Recent events in our world keep leaving us in profound states of anxiety—ranging from terrorist attacks in Belgium and France to political fiasco in the United States. Terrorism all over the world dominates the headlines in ways unprecedented since the twin bombing of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Al Qaeda seems to be trading places with Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabaab in East Africa. Who can forget the slaughter witnessed at Garissa University and at the Westgate Mall? Who can forget the two hundred schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorists in Nigeria?
Moreover, in the Middle East, ISIS continues to dominate the headline news almost every week as it plots new attacks in different countries and beheads, bombs and butchers all individuals failing to embrace their propaganda. As countries all over the world continue to wonder how to contain these individuals, the political scene in the United States never fails to amuse, nay, appall its beholders. The corruption in Kenya, of course, is not any better.
Without trying to take any political sides in what seems to be the epitome of confusion among the politicians, the spiritually sensitive Kenyan in the United States must never lose sight of the fact that we live in a broken world—a world afflicted by sin. In this day and age, especially in the United States, the use of the word sin is becoming increasingly unacceptable—bordering on political incorrectness. The use of that word sounds rather preachy, and certainly offensive to the secular mind. The temptation we face, then, is to begin to sugarcoat the expression, substituting it with more frivolous and less serious terms.
We may baptize the word and substitute it with different names, but the reality of its nature keeps biting into the very core of our being. Its reality cannot be erased by any physical means—certainly not with our conventional means of cleansing. Thankfully, Christ’s death on the cross has done the trick. His death saves the sinner; it sanctifies the saint; it purifies the pious; it lifts the lowly. What he redeems, no one can condemn. What he condemns, no one can redeem. What he delivers, no one can destroy. What he destroys, no one can deliver. That’s the power of the Easter message. It is a message that promises victory to those vanquished by sin. It is an event that guarantees heaven for the holy ones of God.
When Christians all over the world congregate in houses of worship this Good Friday and Easter Sunday, they will be expressing their trust in the one who saved them from the penalty of sin when they realized they could not save themselves. They will be expressing their commitment to the one who continues to save them from the power of sin when they realize that only through the power of the Holy Spirit will the requisite sanctification be achieved. They will also be expressing their hope in the one who will save them from the presence of sin when he transforms their lowly bodies to become like his glorious body some day in the future.
All these realities—justification, sanctification and glorification—were made possible when the nails were driven into Christ’s hands as he hung on that tree. Our hope in Kenya Christian Fellowship in America is that you would know him in a personal way this Easter, that is, if you do not know him already; for only Christ can bring hope to a broken world by changing the lives of broken individuals.
Dr. Joseph Okello