MISSION NEWS | Tess Holgate
Thursday 26 November 2015
Over 1,000 Japanese people made the decision to follow Jesus at the Greater Tokyo Celebration of Love, a three-day revival event organised by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Over 38,000 people attended over the three-day event, with a further 10,000 live streaming the event online.
Franklin Graham, the son of the great Billy Graham, spoke at an afternoon session where he read from Mark 8:36: For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
“A person may work hard their whole life and find great success,” he said, “then wake up one morning and realise they’ve missed the most important thing,” that being the fate of their soul.
“Your soul has been lost to sin,” he said. “It only takes one sin to keep you out of heaven.”
But the good news, Franklin said, is that “Jesus Christ paid for our sins. He took them to the grave.” Not only that, but He rose from that grave. “Jesus Christ is not dead,” Franklin said.
Issuing an appeal to the 12,000-strong crowd, Graham asked, “Will you come to Him tonight?”
1,019 people responded by putting their trust in Jesus. 41 per cent of those decisions were made by people under 18.
Karl Faase, Christian communicator, media presenter, and social commentator, was in Japan for the Celebration, and says, “For any committed follower of Jesus with heart to see others make the same choice, watching as hundreds walk to the front is a moving and inspiring experience.
“When you add to this the knowledge of the small percentage of Christians in Japanese culture and that this culture generally reserved nature it adds to the significance of the experience.”
The gospel first came to Japan in 1549, and 450 years later, only around 1 per cent of the Japanese population identifies as Christian. Growth has been slow.
Japanese churches don’t have a big presence in society, so organising a large scale evangelistic event is a somewhat risky endeavour.
But this event made a splash as so many Japanese Christians came together to boldly show their faith in Christ.
“I wish there were more events like this,” said Japanese Pastor Shizuo Satou.