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Dear friends,
Happy Thanksgiving!
Paul in Romans 6:17-18 wrote, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
We need to give thanks to God for through Jesus Christ we have been set free from the slavery of sin.
What is it that set us free from the bondage of sin? What set us free from the bondage of sin is the life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the basis of Christianity. This is the basis of our faith.
When we were in Israel, we were able to see archaeological discoveries and places that prove that the events in the Gospels especially the life, death and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ really happened. Let me mention three:
First, the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane are more than 2,000 years old. These olive trees are there even before the New Testament times. This is an affirmation on what is written in Matthew 26:36 – “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’”
Second, the ancient Via Dolorosa – the way of suffering – became the floor of churches in Jerusalem.
The Bible tells us that Jesus carried the cross from the Praetorium to the Golgotha where He was crucified. Matthew 27:26–31 indicate that Jesus was scourged and then brought to the governor’s headquarters (Praetorium), and from there Jesus was led towards the site of the crucifixion. Along the way, Simon from Cyrene was forced to carry the cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21).  A portion of a song entitled Via Dolorosa says, “Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day The soldiers tried to clear the narrow streets but the crowd pressed in to see the Man condemned to die on Calvary.”
Third, the tomb is empty. There are two possible places in Jerusalem where Jesus was buried – in the Holy Sepulchre Church, or in the Garden Tomb. Both of these places have one thing in common – nobody is buried there. Jesus has risen from the dead.
The life, ministry, and death of Jesus was validated by his resurrection.
These places in Jerusalem prove true what is written in the Gospels. This is one of the reasons to give thanks to God.
What is our response since we have been saved by Jesus from the bondage of sin? How do we say thanks to God? The answer of Paul is this, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” This means that a life of thanksgiving to God is a life that lives what is right in front of God.
Let us be thankful that through Jesus Christ we are now people who always think and do what is right.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Office of Communications
Central Philippine University
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