Easter is the most important time in the church’s year. The resurrection is the central belief of Christians. This is where Jesus rose from the dead, three days after being crucified on Good Friday.
The Resurrection is important for many reasons:
• God will give believers life again after they die. Like Jesus, we will have a life with Him in Heaven. We will have eternal life.
• The scriptures came true and many prophecies were fulfilled – it was said that Jesus would die and then rise again three days later.
• If Jesus had died and not risen from the dead, his death would have been like the death of any human, but he is the Son of God, as well as being human. It shows how powerful God is, He had the power to bring Him back to life.
• He proved his victory over sin and death by coming back to life. It means we can definitely have forgiveness from our sins.
And He departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find him. For He departed, and behold, He is here – St Augustine
Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring time – Martin Luther
Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song – Pope John Paul ll
We are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust – Pope Benedict XVI
Happy are those who have not seen and yet still believe – Jesus
An Easter Prayer
Of all of God’s gifts
Easter shows us our fate
Forgiven we will rise
And pass through Heaven’s gate
This Easter remember
The sacrifice of a Son
And through His resurrection
Eternal life we have won
This Easter I pray
That the love of God
Inside your heart
God Bless You! (Anon.)
A reading from the Gospel according to John.
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
The Gospel of our Lord
After they found the empty tomb, the Gospels state that Jesus made a series of appearances to the disciples. He was not immediately recognisable.
• He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, but she did not recognise him at first, she thought he was a gardener. She told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. (John 20: 11-19)
• The first two disciples to whom he appeared, walked and talked with him for quite a while without knowing who he was on the Road to Emmaus. He was then recognised “in the breaking of the bread”. (Luke 24: 13-33)
• When he first appeared to the disciples in the upper room, Thomas was not present and wouldn’t believe until a later appearance where he was invited to put his finger into the holes in Jesus’ hands and side. He then realised it was Jesus. Jesus said, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” (John 20: 19-29)
• Beside the Sea of Galilee, he helped his disciples to catch fish from their boat. They didn’t recognise him at first, but as soon as they caught the fish, they knew it was him. Again, he broke the bread. He asked Peter three times if he loved him. (This links back to Peter denying knowing Jesus times.) Then, he encouraged Peter to serve his followers and live the way he had taught him to. (John 21: 1-24)
• His final appearance was forty days after his resurrection, when he ascended into Heaven to be with his Father, sat at his right side. He told the disciples that he would come back to Earth, but it was up to his Father to decide when that would be, not him. (Acts 1: 6-12)
God our Father,
Help us to remember the message of Easter, that when things seem terrible and difficult, we can find new light, new hope.
The friends of Jesus thought they had lost Jesus and that he was dead forever. That Easter they slowly learnt that Jesus was truly alive- so that we may live our lives fully and one day join Him in heaven.
God our Father
All round us at this time of year, we see signs of new life, in flowers and trees, in the bird and animal world. In springtime, the whole world wakes up to new life. We know that you are there all the time, giving life to everything; the One who makes all things new.
Help us to know you better, through your Son, Jesus, who lives with you now and forever,
God our Father
Thank you for giving new and everlasting life to Jesus your Son, and thank you for giving Him to us so that we may share that life and live with you for ever. Help us to stay close to Him so that this life in us may grow. We ask this through that same Son, Jesus, who lives and reigns with you for ever.
God our Father
As we celebrate the Good News of your resurrection let us never forget your love for us. May we too share your Good News and this love with all those we meet. This Easter helps us to live life your way and to walk with you as your friends continued to do after that first Easter Sunday.