This joyful Eastertide!
This month, we celebrate the event that is at the very heart of the Christian faith and our church life. The Apostle St. Paul, one of the earliest followers of Jesus, wrote:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Note the emphasis on ‘first importance’!
Later in that Chapter, he writes: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Talk about saying it as it is! In other words, if Easter is a complete illusion then what we do on Sundays and during the week is a complete waste of time! We’d be better off having a lie in, going for a nice coffee or a walk by the sea.
But Easter is true! Firstly, the tomb was empty on Easter morning and no one has ever provided an alternative explanation of why that was the case, despite many people (including deep cynics) trying their best. In fact, one lawyer who attempted to do that came to the conclusion that the only explanation was that Jesus had indeed risen physically from being dead – and then that lawyer became a believer himself!
Secondly, Jesus appeared to lots of people! These eyewitnesses recorded what they saw. What’s more, when challenged about it, they stuck to their guns, even when that meant facing death. They would surely not have wanted to die for something they knew to be a lie?!
So please come and join us for worship, and/or a visit to our ‘Holy Week Experience’ around the church. Be renewed in Easter joy. Because the tomb was empty and Jesus appeared. Happy Easter!