Saturday 8 April 2023

Easter Day
This Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as countless millions have done so over the centuries, but we face a battle to proclaim our message as secular extremists try to create a spiritual vacuum. Our message is that Jesus Christ is the One who died on a Cross for the forgiveness of our sins and rose again on the third day. That is unique, feat which no other religion can match.

The story begins with Mary Magdelene, the one who loved Jesus dearly because of the help He had given her, being last at the Cross and first at the tomb crying bitterly. She ran for Peter who with John ran to the tomb, and John being the younger got their first, but he let Peter enter the tomb being the stronger character. They realised Jesus must have risen as He had foretold, for there were no clothes present.

We notice here two believers, one gentle and reserved as John, whilst Peter was always more impulsive and decisive, each revealing their devotion in different ways. There is room for all characters in the Church.

The men left the scene, but Mary stayed and was rewarded when she became the first person to meet the risen Lord. Jesus spoke one word to her and she flung herself at His feet. He told her to go and tell the disciples what she had found.

This is what Easter is all about, the real spiritual message that Jesus rose from the dead, not the money making enterprise it has become. Easter is celebrated to remind us, that when our days on this earth are over we have the assurance we shall live with our Lord if we have accepted Him as Saviour. The resurrection is the foundation of Christianity.

Whilst there is much about our faith that sorts is respected by people who are not practising Christians, such as being forgiven of sin, hearing that God is love (very popular), but they think that is a free for all without any commitment. They will come to Church for a baptism, and make all of promises simply because it is a necessary requirement, but they don’t take things seriously or literally. Things are not made any by the irresponsible liberals within the Church, who themselves question much of the faith.

If someone had said a hundred years ago that we could sit in our homes, and by watching a box in the corner of the room show events then happening on the other side of the world; or that by taking a small handset pressing a few buttons, you could speak to someone in any part of the world they would have been deemed to be insane. Yet it happens every day man made, and we still question what the Almighty God can achieve.

If Easter had not happened; if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then we have no faith. Christianity rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus. This has been proclaimed down the ages and if not true, the Bible writers would have lied, and millions of people would have made great sacrifices in the cause of the faith in vain.

 Why would educated men like Paul, and down to earth fishermen lie when they had nothing to gain by doing so? Paul had a brilliant mind, one of the finest minds of his day, and was a determined opponent of Christianity, yet God convinced him ,and in consequence Paul suffered very much for the sake of the gospel.

If Jesus had not been raised there would be no forgiveness, we would have no future, but the evidence is overwhelming in favour. First century witnesses and documents tell. We have testimony from men present at that time, that the resurrection of Jesus was real, objective and physical,

This is what the Church has always believed in over two thousand years of Christian witness, that has sustained the hearts of millions.

The Apostles Creed does not say I believe in the forgiveness of sins and the spiritual resurrection of Jesus, it says I believed in the resurrection of the body. When liberals challenge this they do so in spite of all the evidence.

After the resurrection we find the Apostles preaching openly and fearlessly, and suffering violently for doing so. Men do not invent stories to be put in prison and get beaten up, or hung on a cross like Peter.

Through centuries that have followed, brilliant men and women have experienced the same fellowship and power in their lives, in addition to peace of mind. They were not simple minded people, but some of the greatest scholars of their day.

Thank God there was an empty tomb, for it proclaims that death is the door to eternal life. Let us always remember that Jesus never changes, He is the same yesterday to today for ever, and will take care of all who believe and put their trust in Him.

May you have a happy and blessed Easter


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