The Passover is just a few weeks away, the day when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The sinless son of God was put to death. Even Pilate, the Roman governor, publically declared, “I find no basis for a charge against him” (John 18:38).
As Billy Graham writes in his column (© 2012 Tribune Media Services 4/6):
“But what appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph — because by his death on the cross Jesus Christ purchased our salvation. We are separated from God because of our sin, and because we are sinners we have no hope of eternal life. God is pure and holy, and even one sin — just one — would be enough to keep us out of heaven. But by his death on the cross, Jesus Christ became the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins — and because of that, heaven’s door is now open to all who put their faith and trust in him.
And that’s why we can call the day on which Jesus died “Good Friday.” In fact, it was the greatest Friday in the history of the human race, because on that day Jesus Christ won our salvation. At one time, the Bible says, we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But now we have hope, because Christ died for us.”
Passover is a wonderful time to receive Jesus into your life: “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
It happened to me on Good Friday when I was 17. I had backslidden for about a year, and that particular Easter, I was home alone on Good Friday. I watched a Billy Graham meeting on TV, and as he gave the invitation, I gave my life afresh to Jesus Christ.
I have never turned back. I have never regretted.
I have also learned to follow in His footsteps, a life of tremendous joy – with suffering and sacrifice. It should´t be surprising, because the Bible gives many admonitions to follow in His footsteps. The neo-hedonistic charismatic heresy of selfish success and comfort, is a crime against the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“To this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1Peter 2:21)
In 2011, Aina & I met my old friend, Marianna Klar, in Chiengmai Thailand. I remember her well from my childhood days as a missionary kid. Marianna (and her brother Pekka) are the children of Finnish missionary pioneers, Werner & Ulla Raassina. (Werner is now with the Lord.) Marianna and her husband serve as missionaries in Thailand to this day. She displayed such a gratitude to the Lord, a beautiful spirit. A spirit that can only come through the life of communion, faith, and joyful suffering with Christ.
I recall the story of how her dad Werner came to Thailand as missionary in 1946 with his first wife.
They were the first Pentecostal missionaries among the Thai people in Thailand, and their aim was to go to Burma (Myanmar). However, the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to do so. The Raassina´s ended up staying in Thailand. In the early days of their ministry, he went to a certain village. There an old man appeared and received him with great honor saying: “Now you have come.” The old man said that 30 years ago somebody had gone through the village and left some scriptures behind. The villagers couldn’t understand them, but this man understood that it had something to do with God. He started praying that somebody would come and interprete the text. Thirty years went by. In that same year, Werner Raassina turned 30 years. God provided the answer to this old man’s prayer from far north. As a result, a revival started in the village followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Believers in that village became the first to be baptized by the Holy Spirit in Thailand. (Cfr. Arto Hämäläinen: “How to start missionary work in new sending countries”, pages 31-32).
There were great miracles and breakthroughs, and also serious persecution.
They were stationed in the city of Pitsanulok, and Mrs. Raassina (the first) became seriously ill, and died. In the midst of revival service for Jesus.
Even on the tombstone of Mrs.Raassina are bullets from aggressive villagers who hated the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is good to remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He beckons us to follow in His footsteps.
Like the Raassina´s. Like Marianna Klar.
Aina & I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.