The Boston Marathon bombings came as a shock to all of us. Now everyone is scrambling for answers, asking why. Though some politicians are loath to call this a “terrorist” attack, and are studiously cautious about making any reference to a religious war, most know it is.
This past weekend, our congregation celebrated the missions we support with 18% of our budget. Many of our members have served overseas. Others are involved in local ministries such as food pantries, Gospel mission to reach alcoholics and addicts, crisis pregnancy counseling, and we are active in the fight against human trafficking. Our “life groups” look for ways to serve our communities. We are far from perfect. We are sinners saved by grace, and an autonomous group of believers who strive to be more like our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
One of our speakers was Yoon Kwon Chae, a Korean Christian brother our congregation has supported for 35 years. He and his wife have brought up over a 1000 children. He started with $7 and a drum around his neck, proclaiming the Gospel in the streets of Seoul. He now has a radio ministry, correspondence college courses and a children’s home. He’s in his 80s and currently bringing up 75 children, a number of whom are refugees from North Korea. Many of the children Chae and his wife have raised have become ministers, teachers, social workers and missionaries. The latter have carried the Gospel into North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Laos. Only one has been seen again. He returned after severe electric torture. When physically able, he went north again. Many of the others have been killed or imprisoned.
More Christians are dying today than have died in all previous centuries since Jesus Christ lived upon His earth. Worldwide persecution is on the rise.
Martyrs of Islam are equally dedicated to their beliefs. Homocide bombers see it as an honor to die and are intent upon killing and maiming as many as possible as they do so; the more deaths, the greater the honor. Some families receive payment for the sacrifice of their children, and receive honor for their part in jihad.
Martyrs of Christ seek to bring the Good News to the lost. They offer up their lives willingly for the salvation of others. They want the enslaved and lost to know God loves them. There is freedom in Christ no matter where you are. Jesus is the Truth, the way and the life. They give up their lives to tell people that God loves each individual so much He sent His own Son that they might be saved. Salvation is a gift from God so that no man can boast. Grace, grace, what marvelous grace that covers all of our sins! This amazing grace is even available to the worst terrorist if he repents and believes in Jesus. The son of one of the founding leaders of Hamas has become a Christian. Don’t forget Jesus chose Simon the Zealot to be a disciple. The message of love and salvation is for all.
One homocide bomber brings death and suffering to many. One Christian martyr can bring dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands in a rippling effect to Christ, the Prince of Peace. From the beginning, God gave us free will. Each of us must make a choice: life or death.
I grieve the waste of young Muslim lives. I grieve to know the next time these deceived young men and women open their eyes, they will find themselves in hell and bear the full measure of punishment for all their sins, not just the last one. And I thank God for Christians around the world who are, right now, putting their lives on the line in the darkest places on earth in order to bring the light and truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Both martyrs of Islam and Christian martyrs give up their lives for their faith, one to serve death and Mohammed, the other to serve life and love and Jesus, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace.
Mohammed died and remains in his grave.
Jesus died and rose again. He is alive! He is coming back.
When we do not make a choice, that is a choice.
Who will you serve?