New Year and Historic Anniversary
Today is not just the first day of the year but the anniversary of a very famous day in American history. On this date 157 years ago, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a document stating that American slaves were free.
At the time of Lincoln‘s proclamation, there were approximately 4 million slaves in the United States. It was an amazing proclamation, yet Lincoln’s words were not sufficient to free them. Slaves continued to labor in their fields in poverty and despair. Most did not hear of their emancipation until a liberating army came to free them.
Josh Cooper in his excellent book, Hold Fast, draws an important parallel for us. Two thousand years ago, Jesus proclaimed the good news to slaves and freedom to captives. With His blood he purchased people for God from every tribe, language, and nation. But like slaves in the time of Lincoln, not everyone today has heard that great news.
The apostle Paul wrote:
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news." Rom 10:13-15.
As we begin this new decade, there are over two billion people without access to the gospel. They haven’t heard of Jesus; they haven't seen a bible. They might never have even met a Christ follower. They do not yet know that the price for their emancipation has been paid. This new year, let’s help change that.