Two weeks before Easter, on Sunday, April 14, 1991, I felt the Holy Spirit’s invitation for me to repent and accept Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God as my personal Lord and Savior. A year later I began experiencing the call to preach God’s Word. Surrendering to that call was not easy. For over a year I struggled. I knew nothing about the Bible and was not raised in church. That was my argument and it was totally focused on my works and not God’s power. In 1993, I did surrender, accepted the call to preach and began my studies at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. Since 1993, I have come to know the One that I call Savior better each day as I have follow Him through the pages of the Bible. During my studies at Emmanuel I ran across a small paperback book written by the late Bishop Joseph A. Synan. Each year around Easter I pull Synan’s book from my bookshelf and reread a section that helps keep my focus on Him. I hope that you will be blessed as I have been by these words:
I trust that all of us have had experiences similar to what I am going to speak of briefly, and I’m sure that we have. I have followed Him from His manger in Bethlehem to His cross on Calvary, and to the tomb in the garden, and to the morning of resurrection, and to the tomb in the garden, and to the morning of ascension, and have loved and admired and appreciated Him all the way. I have seen Him seized by lawless men after having been betrayed by a friend. I have seen Him spit upon, blindfolded and smitten by slaves. I have seen Him scourged with cruel thongs until His back was a maze of bruises and stripes and blood. I’ve seen Him crowned with thorns and mocked by the soldiers. I’ve seen Him driven along the cobble-stone streets of Jerusalem, out through the gray stone gate and up the hill of Calvary. I’ve seen Him lifted up on the cross, and mocked and jeered by the passing throng. I’ve seen Him when the sun was draped in darkness and the mountain trembled and the graves were opened, and the veil in the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom. I’ve seen Him forsaken of men and outcast by the world, and I’ve heard His lonely agonizing cry in the dark: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”’
And as I’ve seen Him, the embodiment of absolute purity, innocence, holiness and goodness, thus treated by men, I have felt in my heart drawn in an affinity of love and loyalty that made me feel as I followed Him through all those scenes of suffering that I wanted to love Him and be loyal to Him forever. And I reached this conclusion that, if this life were all, if the grave marked the end of Jesus of Nazareth, and if it should mark the end of me, I would still rather be indentified with a man like Him than anybody else that I have ever met or read or heard or known of in this world.
But I’m thankful that the grave didn’t mark the end for Him, and that it will not be the end for us; but that He has gone through and come out on the side of immortal glory, and that He will lead us through and bring us out into worlds of life and strength. And that, in the meantime, having been here and gone away, He is just as truly our friend and our Savior yonder in glory as when He was here, and He will be coming back again. We can’t preach anything greater; we can’t preach anything more fascinating, anything more winning, than to preach Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
Synan, Bishop Joseph A. The Good Minister of Jesus Christ, (The Publishing House Pentecostal Holiness Church: Franklin Springs, Georgia), 1950, 49-50.
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