Franklin Graham: Believers in Jesus Christ Live on the Easter Side of History

By   •   April 5, 2017

cross at sunrise

Dear Friend,

The Easter season is upon us, and the glorious message of Good Friday and Easter is the core of the Gospel we preach. On Good Friday, we commemorate the darkest day in history—when Almighty God laid on His Son the sins of all mankind. Jesus Christ went to the cross so that those who trust in Him wouldn’t have to live in the darkness, bondage, and death sentence of sin. When He said from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30, ESV), that was really just the beginning. Believers in Jesus Christ live on the Easter side of history.

Many decades ago, before air travel became common, my mother and father were traveling across the Atlantic in a passenger ship. Early one morning my mother glanced out a porthole and noticed the menacing sky and a massive churning storm out on the horizon. It looked blacker and more alarming than any she had ever seen, and she commented on it to a steward. “Oh,” he replied, “we’ve already come through that storm. It’s behind us.”

Because of the cross, the fear of eternal judgment is behind us. Jesus carried our sins to the cross, suffered, and died. He paid the “wages of sin”—death. Sin’s power was broken. For those who have turned to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, the first Easter Sunday became this world’s brightest day because Jesus rose triumphant over death. His resurrection guarantees us that no matter what we face in life, no matter what we may be going through right now, we have Jesus with us and the sure hope of Heaven ahead of us.

That’s the same wonderful Good News so many heard in Canada when I was in Vancouver. For weeks before the Vancouver Crusade, a small but vocal group of people gained attention in the media as they criticized plans for the event. The mayor, who disapproves of some of my stands on Biblical and moral issues, joined the effort to oppose us.

We thank God for the opposition because it became clear that whatever the critics may have meant to accomplish, “God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). The Bible says, “They do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan” (Micah 4:12). The Crusade opened to a capacity crowd as God used the headlines to bring even greater attention to the Gospel. In all, 400 local churches worked with us, over 34,000 people attended the Crusade, and 65,000 more from across Canada and the world took part via live streaming on the internet. More than 2,300 people indicated making a life-changing decision for Christ during the Crusade, and hundreds more did the same at events leading up to it. It is God who did this, and we give Him the glory.

Vancouver is a melting pot of people who have come from many nations. A Russian student heard all the talk about the Crusade, came, and listened. He didn’t quite understand everything but knew deep inside that he wanted more. So at the invitation, he went forward and asked a counselor, “Can you tell me about Jesus?” The counselor, who happened to be a local pastor, carefully and clearly reexplained the message of the Gospel, and the student joyfully gave his heart to Christ.

Shiro, originally from Kenya, heard about the Crusade on the radio and came the first night. She said she came for the music and just to see what it was like. Her husband joined her for the second night. The couple, both believers, invited a 20-year-old employee of theirs named Taylor to come along. I preached on the parable of the prodigal son, and the young man recognized himself in the message.

“Everyone in my family grew up in different religions,” Taylor said later. “It was hard, and I kind of backed away. That was me running.” He realized it was God he’d been running from and knew it was time to stop. He went forward at the invitation to surrender his life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

One of the volunteer counselors, a Vancouver resident named Ari, watched people flooding forward during the invitation. After talking and praying with some who came ready and eager to turn to Jesus, Ari offered this observation about the wave of negative publicity: “It puts this on the forefront of people’s minds. They hear about it and search on social media to see what it’s about. They start thinking about it, and then the Holy Spirit works in their hearts.” Will you join us in praising God for what He did in Vancouver last month? And will you pray for all those who found new life in Jesus Christ?

My son Will Graham, who serves as an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, recently returned from a Crusade in Pachuca, Mexico, a city northeast of Mexico City. We praise God that more than 1,000 people turned to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In early May, he’ll hold another Crusade in Dothan, Alabama. Robert Cunville, also a BGEA associate evangelist, has two Crusades in India in April. Would you pray for God to move in a mighty way?

In May, I will hold one-night events in four Tennessee cities on our Decision America Tennessee Tour. Later in the year, I will do the same in seven Texas cities for a Decision America Texas Tour. I believe we may reach more people by going to multiple cities across a state than by holding a multi-day event in one large city. I call it saturation evangelism. As God leads, we will do more of this in other areas of the country next year.

Also in May, I will host the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C. This will be an unprecedented gathering—we are expecting 600 delegates from at least 130 countries, including victims of persecution as well as men and women who actively minister to the oppressed and persecuted. Some will take a risk in coming, and many are from places where Christians live in poverty. We count on friends like you to help cover the cost of bringing them, and we ask you to pray for them. We want to put a global spotlight on the persecution of our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ and to stir up prayer and action to help alleviate their plight.

We rely on your prayers for all these opportunities. We also need your help financially. Working together, the gifts and prayers of thousands of believers like you enable this ministry to carry out the tasks God has given us. We are deeply grateful.

May God richly bless you,

Franklin Graham Signature

Franklin Graham