April 10, 2020
Through The Eyes of the Resurrection
Rev. Dr. Mark Raeburn Johnston
The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln occurred on a Good Friday, and on the following Sunday, now known as “Black Easter” in American history, pulpits throughout the land pointed to the awful coincidence between the President’s assassination and the crucifixion of the Lord.
Revered as the ‘savior of the republic,’ Lincoln was a man whose journey of faith was slow to mature.
Like many of us, Lincoln came to faith by wrestling with hardships and disappointment. But he discovered that God could use anyone, even a person such as himself, who had often failed in the affairs of life.
The evening he was shot, a worn-out, carefully folded newspaper clipping was found in his coat pocket. Written about the President, the article begins with these words,
“Abe Lincoln is one of the greatest statesmen of all time…”
He carried that bit of affirmation as a reminder that God had used him to serve his nation. Lincoln humbly acknowledged that he was an instrument of Providence.
“In the present civil war,” he wrote in 1862, “it’s quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either side—and yet the human instruments, working just as they do…best effect His purpose.”
Life has eternal significance when placed into the hands of God!
This is one of the great truths of the Christian Church!
The day following the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Simon Peter heard the question, “Peter, do you love me?”
Asked the same question three times, Simon answered, “Yes Lord, I love you!”
Jesus responded, “Then feed my sheep!”
Peter’s failures were turned inside-out through the word of the Lord!
The echo of the Savior’s command to feed the flock of God can be heard in Peter’s first letter. These instructions apply to all Christians;
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly…” (1 Peter 5:2)
Simon Peter tucked those words away in his heart, as an affirmation of God’s forgiveness, grace and purpose. And Simon Peter is still impacting the world for God!
God sees us through the eyes of the Resurrection!
The wounds of Christ become our means for peace and purpose. The civil war between God and humanity is ended through the work of the Cross.
This Good Friday, let’s remind ourselves that no matter what our past has been, our present life can be eternally significant when we place our trust in God! In so doing, we can each make a difference in our world today!!