RESURRECTION SUNDAY MESSAGE BY THE GENERAL OVERSEER – BISHOP EMMANUEL BOTWEY
Posted by: Rev Alex Sackey at 07:26, March 26 2016.
Today is Easter Sunday and as Christians we have gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. But even as we celebrate, our hearts are heavy with the realisation that much is wrong with our world.
Unrelenting hatred and fear seems to rule supreme in our hearts and lives due to injustices of our socio-political and economic systems. Also the fruits of terrorism emanating from religious extremism and intolerance are all evident.
However, the resurrection gives us hope for today, hope for tomorrow and hope for eternity. Hope that things can change. Hope that even if they don’t change, and the worst happens, and death comes, that is not the end. There is more life after that, a better life after that – life without sickness, or pain or tears.
This hope should affect how we live. We should live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, that is we live as His disciples. A disciple is a true follower of Jesus Christ. In other words, what we would call a Christian. In Acts 11:26 we are told the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. This makes it clear the terms are interchangeable. If you are a disciple then you are a Christian and if you are a Christian you should be a Disciple.
What then does being a disciple entail?
Jesus said in Luke 14:27 that “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” This could also be phrased as “Anybody who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be a Christian. To whom was Jesus speaking these words? He was speaking to the large crowd (great multitudes) who were following Him. – Luke 14:25. They considered themselves to be followers of Jesus but in reality they were only casual followers and not committed followers. They were like many today who do christian things like going to church, praying, singing christian songs, giving offerings and tithes, etc. but are not really committed to Jesus Christ. They were like many today who look to Jesus to solve their money problems, relationship problems, health problems etc. but who quickly grow disillusioned and unwilling to obey Jesus Christ completely when following Him doesn’t solve these problems, or following Jesus Christ requires real sacrifices in their lives.
To be disciples of Jesus Christ we must be committed to Him above everything else. In our hearts Jesus must come before our loved ones, self interest, possessions, careers, hobbies, goals in life, and even our very lives. Genuine disciples make sincere commitment in their hearts and will not continue to put other things before Jesus Christ.
Jesus is not speaking of our emotional feelings towards Him but rather He is speaking of our level of commitment. He is saying that our commitment of following Him must be greater than any other commitment in our lives. In other words Jesus Christ must be first in our priorities and loyalties.
Large crowds didn’t impress Jesus but what He wanted was totally committed people. Jesus doesn’t want crowds, He wants commitment! The condition of the church today indicates that we have many who are just part of the crowd and not true disciples.
I beseech all CFCI members to be true disciples who will bear the fruit of discipleship – the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of souls. Let us be disciples and make disciples to reflect our death with Christ on the Cross and our resurrection with Him and the new life we consequently have in Him.
I wish you all a fruitful Easter. God bless you.