I HOPE you enjoyed your long weekend over Easter. I wonder what you think about this festival?
Like Christmas, it’s a chance for families to get together and for children especially to be given some treats. Perhaps it has also involved days out or DIY?
For Christians, it’s the weekend when we celebrate the two things that transform our faith – the death and resurrection of Jesus. You may feel you know the story already and don’t need reminding of it. So let me tell it to you in a different way.
The rebel preacher, who had a life-changing message about love and forgiveness, was seen as a threat by the religious authorities.
They plotted with political leaders to get him arrested on a false charge, and whipped up a hysterical crowd to demand his execution.
A weak political leader, fearing the crowd’s reaction, allowed that death penalty to happen. In a very public place, Jesus’s hands and feet were nailed to pieces of wood. Every time he tried to draw breath, he had to haul his body up, ripping the palms of his hands on those nails each time.
Eventually, he suffocated to death in the most brutal way the Romans could find to kill someone.
Yet he had done nothing wrong. We believe he chose to go through this agony in our place – that he took the punishment for the things we do wrong. His death allows us to be forgiven and get a fresh start every day.
But that wasn’t the end. Inexplicably, his body went missing from the tomb, despite a crack team of Roman soldiers being on guard. His friends said they had seen him alive.
The authorities couldn’t produce the body, which would have stopped these stories. Crowds of people saw Jesus for themselves.
His disciples went to their deaths refusing to back down over their claims.
We believe this is the most crucial moment for our faith. It meant Jesus wasn’t just a martyr who sacrificed himself.
Coming back to life cemented his credentials as both man and God. It allows us to believe in an afterlife too.
If this all seems new to you, why not investigate further?
Come to our Church Alive services, from 10.45am each Sunday, and I’d be delighted to tell you more.
ST MARY’S CHURCH, Green Road, Alverstoke
Sunday services: 8am, 9.15am, 10.45am and 6.30pm