Every year round about this time I imagine many people across the country taking a moment to ponder over the meaning of Easter and why it is so important to their Christian faith.
Why is Easter said to be the real centre piece of our faith. Why do they say that it is like a bridge. A meeting point for Old and New. A new world order put into place as God makes His promise to mankind.
I also imagine that this is the time that a number of important concepts come into focus as we contemplate what is important in our lives.
Service – Before the Last Supper, Jesus is said to have washed the feet of his disciples, something that was considered a servant’s job. He told the disciples ‘ You must be willing to serve one another, just as I have served you.’ Jesus leads by example.
Betrayal – Judas a disciple of Jesus, was like any one of us. He felt disappointed upon discovering that Jesus had not come to lead a military uprising against the Romans. He was therefore prepared to betray him for chapaa. He was paid 30 pieces of silver for his treachery. Greed will be our own undoing. In a postscript we are told how Judas felt remorse when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. He went back to the Chief priests and threw the money at them. He then went and hanged himself.
The Eucharist – At supper, Jesus took bread, thanked God for it and broke it to share with the disciples. He told them, ‘This is my body, I am going to be broken up like this bread. I am going to die for you. He then took a cup of wine, gave thanks to God and told them, ‘ Tke this, drink. This is my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant which will be shed for you and for all men. Do this in my memory.’
The Cross – Jesus is put before Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor and charged with treason. Pilate cross examines Jesus and concludes that he is not guilty of the offences. He decides to release him. The Jewish priests have stirred up the crowds who are now chanting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pontius Pilate, coward that he is, gives in to their demands, fearing rioting and disorder which will look bad back in Rome. Pilate washes his hands to say he is not guilty of whatever fate that Jesus may meet.
Jesus is flogged and made to carry his cross. They crucify him outside the city walls in a place called Golgotha. At three in the afternoon, Jesus utters his final words, Oh God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ And he dies.
The Resurrection – Sunday morning, just before dawn. The ground trembled and the earth shook. An angel came and rolled away the stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus. The frightened guards fled.
Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene and she went and told the others that Jesus was indeed alive! The penalty for our sin had been paid and death had been conquered. Christ the Redeemer offers salvation to everyone who believes and comes to him for a new life.
According to Galatians 3:28 -29 ..” For all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
We each have our own struggles in our lives, both at work and at home. On a national level we are confronted daily with insecurities, Jihadist terror and threats of war. In the world arena uncertainty looms as we enter what is increasingly looking like a new cold war era.
Let us remember what Easter offers us for free by quoting an old simple prayer:
May the angels protect you, May the sadness forget you, may goodness surround you, and may the Lord Jesus Christ always bless you. Happy Easter!