by David Rowsome, Prayer Coordinator, The Canberra Declaration
In facing the ‘life and death’ issues of our day we must not forget to share about Jesus who came to earth that we might have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16NIV)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
In contending for a culture of life in Australia, we are engaged in an intense spiritual battle. We therefore need the power of God to courageously pray, speak out and take action for the ‘life and death’ issues of our day. Some of these include –
- saving innocent unborn babies from abortion
- reaching out to the lonely and depressed who are prone to suicide
- rescuing families caught in sexual abuse and domestic violence
- rehabilitating those damaged by drug and alcohol addictions
- protecting vulnerable elderly and disabled persons from euthanasia
In giving ourselves to such causes we are showing the same compassion that Jesus had for the many that He ministered to during His earthly ministry.
But we must not stop there! Jesus said that He came that we might “have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). What does this really mean? Is Jesus mainly concerned about the quality of our earthly lives?
To answer these questions, we can look at how Jesus used His divine power to raise people from the dead. The Gospels record three such miracles – the twelve-year-old daughter of a synagogue ruler named Jairus (Mark 5:22, 35-43); the only son of a widow who lived in Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and a close friend of Jesus named Lazarus (John 11:1-44).
Through these three miracles Jesus proved Himself stronger than death. And while it is clear from the three accounts that Jesus was deeply moved with compassion, what was His ultimate purpose? The little girl, the young man and Lazarus were indeed raised to life but would have eventually died a normal human death.
When John the Baptist was in prison and beginning to doubt, he asked Jesus if He really was the Messiah. Jesus sent an answer that pointed John to His healing and life-restoring miracles (Matthew 11:4-6). These were the evidence or ‘signs’ of what the earlier prophets predicted of the Messiah and His ministry. But more specifically, the sign Jesus gave that “the dead are raised” (Matthew 11:5) pointed forward to His own death and resurrection.
We see this especially in His raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus was comforting Mary and Martha over the loss of their brother, Lazarus, He said “your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). But He then made this even more remarkable statement, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25). These wonderful assurances moved Martha to declare “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God” (John 11:27).
But Jesus was not only “deeply moved” by the weeping of the two sisters and the other mourners, He was also “troubled” (John 11:33). Some commentators believe this points to an anger, even a rage as “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). For behind death is the devil who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10b). But thanks be to God! The shed blood of Jesus on the cross, followed by His mighty resurrection, conquered death and hell. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s most powerful ‘sign’ which showed clearly that Jesus is the Son of God. And this same power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live and contend for Him in our Australian society.
And here is the most wonderful news. Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee of every believer’s eventual resurrection to eternal life. The resurrection of Christ is the central miracle of the Bible and at the centre of the Christian faith (see 1 Corinthians 15). When believers are resurrected at the glorious return of Jesus, God will give us transformed eternal bodies suited to our new eternal life. How can we not share this Good News with those all around us who are perishing?
Loving Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Son has freed us from eternal death by dying for our sin on the cross. Then by His rising from the dead, He has given all those who believe, the hope that we too will rise again to new life again for all eternity. We repent of getting so focused on the politics of ‘life and death’ issues that we forget to point people to Your free gift of eternal life. Help us to share this Good News with those all around us who are perishing and without hope. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Watch Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB57meQtaNI
HIGH COURT CASE ON EXCLUSION ZONES BEGINS TOMORROW
A very important hearing before the High Court in Canberra (the highest authority in Australia) is set down to begin tomorrow, Tuesday 9th Oct and go until Thursday 11th October. The case has been going through the court system for over four years now. Making it this far to the High Court in itself is miraculous.
The case to relates to Graham Preston (of Brisbane) and two others who challenged the newly legislated ‘Safe-Access Zone’ Law around abortion clinics in Tasmania. They were arrested and Graham was fined $3,000. Graham decided to challenge the fine on grounds that the law was unconstitutional because it limited freedom of political communication.
Kathy Clubb was also arrested in Victoria for approaching to a couple outside a Melbourne clinic in August 2016. She was found guilty and fined $5,000 in October 2017. She too took a challenge to the High Court. They are being heard together because they both relate to the same ‘bubble zone’ issue.
Would you please pray specifically for this landmark case? If the case is ruled in their favour, it could have an impact on other states with exclusion-zones. A similar exclusion-zone is included in the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in QLD Parliament that will be debated, and possibly voted into law, next week 16-18th October.
Graham’s explanation of why he does this.
Kathy’s blog article on this Legal Challenge
Special Prayer Points from Graham and Kathy here.
If you feel led to give towards their legal costs Kathy’s blog has details. Graham also has a go-fund-me account.
If you feel led to write and encourage them use
Graham – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy – email@example.com
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- AWAKENING to Christ: Renewal in the Church and Revival in the Nation – with millions coming to Christ. John 3:16
- AWAKENING for Marriage: Renewal of marriages and restoration of marriage. Ephesians 5: 25 -32
- AWAKENING for Family: Renewal and healing for families. Isaiah 61:1
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