Despite City Harvest Church undergoing a challenging period, its Easter services on March 29 to 31 reached out to thousands with the message of redemption made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“Our old history ended at the cross; our new history started at the resurrection.”
City Harvest’s senior pastor Kong Hee declared this at the Easter service on Sunday, Mar. 31. With the full repayment of mankind’s sin on Good Friday through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, so it was on the first Easter Sunday more than 2,000 years ago, that every person who believes in His resurrection power from the dead now shares in His position of reconciliation with God, victory, authority and power.
Kong led the congregation to Ezekiel 37:1-5 in the Bible, where the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel was faced with a valley of dry bones. “Son of man, can these bones live?” God had asked him. Humanly speaking, of course, it was impossible.
It was the exact situation the main character, Nicodemus from the preceding Easter drama found himself in. Titled Crossroad, it told the story of a disgraced Pharisee on a downward spiral, bound by a mistake from his past—until he took the step to right his wrong, choosing the truth of Jesus instead of the way of the world.
And yet it seemed too late. A distraught Nicodemus watched as the man he had come to know be mercilessly flogged as He made his way down Via Dolorosa, past the audience’s seats and was eventually crucified on the cross. But as a resurrected Jesus returned to greet Nicodemus, he found forgiveness, reconciliation and healing in his household.
With a cast and crew of mainly volunteers ranging from students to full-time professionals in various industries, the Drama Ministry had outdone itself yet again with a performance that drove the Easter message home: because of God’s forgiveness of mankind’s sin by sending His Son to die for all on the cross, He does not turn away anyone who comes before Him in repentance. And because Jesus rose from the dead, there is always hope in God no matter how hopeless a situation seems to be.
(Click here to read our backstage story of the Easter drama from the perspective of a cast member.)
Thus, just as the prophet Ezekiel obeyed God’s command, he witnessed impossibility becoming a reality before his very eyes. Kong related the story of Emily, a finance student who discovered tumors in her skull while preparing for exams in her final year of university. Surgery was out of the question due to her multiple drug allergies, and the radiotherapy did nothing to stop the tumors’ growth. Her doctors gave up. But when she attended a service at City Harvest Church, she put her faith in Jesus for a miracle healing. A brain scan months later showed that her brain was completely free of tumors. “On the cross, Jesus took all our sicknesses. The Bible says, ‘By His stripes we are healed,’” Kong reminded the congregation.
Beyond physical healing, Jesus’ death paid for every emotional healing. “A person without hope is like a person without a soul,” said Kong. “We lose hope when we are hurt and our hearts are crushed. The reality is, we live in a broken down world among imperfect people. But the Easter message is this: even when we are wronged, we must forgive. Even if the offending party has not asked for forgiveness, we must forgive.”
Just as no one asked Jesus for forgiveness as He hung dying on the cross, He forgave them. “Forgiveness is not optional, it is a way of life, and when you choose to forgive, the Holy Spirit brings healing to your soul,” Kong exhorted.
He shared a testimony related to him by Rev. Dr Yonggi Cho, founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church, about a South Korean woman whose husband had deserted her, leaving her to support herself and her children. Under severe financial and emotional strain, she developed crippling arthritis. As Cho led her to release forgiveness to her husband, God worked not one but two miracles—not only was her husband so convicted of his sin that he sought forgiveness from her soon after, she also received complete healing for her arthritis.
As Kong shared two more testimonies of reconciliation between friends and between spouses, the recurring message was that the resurrection power of Jesus reigns over every broken relationship, hurt and offense. “If money, success and good looks can buy happiness, Hollywood should be the happiest place in the world, but it is not,” explained Kong. “Having a full schedule does not mean having a full life.”
As he gave the altar call for salvation, many got out of their seats and streamed to the front to receive the gift bought by Jesus on the cross—reconciliation to God. A total of 2,441 decisions from four services including one from Dialect Church, were made, making this a glorious Easter celebration for the church.