From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee
Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,
The Easter of 2021 has come and gone, but the message that Jesus is risen lives on.
Every year we try to highlight the centrality of the Easter story, and this year it was made difficult again by the Covid 19 pandemic, now in its second year. Every year I struggle at these annual junctures when the same old story must be proclaimed again, as I feel duty-bound to lead our people to the cross of Calvary, lest we forget. I struggle because after preaching the same material over so many years, I feel I have nothing more to say that has not already been said. But this year was different.
For one thing, this year I asked the rest of the pastoral staff to preach on Good Friday and at each of the five services on the Easter weekend, and each pastor shared the load admirably and eloquently. Not only were the sermons fresh, clear and to the point, but they were also both devotional and evangelistic. The services were very creative, the music heart warming, and the messages uplifting. Thanks to all who made them possible and allowing me to sit back and enjoy my Easter this year by soaking in every word of the great story of Easter.
Another reason it has been different because I realized much more personally that the Easter story is made alive in the powerful stories of all the saints who lived and died believing the resurrection of Jesus was true and is live changing. One verse reverberates in my mind as I listened to each and every sermon, in all three languages: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (I Cor. 15:14, 20)
As I sat through each service, and as I was leading the communion in the English service, I think of how each of my friends and colleagues who have recently “fallen asleep” in the Lord, were filled with hope and peace, all because Christ has risen, He has risen indeed. As I prepare for the Celebration of Life for Pastor Matthew on April 10, his words “March into God’s Paradise” echo in my mind. As I was reading the parting thoughts of my UM university mate, Dr. Cynthia Chan, she talked about, in a matter-of-fact manner with peace in her heart, how the Lord used 6 years to train her to be a doctor, and now also 6 years to be a patient. They all lived by faith, in the promise of God, “… they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city of them.” (Heb. 11:16)
In our last quarter, following our theme for the year: “Crown Him with many crowns,” we have completed the survey of the kings of Israel and Judah, both the good and the bad. The Jews in their exile and in their return from exile were constantly looking to the coming of their “messiah” king, who would save them from bondage. Now, with Easter, the ultimate triumph of Jesus on the cross and with His resurrection from the dead has been declared. Christ was variously cheered by the mass as King (hosanna) and mocked as “the King of the Jews,” in the passion week. In this quarter we turn our eyes again to Jesus, and trace in more details how Jesus was truly the messiah king. We shall use as our text the book of Matthew, written mainly with Jewish readers in mind, to look at the early life of Jesus. We shall start with how the wise men came to find Jesus to worship Him, move onto how John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah, and then how Jesus the Messiah was tempted before He launched out into His mission, ending with the revelations of the identity of the Messiah.
As we study the life of Jesus through the lens of Jesus as the Messiah King, it is my hope and prayer that we start to appreciate how the eventual accomplishment of Christ in his death and resurrection was preceded by Jesus living a life each step of the way in obedience to God and in fulfilment of the Old Testament promises of God.
Crown Him with Many Crowns!
Your servant in Christ,