Tag Archives: Easter

Message from Will Graham: An Easter Message

EASTER MESSAGE WILL GRAHAM(1)

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with HIs wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

While the New Testament details the crucifixion extensively, my own personal belief is that there is no greater text dealing with the suffering of Christ than Isaiah 53:5. As we near Easter — a time in which we remember and celebrate the finished work of Jesus on the cross — I’m once again reminded of this emotional, poignant passage. This single verse shows so much about our own human brokenness, and Christ’s incredible sacrifice.

When Christ suffered, it was not pointless suffering, but it was in order to meet four of man’s greatest needs.

Forgiveness: Isaiah says that, “He [the Messiah] was pierced for our transgressions.” The word for transgression is that of rebellion or revolting. In other words, we have rebelled against God and His commandments. We’ve sinned against Him, and we need forgiveness. God’s answer is that He sent His only Son Jesus to shed His blood for our sins in order to forgive us of our sin. (See Hebrews 9:22)

Substitution: Man is not only sinful but he is guilty and deserves punishment for breaking God’s commandments. When we break laws in society, punishment is given to us. For example, we receive a fine when we are caught speeding. However, when we break God’s law, the punishment is death. (See Romans 6:23) Therefore, man’s need is not necessarily to get out of punishment or a reduction in punishment, but man needs a substitute. Jesus was pierced, crushed, chastised and wounded — for OUR sins. And because Jesus loved us, he chose to take our place. He became our substitute.

Peace: Since we broke the covenant with God, our natural human status is to be in conflict with the Lord; the opposite of peace. Knowing this, and knowing that we could never afford to pay for such a peace, God gave His Son to take the wrath the God in order to appease His holy nature. Man was in debt to God and God paid His own bill. Jesus’ chastisement on the cross enables us to have peace with Him.

Healing: Due to our own actions, we allow sin to come into our bodies and start to bring about death. This is spiritual death, and because it is spiritual, we need a divine cure: Jesus. Christ’s death on the cross allows spiritual healing to come to our dying souls. By His wounds we are healed.

Our sinful human nature is not a surprise to God. Yet in His love for us, He provided a way for us to find forgiveness, substitution, peace and healing through Jesus.

Perhaps as you read this, you are beginning to realize that you’ve never found forgiveness, or healing, or peace. You’ve struggled to do the right thing, trying to earn your way to heaven, only to fall time after time.

If this sounds familiar, now would be the perfect time to find out the true meaning of Easter, and place your faith in the One whose death and resurrection we celebrate this season!

God bless you.  — Will Graham

 

Easter Message from Will Graham

By Will Graham, Cove Executive Director (and grandson of Billy Graham) 

Often as we think about the sacrifice of Jesus, we tend to focus on the unbearable physical pain He endured. We’re told that He was hit, flogged nearly to the point of death, and had a crown of thorns driven into His scalp. He was made to carry His own cross. Nails were punched through His hands and feet before He was hoisted into the air to suffocate in one of the most inhumane and cruel forms of capital punishment ever devised.

4-1-Glory-in-the-CrossMy friends, it’s hard to not focus on the pain He endured for us. But, as we look at this Easter, I want you to consider another way Jesus was made to suffer in the moments before His crucifixion. Consider the emotional pain Christ endured as those who were closest to Him turned their backs.

Jesus personally chose 12 disciples whom He poured himself into. These men were almost His earthly family, surrounding Him, learning from Him, and serving in His ministry. They were what we may refer to as Jesus’ “inner circle.”

Jesus loved them, and yet He knew – long before they did, in fact – that a couple of these men would publicly betray Him.

Judas, of course, is the one that comes instantly to mind. After all, it was his betrayal of Jesus that ultimately led to the crucifixion. We’re told in Luke 22 that “Satan entered into Judas…” (ESV).  John 13:2 says “the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (ESV). Judas went to the chief priests and officers, accepted a payment from them and then actively plotted how to betray Jesus into their hands when there wouldn’t be a crowd around Him.

Judas’ treachery was the ultimate betrayal, directly resulting in a sham trial and the agony of the cross. But I wonder if the second betrayal might not have hurt just as much as the first.

Along with James and John, Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends whom He chose to be a witness to key moments in Jesus’ earthly ministry. For instance, Peter was there for Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain and at Gethsemane on the eve of Christ’s sacrifice.

Peter’s denial of Jesus – which, according to Mark, Jesus foretold prior to leaving for Gethsemane – must have stung deeply. As Jesus was being beaten and ridiculed (Mark 14:65), Peter was busy distancing himself from Christ (Mark 14:66-72). Three times people approached Peter to ask him if he was associated with Jesus, and three times Peter denied Him, even going so far as to “…invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know this man of whom you speak.’” (Mark 14:71, ESV).

At a time when Jesus was being accused and beaten, His friends turned their backs on Him. What emotional pain this must have caused, even as Jesus knew it was coming and understood that it had to be!

Maybe you’re reading this, and it sounds a little too familiar. Maybe you have friends or family members who have turned their backs on you, or perhaps – like Judas – they were instrumental in causing the suffering you are now enduring. Maybe you’re struggling through pain and despair, and the people you thought you could depend on have disappeared. Maybe you’ve been hurt by others in the church. Bodily pain hurts physically, but emotional pain slices directly to your soul.

My friends, I’m here to tell you that people will let you down. People will turn their backs on you and cause you pain. But here’s the key – Jesus was forsaken, betrayed and crucified, but He conquered all of that! People are imperfect, but Christ is risen and will not let you down!

The Bible tells us not to put our faith into men or princes. Instead, this Easter place your eternity in the One Who endured scorn, pain, and – yes – betrayal from His friends, so that you may have a hope that extends far beyond the pitfalls and pains of this world.

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Click here to share the Gospel this Easter season using Billy Graham’s program, The Cross.

God’s Free Gift: An Easter Message from Will Graham

By Will Graham

jesus_resurrectionThe Easter Sunrise Service has always been one of my favorite services to preach. There’s something so special and unique about gathering to worship the risen Savior on Easter morning. It’s a time when we can focus most on the sacrifice and glorious resurrection of Jesus, which gives us hope and removes the sting of death. I love it!

I remember several years ago when I was in college and dating the beautiful woman who would one day be my bride, Kendra. I took her with me to visit my grandfather, Billy Graham, for Easter in Montreat, N.C.

On our way back to Liberty University that afternoon, we drove up to Boone, N.C., to see my parents. We pulled into a little gas station on the south side of U.S. Route 70 to fuel up and be on our way. I vividly remember standing in line while the people in front of me made friendly conversation with the clerk behind the counter.

“Nothing’s free anymore!” the man chuckled as he handed over the money to pay for his gasoline purchase.

At that moment God told me to speak. My heart cried out to share the Gospel with these people: “Yes, God’s gift of Salvation is free! That’s what Easter is all about! God paid the debt for you through His Son, Jesus!”

My friends, that’s what I should have said.

Sadly, I kept that proclamation to myself. I regret it to this day. God gave me the words to say and wanted me to share His hope on that glorious Easter day with people who likely needed to hear it, but I disobeyed him and kept it silently in my heart. Frankly, I chickened out.

I made a covenant with God that day that if I ever felt Him speaking through me again, I would share it boldly and not hold back. Who knows? Sharing the words He gives us may be the difference between someone spending an eternity in Heaven or in Hell; the difference between a life of hope and a life of discouragement and despair.

As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection this year, I encourage you to listen to God as He speaks to you, and be His mouthpiece as He speaks through you. Easter is what it’s all about, and we need to take every opportunity available to us to share His saving message!

 Has God laid on your heart the names of friends and loved ones who need to know Him?  Visit www.MyHopeWithBillyGraham.org to learn how you and your church can be a part of a major nationwide proclamation of the Gospel culminating this November. Join the movement today!