He has risen! Three days later, Christ rose from the dead, victorious having conquered death. Many witness testified to this, and many encountered his presence:
28 1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
5-6 The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
7 “Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”
8-10 The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.”
Jesus Christ rose as saviour, and impacted many with complete joy, telling the women to go and spread the news! Just as He told the women, we too have nothing to fear. There’s a wonderful line in the song, In Christ Alone that says, “And as he stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me….” and the song ends with, “Here in the power of Christ, I’ll stand!” Christ has done it – He lives, and gives us freedom from pain, fear and sin, fulfilling us with great joy! He has conquered death, so that we may live in his eternal love, and power but, what does living in the Power of Christ actually mean? It means going into every situation, knowing that Christ is Lord of all, looking to him and knowing his love. Through the death and resurrection, we may have a realtionship with God, where we are able to talk to him, listen to him, know the truth and be filled with joy, as well as praise. If Christ can conquer death, he can move mountains for those who have faith!
So rejoice! Praise God, who was, and is, and is to come – Our God Reigns, and has taken the punishment for all our sin, replacing it with life, with our Heavenly Father! So, Happy Easter from me!
Go and listen to the modern version of In Christ Alone, and comment below your favourite lyric! How have you found The Easter Series? Would you like to see more series on the faith section?
Good Friday, marks out the crucifixion of Christ; after praying on the Mount of Olives (aware of what he was about to do, yet still trusting his Father and bearing the cup) Jesus was betrayed, and arrested by Judas Iscariot. You can find the whole story in Luke 22:1-23:49 but skipping forwards, he was taken before Pilate and Herod, where he was trialled, and Pilate found no basis of charge. Christ had done nothing unlawful and Pilate almost released him, however under pressure from the people, he washed his hands and handed him over to the crowds for crucifixion. He was crucified, with two criminals at a place called The Skull – nailed to a cross, and left there to die, in agony. At around noon, Christ died and gave up his spirit: the sky was darkened and the curtain of the temple (extremely strong, and thick, that separated the average man from the presence of God) was torn directly in two. The event was so powerful, that even the Centurion said, “surely this was a righteous man.” Other witness came to realise that he was indeed the Son of God. But why? May you ask, was Christ on the cross?
This world is messed-up, and full of sin (we all know that) and it separates us from God, because we become self-obsessed, and involve ourselves with all sorts of hurt. God knew that the only way to ever regain us as his children would be, to come himself, as Christ, out of love, taking all pain, and sin on the cross – even though he was perfect. The crucifixion was the sacrifice, paid for us all.
Looking in greater detail, at the crucifixion, we see a wonderful story of salvation on the cross. Beside Jesus, were two criminals; Christ was perfect, he had not sinned, and here he was, punished in the same form as two criminals. One of these criminals, began to insult Jesus, yet this is where the story become so marvellous – the other sinner told him to stop! He rebuked saying, “Don’t you fear God, since we are under the same sentence? We are punished justly for we are getting what we deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” At deaths door, this criminal accepted that Christ was Lord, and he then looked to him, in trust and faith saying, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Here is a criminal, deserving of nothing, seeking God, and being saved with eternal life. At this minute, the criminal’s deeds were taken from his cross, and placed onto Jesus’ righteous cross. His punishment was taken – he was vindicated, and given eternal life despite his criminal acts.
Vindication is beautiful:to show that someone is not guilty of crime. In other words, through the sacrifice of Christ, all of our guilt, shame and wrong doing, has been put to death on his cross. Have you ever done something that you shouldn’t have done, and never quite forgiven yourself – or perhaps felt extremely ashamed about? Perhaps it was a crime, or maybe just a broken friendship, or telling a lie. Either way, no matter how big or small, God wants to vindicate you from this – he has already died for it, and has also died for all the wrong things that you will do in the future. What does it take? It takes trust and faith – being able to say, “You know what God, I know you can take this, and I know that you died for me, so I give all to you” That’s all – it’s not about being perfect, or doing so many good deeds, but it’s simply lifting your head, seeking his face and giving it over to his control. This is all because of love: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that whoever beleives in him, shall not die but have eternal life. John 3:16. Once we seek God’s face, he places a coat of salvation over us – imagine it bright white, and when ever God looks at you, he sees the pure white light of Christ, knowing that you are righteous because you have been vindicated – you are saved, and one of his children, to be granted life.
So seek God’s face – stop trying to be perfect, but rest in him, allowing the blood of Christ, and the gracious love of God, displayed on Good Friday, to fulfil you and make you righteous in him. Forgive yourself – all wrong doing, judgement, appearance and reputation has been put to death in him. Look beyond yourself, to the cross, and come to know his compassionate power, of forgiveness and sacrifice. This is love, selfless love – agape love. A love that brings life to the full!
I’d love to answer any questions – or any prayer requests! Or, perhaps, you would like to share your own personal thoughts about the events of Good Friday!
Palm Sunday: dating back to Christ’s journey to Jerusalem exactly one week before his resurrection. Pinpointing straight-out, important facts, Jesus rode to Jerusalem on a donkey as crowds cheered, singing, “Hosanna” and laying down not only palm leaves, but also their coats upon the roads for the donkey to walk upon…
John 12:13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
Read the full story here:http://www.gotquestions.org/Palm-Sunday.html#ixzz3VzEphdtA
Humility, would be a very appropriate term to use when describing the events of Palm Sunday. Now, lets picture a colt – dirty, lowly and unworthy; there’s no way that the Queen of England would visit your town (or say a big city such as London) riding on a horse, unprotected and without it having had a groom before hand – never mind a donkey! Its also unlikely that she would not be accompanied by a cavalry band of some sort but here, is the King of Kings, humbling himself, making himself much lower than others, and enduring what in my opinion, would be a very uncomfortable ride… But that’s the thing, despite his glory, Christ isn’t about status and wealth but is and forever will be about compassion and humility! By choosing a colt, he made himself available for all, and allowed others to be on the same level as him – don’t you see? His humility was perfect and welcoming.
Not only was this display of humility alone so magnificent, but so was the response; the crowds threw down their cloaks (that were most probably required for the journey home) and palm leaves, so that the donkey would not have to walk upon the dirty road – I can be sure that it’s not only I, that finds this slightly unusual considering that a donkey is used to such muddy, outdoor environments. Yet, looking further, this is what makes the event so significant – these people knew who was riding! He wasn’t just the healing, lowly Jesus, leader of the apostles but he was the Son of God – the Messiah! In awe, they through down their cloaks in worship, as if bowing to him, and sang “Hosanna,” which is defined as an expression of joy and adoration. Everybody in the crowds was in complete awe of Christ despite his appearance, as a lowly, colt-riding carpenter. Through his humility, they saw compassion and holiness singing, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” They weren’t just excited, but awakened as they truly experienced the King of Kings, before them – in person!
With Palm Sunday, just having passed, we can reflect upon this event in order to shape our faith. Looking at Christ’s perfect example of humility, we can ask him to help direct us towards changes in attitude – to notice our boasting or high status, turning to humility and making others equal to, or higher than ourselves, rather than being a careless, “Look at me” individual. Becoming humble is key – it causes us to fully rely on God and our identity in Christ, as we allow his word to fulfil us.
Finally, we can respond as many did that day, by going to God and declaring him as Lord – King of Kings, whilst expressing adoration and praise; when we choose to shout with Joy, for the Glory of God, we fill with Godly excitement, and passion! Recommitting to God this Easter, whether as a first or a hundredth, and choosing to live a life of love, passion and satisfaction as we walk with our father (the King over all the earth and heavens) is the start to a fulfilling life, that God so desperately wants to give us (I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full John 10:10). So respond, await and be excited about Easter!
Come back on Friday for the next post, in this year’s Easter series! What was the most exciting day of your life? I’d love to hear!