Summary: Easter is the most fantastic time of the year, a time to be positive and time of joy. Christ is risen from the dead, death has lost its sting.
The Joy of Easter
Easter is a celebration of Christ’s victory over death and our hope for eternal life - surely if ever there was anything this gives us hope it is this - the Resurrection.
Easter day for me is the most positive day in the year, a day of Joy and Sunshine, a day of happiness and light and what’s more there are 50 days of Easter.
If that isn’t enough every Sunday is a celebration of Christ glorious resurrection, the 1st day of the week.
Our Sabbath isn’t on the 7th day, Saturday when God rested from creation, but rather we celebrate a new creation, Christ glorious resurrection from the dead on a Sunday the 1st day of the week.
To the Disciples the Resurrection of Jesus was something totally new and unexpected and even unbelievable.
It totally transformed them and gave them a new vision of life itself, real meaning and hope for the future, hope in a world where there was no hope, a future where there was no future and above all a purpose to life itself.
They had been witnesses to the suffering and death of Jesus and during that time they had remained hidden behind locked doors out of fear.
They were afraid that their fate was coming and that they would suffer the same suffering and death as Jesus - their hope in Jesus had been shattered.
The resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit brought about a complete turn around and they began boldly to proclaim that Jesus, who died on the Cross, was alive.
And later when they were arrested, persecuted and imprisoned, they rejoiced as they were now even more closely related to the life experience of their Lord through his resurrection.
The Acts of the Apostles tell us that they were courageous and were ready to suffer for his sake.
That Easter Sunday was a total reversal of the image of Good Friday.
His death which seemed to be a defeat before the world is now shown as a triumph, a victory over death; His dying on the cross in reality was a passage to new life, a far more glourious life.
For Jesus his death was a fulfilment of his Father’s will as he accepted it in total obedience and that led to his victory.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of Christianity; for his disciples and for us it was indeed a mystery.
Initialy they were not able to comprehend the fact of the Resurrection and grasp its deep inner meaning even though Jesus had spoken to them several times during his public ministry.
The resurrection built up their faith particularly because of their experience of the presence of the risen Jesus and made them courageous and ready to face any eventuality for their master.
Jesus stood among them, talked to them, ate with them just like one of them and He taught them just as they were called upon to build the faith of others.
The disciples once they knew that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had been resurrected from the dead they became totally transformed persons.
They were ready to face suffering and even death in His name – so strong was their faith in Him.
This Easter Joy is something that has to be shared, it is contagious, just like laughter and it is a gift from God, the Holy Spirit working within us to inspire us and to teach us the mysteries of the faith.
It is not sufficient for us to just sit back to experience and enjoy the joy of our Risen Master and Lord we need to share that experience and joy with as many people as possible.. it is our commission.
For them as it is for us the celebration of Easter totally reverses the image of Good Friday. It tells us what Good Friday is all about.
It tells us that what took place on the cross on Good Friday was not just the death of a good man but a real sacrifice, it was not a defeat but a triumph over sin and death, and it was not an end but a great beginning.
St Paul encapsulates this in his letters to Rome and Corinth, he starts by saying boldly, 'we preach Christ crucified' in his letter to the Romans written in about AD56.
Then in Corinthians written about the same time he clarifies that what he preaches is nothing without the resurrection, the power of the resurection makes the death of Jesus far more than the death of a good man.
If it was the name of Jesus bar Joseph he wouldn't even make the pages of history as many died in exactly the same way.
But Jesus bar Joseph became Jesus Christ because of the resurrection and His name lives on, now and in the future.