On December 31, 1862, African American slaves prayed all night that Abraham Lincoln would keep his word and sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Signing it would set all slaves free the next day, January 1, 1863. God answered their prayers and ever since, many African American churches celebrate that event with watchnight services on December 31. Watchnight service has some similarity to the Jewish Passover. Each year faithful Jews still recall their deliverance from Egyptian slavery. While Jesus was on earth he took part in the ancient Jewish Passover, except that he gave it new and more profound meaning. We read in Mark CH. 14 that during the Jewish Passover celebration, Jesus declared that His body and blood, represented by the bread and cup would establish God’s New Covenant with humanity. Under it, God offers to grant the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life when we repent and accept Jesus the Christ as our Savior.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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