Dear NAB family,
With hearts pounding from the racing of their legs and the excitement of their thoughts, the women sprinted from the garden tomb to find the disciples on a dawning Sunday morning. Their intentions were set on communication—the telling of the most glorious story they could have ever imagined. Their goal was to proclaim. Loudly, boldly, passionately, these followers of the Messiah ran to proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead.
The word proclaim means simply to herald, pronounce, publish, announce. It suggests a speaking out of something meaningful or significant. It implies a spoken word of a previously unexperienced truth.
In the midst of the US Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. On January 1, 1863, this announcement to a nation in the midst of war changed the federal legal status of more than three million enslaved people. With words prompted by Lincoln and heralded to citizens all over a conflicted nation, people were provided the potential to move from slavery to freedom. It was a proclamation of liberation.
On the first Easter morning, the women ran to announce their own proclamation of liberation—that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and had provided to a fallen humanity emancipation from sin and shame, punishment and penalty, death and destruction.
The theme verse of the NAB 2018 Triennial Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, is Colossians 1:28: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ” (NIV). The apostle Paul builds toward this verse earlier in the chapter by reminding believers that once they were alienated as enemies from God, but through Christ’s atoning sacrifice they have been made “without blemish and free from accusation” (v. 22). The mystery of the Gospel had been unveiled to both Jew and Gentile. With this glorious truth, Paul writes that Jesus is the one that we proclaim.
As you gather on Easter morning with the Church of God scattered around this globe, having walked the journey of Holy Week through the foot washing and teaching of the upper room, the torment and betrayal of the garden, the confusion of the trial, and the suffering of the cross, let us remember that we as the Church are called to proclaim—loudly, boldly, passionately—that Jesus is alive. Christ has liberated the enslaved. He has freed the sinner. He has broken the chains of the captive.
Christ the Lord is risen. Alleluia. Let us proclaim!
North American Baptist Conference