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Easter Perspectives

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2023 1:18 am

Easter Perspectives

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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March 19, 2023 1:18 am

Today we launch a special Easter series with Majors Mike and Christine Harris. Throughout this series they will be studying the various perspectives had by those who witnessed the Easter story unfold.


Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Hey, and welcome back to Words of Life. We have a very special series we're launching today for Easter. We're joined by our friends Majors Mike and Christine Harris. You may remember Mike Harris from a couple of series he's done with us, one on finance and the other on our Christian thought life. If you want to check out those series, we have a link on the Words of Life page at In this series, Mike and Christine will be studying the different perspectives those who witnessed the Easter event had.

There were so many different perspectives depending on who they were and what their relationship was to Jesus. We are Majors Mike and Christine Harris, and we're Salvation Army officers serving in the state of Texas. We were talking a little bit about our lives and our backgrounds and how different they actually are. I'm from England.

You may have picked up on that already. I was born when the Beatles were still very popular. I was raised in a Salvation Army home. I'm a fifth generation Salvationist on my father's side. My mother was a first generation Salvationist.

Therefore, I was raised with a brass instrument in my hand and a uniform on my back. Then in 1991, when I was quite young, I'd like to point out, I did move to the United States. I've lived actually more of my life in the United States. That's been quite interesting because my perspective on life has been shaped by that. I can see that. Of course, I was not born as early as you were.

I know that. I was born a little later, but I was actually born into an officer family. I'm a fourth generation officer. It was interesting because I got to grow up, born in Dallas and lived in the Carolinas and lived in Kentucky and in Oklahoma. Then, of course, you came to the States where we got to meet up in Washington, D.C. Then we had our own lives living in Florida and again, the Carolinas and now in Texas.

I think what's interesting is our perspectives have been shaped by our upbringing. Good, for instance, was when the queen died. Oh, yeah. So last year, as everyone would know, the queen, after 70 years on the throne, remarkable, has died.

So for people like us, we'd only ever known the queen as Moloch. I was sitting actually in my mother-in-law's house and reading over something on my iPad when there was a pop-up, a news article, the queen has died. It really surprised me how hard that hit me. I know.

I remember you calling me to tell me about it. Yeah, and you couldn't quite relate the same way. I don't think you could have understood that was like a true loss for me. It surprised me. Not that a woman in the mid-90s passed away.

I mean, it's quite natural for a person in their mid-90s to pass away. I think it was the realization that someone very precious and close to me as an Englishman—she was the Queen of England after all—made it feel like a relative had gone. And I talked to you about it and I couldn't connect with you on that level because my perspective as an Englishman was different to your perspective.

As an American. I also find it interesting as well as Salvationists. Now, this is one thing that we share in common is our perspective on life, our perspective on God is very shaped by the Bible. Salvationists, we have that first doctrine.

We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice. So one thing that we share through our tradition as Salvationists is our view of the world, our view of everything is shaped by what is in God's Word. And perspectives is what we want to talk about a good bit over the next few weeks.

If you look at the dictionary, this is what you find as a definition for perspective, a particular attitude toward a way of regarding something or a point of view. And so as we look at Easter, my wife and I are going to look at perspectives. We're going to look at the different perspectives of people as really the Easter story unfolded. And if you go back 2,000 years, you'll find that there were a number of perspectives going on when it came to Jesus. For instance, the religious leaders, they saw Jesus as a threat to their authority. To the people, you know, they saw him as this promised king, this person who would lead a rebellion against the Romans. To the Romans, he was a pain.

Law and order, that's what they wanted to keep and he was making them struggle with that. And for the disciples, he was the Messiah. They wanted him to be recognized as great and glorious and they wanted to be seen with him.

That was very important to them. But the other perspective was Jesus. And Jesus' perspective was obedience to the Father because his coming to earth was all because of disobedience. So therefore, where does Easter's story start? Genesis 3.

That's exactly where the Easter story begins. Of course, in Genesis 2, we've got the paradise. We've got this Garden of Eden. It's perfect. It's incredible. More incredible than our minds could ever imagine. In the Garden of Eden, God showed his love by, you know what it was, the way he showed his true love to Adam and Eve?

Please tell me. It was that tree. That tree planted in the garden was the expression of God's love because love can't exist without choice.

Otherwise, it's a dictatorship. So by putting that tree there, God offered, choice, you can reject me. But of course, he also put a condition on that. If you eat from that tree, you will surely die. And it wasn't a magic tree. I don't think that was what it was at all. It was simply an opportunity to reject God. And by rejecting God or disobeying, sin then entered the world. And so in Genesis chapter 2, we have only one perspective going on. That's God's perspective. That's perspective with love. It was mutual love. It was all about eternity. And Adam and Eve show their love by obedience, by not eating from that tree.

And it was just this incredible image of what everything should be. But then what happens in Genesis 3? Okay. So Eve and the serpent, they had a conversation.

Yeah. And so the serpent brings a new perspective in. It's what it says actually in Genesis 3. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals that the Lord had made. And he said to the woman, did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say you must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it or you will die. And the serpent said, you will not certainly die. For God knows, said the serpent, that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil. Crafty serpent.

Subtle serpent. And suddenly he brings in a new perspective. That perspective is disobedience. God's perspective was love through obedience. The serpent's perspective was rebellion through disobedience. That's what was going on here. So suddenly we're seeing this shift and Adam and Eve chose the serpent's perspective.

I'm glad you said it was Eve first, just to point that out. But it was a perspective of rebellion. It was a perspective of disbelief.

That is, they didn't believe that they would surely die. So God of course expelled them from the Garden of Eden and that meant any number of things, but it also meant they couldn't eat from the tree of life. So the tree of life, they stay in the garden, they'd still be eating from it to this day. They would still be perfect.

Everything would be wonderful. But because of their disobedience, they were expelled from the garden. And from that moment their bodies began to decay. Lovely thought. It is a lovely thought.

It's their reality, isn't it? Consequence of sin is death. Yet God's perspective was always life.

It was always that eternity. Man chose death, but God always wanted to offer life. So he offered them through the law that principle of atonement. The idea that a death has to occur, that's what the law said. God's law is law.

He's not going to change it. A death has to occur, but then he allowed that process of atonement or substitution where an animal could be used, typically an animal, would be used instead. So we deserve to die. A death has to occur.

The animal takes our place. Therefore we're clear and clean until we sin the next time. So of course all that then led itself to the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of God himself.

The perfect lamb without blemish would atone for the whole world. And the sacrifice of Jesus would unite all of us who follow him, allowing all of us to have, again, that perspective of God and his love. First John says this. When we obey God, we are sure we know him. But if we claim to know him and don't obey him, we are lying and the truth isn't in our hearts. We truly love God only when we obey him as we should. And then we know we belong to him. If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ. And here is the Easter perspective. Jesus came as an act of obedience to the Father.

We know that. Jesus came to set as an example of obedience to God. And Jesus came to teach us about love and about grace. And Jesus came as that sacrificial lamb, that perfect atoning for the love of mankind, and to demonstrate his obedience to the Father.

Jesus came to restore the single perspective of Genesis chapter 2, that we might show our love through our obedience, and that one day we can again eat from the tree of life, which now is in heaven. Here's the cautionary tale. It's your perspective. It's what we talked about at the beginning.

That's the cautionary tale is our perspective. Because I've noticed the world is becoming more and more divided, and a lot of things that the Bible describes as sin are entering in. If we do that, we're starting to do what it says in Genesis 3. We're starting to listen to other voices saying, oh, you don't have to believe God.

You don't have to believe what he says. Whether we want something to be a sin is beside the point. Our choice is beside the point. If God calls it a sin, then it's a sin.

Man has no right to alter the law of God. So we need to be careful that we're not listening to the crafty, subtle serpent who says you will not surely die. Remember, love can't exist without choice, and the ability to reject God still exists. Therefore, we've got to learn to change our perspective from this earthly perspective to this eternal perspective. So as we travel, you and I, through this Easter week, all the way from Palm Sunday all the way through to Easter Sunday, we're going to pray that God will use our words, his words through us, to teach us how to have a unified perspective. Can we pray over that?

Would you mind praying over that? Dear Heavenly Father, we just come before you because you are a good, good Father. And God, as we are telling your story, your holy word, God, may it not be from our perspective, but God, may it be from your holy one. May the words that we say, may those that listen, may they truly hear what is the Easter story, that your love for us was so complete that you gave up your life so that we may have eternal life. And the question is not whether or not you love us completely and wholly, but the question is, how do we love you in return? Do we love you in obedience and accordance to your holy book? We just ask these things in your holy and precious name.

Amen. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit to connect.

Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store or visit to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 02:26:01 / 2023-03-19 02:31:32 / 6

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