Wed April 12th, 2017
If you were to take a poll of non-Christians as to which is the most important Christian festival, I am fairly sure that they would come down on Christmas – it is certainly the most visible of Christian festivals.
If you talked to Christians however, the answer might be different. We do value Christmas because we celebrate God’s Son being born into our world, in fact Johns gospel says this:
The Word became flesh and blood,and moved into the neighbourhood. (John 1:14)
Like the rest of the world we love feasting and presents and so we celebrate Christmas even though it has been greatly secularized today. We look forward to the Queen’s speech for her mention of Jesus and we celebrate with carols and special times of Christmas worship.
Pentecost is one of the big three Christian festivals, not only because the Holy Spirit was poured out that day, but because in many points of view it was the birthday of the Church.
If you corner most Christians they will tell you that Easter is the biggest and most important Christian festival, because it is the time we remember the sacrificial death of Jesus and His glorious resurrection. We begin on Palm Sunday, remembering Jesus entering Jerusalem to shouts of Hosanna (Save us!) and remember His arrest, torture and eventual crucifixion on Good Friday. The cross was not the end though - even though Jesus cried out ‘It is finished’ before he breathed his last, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Yes, the way in to God was opened by the death of Jesus, but would it really have been enough without Easter Sunday? The resurrection of Jesus changed everything. Death was no longer the end, there was a way to God that was endorsed by its founder who ever lives to intercede for us to God – our divine defence attorney.
if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous one. 2 He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:1)
An advocate – a defence lawyer – amazing! Jesus is always alive to speak for us! How great the resurrection is – it means that Jesus is always alive and it also gives us hope that we will also go through a resurrection too!
We make a lot about Easter; Christmas was great and babies are wonderful, but Easter was the mission that the Christmas baby was born for. Jesus was born for the cross, but the cross was never going to master Him. The biggest day over Easter is not the bank holiday on Monday, but the day we remember the resurrection – Easter Sunday.
Ron Kenoly sings it this way (and we will be starting our Easter Service with this song):
all the earth had trembled
The sun had hid it's face and
All the men that walked with Him
Had turned and run away
They crucified the Saviour
And laid Him in a tomb
The life that once
Brought love and hope
Slipped away that afternoon
Satan gleamed with pleasure
That day at Calvary
For he thought he had won
A mighty victory
And like him all of the demons
Of hell began to cheer
O but little did they know
Their end was growing near
early Sunday morning
Just like Jesus said
He broke the curse
Of sin and death
And He rose up from the dead
Now we have a new beginning
And a kingdom that has no ending
Jesus is alive
Death has lost its victory
And the grave has been denied
Jesus lives forever
He's alive He's alive
the Alpha and Omega
The first and last is He
The curse of sin is broken
And we have perfect liberty
The Lamb of God is risen
He's alive He's alive
He's the author and
The finisher of our faith
The stone they threw away
Is the cornerstone today
Death has no more vict'ry
And the grave has no more sting
A mighty God is He
The Everlasting Father
He's the precious Prince of Peace
He's the Word that lives forever
He's alive, He's alive
He's alive, He's alive
The resurrection changes everything – it’s earth shattering reality breaks into where we are and offers us a hand to pull us up. We don’t worship anyone dead. We worship a living Jesus! A living God! We don’t venerate a dead teacher we are getting to know a living Jesus. We have a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth!
This is what makes Christianity unique and exciting – we get to know our creator, our saviour, our God.
You can know someone who is alive, if they are dead, you can learn about them but will never know them!
We believe that at the cross Jesus dealt with sin and failure and made a way for us to know God, but when he got up he sealed the deal,
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Heb 7:25
In deference to Christmas, we also give chocolate eggs away to celebrate that the tomb is empty. One year our kids went to play with some others having received their one Easter egg each, only to find that their friends had received 17. We have made Easter about over indulgence too! There is no Easter bunny in the bible (nor anywhere else for that matter) but there is an empty tomb and a living Jesus that you can get to know.
Why not make this Easter about getting to know Jesus?