‘Tonya, forgive him, for they know not what they do.’” Robert taught his children Luke 23:34, where Jesus Christ asks His Father to forgive those who crucified Him. What is the source of a strength so powerful that it can forgive such horrific evil done to you?
Back in January, as Dylann Roof was about to be sentenced for murdering nine black church members at a bible study in Charleston, SC, Felicia Sanders (the mother of one of the victims and a survivor of the attack) told Dylann that she forgives him. Later, outside the courtroom, an ABC news reporter interviewed Felicia Sanders and asked her “Where do all of you people draw your strength from? So many of you are so forgiving and kind. Where does that come from?” Her answer: “Having the Lord in your life.”
On the other side of the globe, ISIS bombed two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday, murdering over 43 men, women and children. Why? ISIS announced that Coptic Christians, the largest Christian population in the Middle East, are their arch enemy. Bishop Anba Angaelos explained on Skye News this past week that “we have never taken up arms or shown any signs of violence, yet ISIS wants us all dead.”
How did Bishop Angaelos respond? The same way he responded back on December 14, 2016, when an ISIS terrorist blew himself up inside a church in Cairo on Sunday morning, murdering 24 Christian women and children. And the same way he responded back on February 20, 2015 when ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christian men on a beach as they refused to denounce the name of Jesus Christ and convert to Islam.
Bishop Angaelos says he has forgiven ISIS. CNN writer Daniel Burke asked him how he could forgive ISIS for such continual efforts of genocide against his people: “Not long after the video (of the beheadings), you tweeted about the killings, using the hashtag #FatherForgive. Did you mean that you forgive ISIS? His answer: Yes. It may seem unbelievable to some of your readers, but as a Christian and a Christian minister I have a responsibility to myself and to others to guide them down this path of forgiveness. We don’t forgive the act because the act is heinous. But we do forgive the killers from the depths of our hearts.”
We have been systematically breaking down 2Chronicles 7:14 because it is the verse our President and Vice President shared at their inauguration for how to restore America. We looked at God’s four conditions on those who claim to follow Him. We then looked at His first two promises if they met those conditions: He would hear them and forgive their sin. Now we are looking at God’s last promise – He will heal their land.
There is a difference between Good Friday and Easter. On Good Friday we commemorate Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Easter isn’t a commemoration – it is a celebration. Good Friday is about death. Easter is about Resurrection – the historic event of Jesus being raised from the dead by God the Father. What is the purpose of Resurrection? To demonstrate to the world that Christ’s victory over death is available to heal all who would come to Him as their only source of salvation from their sin!
The healing that comes from the Resurrection is the new life – the new heart – that everyone receives who trusts in Jesus Christ. As Paul says in 2Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We who trust in Jesus Christ join with the Godwin family, the families of the Charleston church, and Bishop Angaelos in forgiving our enemies just as Christ forgave those who hated Him. We can do this because, as Felicia Sanders said, the strength to forgive is not natural but supernatural – it comes from the healing power of Jesus Christ living within us.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #239