With the uncertainty that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic and all the political, economic, and social unrest we have experienced in the last year, maybe I should have seen this coming. But I have to admit, I was surprised.
While the numbers are still coming in, early estimates are projecting more than 200 million people watched Pulse's Worldwide Good Friday Broadcast. Already, more than 1.3 million people have responded to the Gospel, indicating their desire to follow Jesus. That’s more than 1 million people calling or texting one of our response centers to share their desire to change their spiritual beliefs — one of the most intimate aspects of their lives — because of what Jesus offers. One call center in India that has connections to as many as 26,000 churches said it was overwhelmed with people’s hunger for God.
Our Good Friday event was a global campaign that was literally built on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and just one more example of what I believe is the most exciting moment in history to be a follower of Jesus. In Hebrews 13:7-8, the author writes, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
For many years, I have had opportunities to share the Gospel all over the world. But never before have I seen something as incredible as what happened this year on Good Friday and Easter Weekend.
I grew up in a Christian home in the Midwest, where I listened to faith-based radio programs like “Adventures in Odyssey.” As a young man, I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) before being called as an evangelist and mentored by Billy Graham.
But I never imagined those words from Hebrews would be so real in my life, as almost all the global networks and response systems for this effort were built by the ministries that have changed my life!
On Good Friday we shared Christianity’s central message — the love of Jesus — in 39 languages to 186 countries and 24 unique territories. It was beyond anything we ever thought possible. But it was possible because of those who have gone before us and because, according to Ephesians 3:20, God “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
So why is this happening? Why today?
I believe the global COVID-19 pandemic, political and economic uncertainty, and the reality of racism and injustice have eroded peoples’ trust in the things of this world.
People are asking questions. They are seeking someone above it all, yet within our world, someone who understands the pain we are facing and offers purpose and healing. In Jesus, we find a God who understands. And the good news of the Christian faith is that God not only sees us and hears us, but He enters in and suffers on our behalf.
We celebrate a day called “Good Friday,” which makes no sense at all. It was the day our Savior was humiliated, beaten, and crucified. But we call it Good Friday because it was the day Jesus bore the brokenness, shame, and guilt of the whole world. As Isaiah prophesied long before Jesus came, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). We as individuals and societies have strayed from God’s original plan for this world, making us spiritually dead.
But Jesus died on Good Friday and conquered our waywardness and death when He rose to life again. That is the power of Easter. That is the resurrection power that is at work in the world today. We see it as hundreds of millions of people tune in to hear the Gospel, respond to it, and receive the new life offered them in Jesus.
Humanity is experiencing revival and reckoning like never before. And I believe there has never been a greater opportunity to show the world the love of Jesus than the one we have right now.
Pulse is a Minneapolis-based, millennial-led prayer and evangelism movement on mission to make Jesus known. For over a decade, Pulse has hosted some of the largest events for the next generation, impacting over five million students and young adults.
Nick Hall is the founder and president of Pulse and a leading international evangelist. He holds a position on the Board of Directors Executive Committee of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the author of Reset: Jesus Changes Everything.