March 18, 2005

I. Cor. 16:9   For a wide door for effective work has opened to me and there are many adversaries.

As we celebrate His glorious resurrection it is a good time to remember how many witnesses there were to it.   At least eleven different resurrection appearances during the forty days are recorded in Scripture.
Easter Morning
– to Mary Magdalene: Mk. 16:9, Jn. 20:11-18.
– to the other Women: Mt. 28:9
– to Peter: I Cor. 15:5
Easter Afternoon
– to the two on the way to Emmaus: Lk. 24:13-35
Easter Evening
– to the ten Apostles in the Upper Room: Jn. 20:19-24
One Week Later
– to the eleven Apostles in the Upper Room: Jn. 20:26-29
At the Sea of Galilee
– to the seven: Jn. 21:1-2, 9-12
To the 500: I Cor. 15:6
To James the son of Zebedee: I Cor. 15:7
At the Mt. in Galilee: Mt. 28: 16-20
At the Ascension, Mt. of Olives: Lk. 24:50-51

May God bless us all with a full appreciation of His sacrifice on Calvary and of the proof of our salvation in His Resurrection.

In the West – The time of Charlemagne in Germany/France was around 800.   His method of conversion of the Saxons was ‘convert or die’.   Not a method we would agree with.
700-800 in the EAST – Mission work in the East was of quite a different sort along the trade route of the ‘Silk Road’.East Turkestan – From the seventh century on, under the leadership of such energetic patriarchs as Timothy I (780-823), Syrian (Nestorian) missionaries penetrated east of the Pamirs to the Turkish peoples of Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan; south to Tiet and Ladakh,  to Nuakith (in modern Pakistan) and Gandishapur (in modern Kirgiziyaand Kazakhstan); further east to the oases beyond the Gobi Desert, of Turfan, Hami and Dunhuang.   Kashgar and Yarkand would later have bishoprics as would Almalik, Hami and Dunhuang,   Many of these centers, such as Khotan, retained Christian churches until the eleventh century at least and some, like Kocho, until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Burma – The presence of Christians in the kingdom of Malea (North Burma) in the ninth century is recorded along with other south Asia centers by Didacus de Couto.   It should be remembered that Marco Polo discovered Nestorian Christians amongst the Shans when the Mongol armies entered Burma in 1252.   (The first USA foreign missionary to Burma was in the early 1800’s, Adoniram Judson.)
900 in the EAST, Central Asia – From the fourth to the seventh century Syriac-speaking refugees from the Persian Empire, where persecution erupted periodically, bishops and monks from the eastern dioceses of the church along with Persian and Sogdian merchants spread Christianity through the Oxus region.   Herat had bishops by the fifth century, until the eleventh century at least as did the Hephthalite Huns (Turks).Large numbers of white Huns accepted Christianity as a clear example of the mission thrust in the East.   Great work was done by two Nestorian laymen, John of Resh-aina and Thomas the Tanner, assisted for short periods by four priests and two bishops.   This shows the importance of laymen in outreach.   They baptized and preached, devised and taught a written language for the Huns and with the help of a Monophysite Armenian bishop taught also agricultural methodsand skills. Armenian churches were also being founded to the east.   In the late sixth century Bishop Abel was appointed to the Armenian community of the southeast Caspian Sea.   A blossoming of Armenian Christian culture took place in the ninth to eleventh centuries.
Syria and Iran – In the tenth century Albiruni had declared that the majority of populations of Syria, Iraq and Khurasan were in fact Christian and until the thirteenth century almost half of the seventy-five bishoprics in fifteen provinces of the old Persian Empire still survived. All of this attests to the power of the Gospel in the face of opposition and the love of God to reach out to these peoples.   In the Old Testament God affirmed that His Word would reach into all the World: Ps. 22:22-27, 98:3, Is. 24:14,16, 49:6, 66:19-20, Jer. 16:19,Zech. 8:23   At the conclusion of the four Gospels we have the words of our Lord that His Word would go into all the world.   And He did it.

Pastor Koenig