Written by James Pegg
Easter is my favourite time of the year. In my opinion it is the defining moment in the Christian calendar, in fact, I would go even further to say that the events of Easter is the most defining moment in history.
This story couldn't be imagined. It is incredible. I wonder which part of the story is your favourite part? The praise and adoration on Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem? Jesus rebuking those in the temple? The last supper? Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he shows genuine pain and sacrifice of His own will? Pilate's guilt? The words Jesus said whilst on the cross? Jesus’ humble words on the cross pleading with God for forgiveness for the people who crucified Him? Jesus’ conversation with the thief hanging next to Him and the promise of spending eternity in paradise for him? The Roman Soldiers conversion and admission that Jesus truly is the son of God? Jesus' amazing resurrection? So much happened in that short space of time it’s no wonder we call the week - "Holy Week".
One of my favourite songs is an old song called “And can it be”. Some of the words in this beautiful song are amazing. Have a read of this;
"And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"
What words! "How can it be that my God should die for me?" I think this blog is more of a testimony than anything. For those who have been to church for a good part of their lives they would have heard many times how important Jesus dying on the cross is. It's been said so many times it almost becomes something that we unconsciously take in without realising. We become numb to the sacrifice and we take for granted the pain and suffering Jesus went through for us. Or perhaps we’d just rather not think about it. It was not until a few years ago that I really came to terms with what this meant for me. I knew Jesus died for me but I never realised what that really meant. It was something accepted but not experienced. I was grateful without being overwhelmed by this truth. Now I cannot go through Good Friday without a tear in my eye because one Easter the death of Jesus became very real to me. I remember this happening one Good Friday and it was during the evening reflection. My minister at the time asked us to come and stand around a cross that was placed in the middle of the room. As I stood under the cross and looked up at these two rugged bits of wood, I realised exactly what Jesus did on Calvary - He died for me.
The reason that the Son of God, the creator of the universe, dies the most painful and humiliating death was because of my sin? I cannot comprehend that fact! Look at it like this; would you die for someone who is a murderer? My immediate reaction would be no, but what about this question? Would you give your child to take the place of a murderer who is sentenced to death? The idea horrifies me! Yet this is what God did for us on that very first Good Friday. The Old Testament clearly states that sin equals death, but because of Jesus - my debt is paid! Death has no control over me! Easter is life changing for me not just for my life on earth but now I can live with a confident hope that I will one day live with God.
What does Easter really mean to you? Is it another time of the year where we are simply reminded about the story of Jesus' death and resurrection? Or does the message of Easter transform the way you live your life?
What are you going to do this Easter time that will make this beautiful story real to you? Why not re-read the passage of scripture from the Easter story? Spend time getting to grips with each part of it and try to feel what each character feels at every step of the way. Spend time praying over the Easter story. Worship and sing the words that we know so well. Go and talk to someone who can help you experience Easter. Once all this is said and done, go and tell someone about this story and how Jesus died and rose again for them. This is something Jesus told us to do. In Mark 16:15 it says ‘He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”’
“Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"