What does Easter and what do a wooden cross, churches, people and crowds, hot cross buns, chicks, chocolate, food, bank holiday and traffic jams all have in common!
Bank Holiday Mondays happen because of Easter, an event that we know to be true, some 2,000 years ago.
That just leaves with a simple question and a simple choice...
Easter, a time when we think of eggs, Easter eggs, bunnies, the cross, church, lots of people, hot cross buns, chicks, chocolate, food, and maybe traffic jams.
John, chapter 3, verse 16.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Hi, my name's Andy B, and this is Jo Jo. And today we're looking at Why Easter?
Easter is as real as a bank holiday. There's a reason for the celebration. It isn't random, and neither are you!
And here in the UK, we have Bank Holiday weekend. If you are in a normal working situation, you have two, four day, weeks, which is kinda cool. And it's all because of Easter. And actually if you're in the UK, and you're celebrating these Bank Holidays, actually you're part of the celebration of Jesus dying and rising again.
Yes, we call it the death and resurrection. Jesus loves us whether we know it or not. We just have to choose whether to believe in Jesus or not. Or whether to believe in Easter or not.
It started with purpose. It started with a purpose. You are that purpose!
John 10 Verse 10.
"A thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance!"
So, Jo, what does living life to the max look like for you?
Oh, well, I quite like to be busy, to do, be doing things have activities, and be with my family. I like to have nice food. And I think
Yeah, and I think it's important to, to have joy, even when you're having a bad day, or it's raining or whatever, that you find some joy and peace throughout the day,
No matter what's going on. But, yeah, and there's also a sense of purpose. And like knowing you've got something important to do in this life. I think all those things are important.
Okay, fair enough. So here are my thoughts on this. When God made the world, He designed us. He is the designer of people, so the Bible tells us. And He created us to be a certain way, and He wants the best for us.
Let's roll on a bit in time. We've got Jesus on earth, Jesus' very first miracle is turning water into the best type of wine at a party. So, quite clearly, God wants us to enjoy life!We're not supposed to go down as Christians with misery, and bored, and oh, that's not the point. Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. So he clearly is part of wanting us to be enjoying the days.
Perhaps you've got a new car. You think, well I'll get a new car, and then life will be better, because it'll be more reliable, so I can get to work and that will be safer. And then I'll get a better job which is more, more protected. And then I'll be in a better place. But you get the new job and you think well, maybe I should try a bit harder and do some more. Or you, you've got your new car on the drive and you're calculating how much it's devalued in the last 30 minutes, and the next day. And you get a stone chip and it's like, oh no, what's gone on? All of a sudden this thing that was supposed to bring you joy, is actually bringing you worry, and anxiety. And that's not God's best. Nothing wrong with a new car at all. But it's not God's best for us when we get anxious, and when we're worried and stressed about life.
Luke chapter 22, verse 44, says this.
"Jesus was full of pain. He prayed even more. Sweat dripped from his face, as if He were bleeding."
So what's so good about Good Friday? Well, Jesus was both God and man, and He experienced emotions. As we've heard in the scriptures, he was in tremendous pain emotionally, as His friends abandoned Him, and He felt betrayed. And He knew what was coming. And we know that He, He shed such tears that there was blood. And scientifically we know that meant he was worried, and anxious, to such extremity. And we know that Jesus mourned with those who mourned. He wept. Jesus wept. God made us emotional for a purpose.
As Christians, it's easy to skip ahead to Easter Sunday. But, actually, as we think about Monday Thursday and Good Friday, we have to remember that Jesus went through torture. He went through pain. He went through rejection, isolation, sleep deprivation. All of this stuff was going on while the soldiers mocked him about what was gonna happen the following day. And that's something that we should remember with some sadness about. And the reason we need to remember that sadness is exactly the reason why Jesus went through that.
It wasn't random or happenstance that it went on. Jesus came with a purpose. He chose to allow Himself to be going through all of that stuff. And eventually, the following day, Good Friday, to be taken to a hill outside where they were, and nailed to a tree, or a cross, until He was dead.
The soldiers who were in charge of that were really, really expert at killing people. They were also really expert at recognising dead bodies. And we've got the account in the Bible where they get a spear and they shove it in the side of Jesus. The blood and water flowed, is what they saw. We know that's blood and plasma, but that's a dead person. That's the body internally breaking apart. That's not, 'oh He's not very well,' that's 'He's dead, He's gone'. And that's what they saw.
And the atheists of the day, some of the religious leaders who hated Jesus because He wasn't what they thought He should be, they were suddenly seeing people coming out of the rocks, in tombs, and buried, and they were coming out alive. And seeing people that they'd buried six months ago, loads of accounts of that.
You've got the temple curtain, the really important temple, and the curtain in the Holy of Holies. It ripped from the top to the bottom. That's backwards! It should rip the other way around. That was another part of the fact that, that this, this whole thing was going on. It was more than just somebody dying, who was a bit of a criminal. And of course, Jesus wasn't a criminal, He did no wrong.
And there was an interesting thing years ago, quite a few times now. Judges have gone through this in a proper kind of court context. And they've reviewed the evidence, and they're saying, beyond reasonable doubt, we know that Jesus was a man. We know that Jesus of Nazareth walked around Jerusalem. We know that Jesus of Nazareth was hung. We know that he was definitely beyond any realms of fantasy, He was definitely dead. And we also know that three days later, He was alive again. So, without any doubt, we know that that is all true. Which leads us to a bunch of questions and a bunch of choices about what, what do we think we should be doing?
And the single choice we have is, if all of that is real, and we know that all the stuff about Jesus was real. There's too many manuscripts. Historians don't argue about whether Jesus was real or not. We know He was! Which just leaves us with a single choice about whether you want to believe that Jesus actually died and rose again for you, for me or not.
Psalm 23 says this,
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. he makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul, he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever."
You have a choice. We all have a choice. Jesus has already chosen you. And he's already chosen me. When He died on the cross, He made that choice, once and for all. It can't be undone. So will you choose to love Jesus? To love Him? Because He already chose to love you? Will you, like I have already done, choose to dwell in the house of the Lord, forever, as we heard at the end of that Psalm?
If you want to follow Jesus, if you want to say, do you know what, this death and resurrection thing, this Easter time, I know that Jesus died for me. And I know that He was born again because He loves me. If you want to follow Jesus, if you want to call yourself a Christian, to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, will you pray with me now?
Father, God, thank You for this moment in time that you died on the cross, and that you rose again three days later. Thank you that history records the facts of that. It records it in Scripture. And we've got so many situations where we know this to be true, beyond any reasonable doubt.
Father, would you forgive me when I've not walked as you would want me to walk? When I've done things to hurt you to offend you, that make you upset and sad. Would you forgive me father? Would you wash me clean, as white as the purest snow again, so I can know your peace in this life now.
Father, I know that you forgive me because I've said those things. I know that being a disciple of you is what I want to do, and I want to walk with you. I want to follow your ways. I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Would you help me Lord Jesus Christ. And by the power of your Holy Spirit, would you inspire me to read the Bible, and to enjoy it, to new learn new things?
And let me know the peace of Christ in my life today. Amen.
If you've prayed that prayer with me today, fantastic! Maybe it's the first time. Maybe you've done it again. We pray it as a family when we hear somebody doing that. We pray along with 'em, 'cos it's always good to do that when, when we need to, and when we have the opportunity to. To put ourselves right with God. Maybe that's for the first time at this moment. Maybe it's for the 100th time. Doesn't matter! God's always there ready!
If you have prayed that prayer with me now, would you get in touch with us via our website. There's a Contact page or an email, so we can support you? We can put you in touch with a local church. Or you can speak to a local church. Go and find your local vicar, or pastor or whatever, and tell them what you've done in praying this prayer, and saying I want to, I want it to be a Christian. That'd be fantastic!
I hope you've enjoyed today's we look at Why Easter? Have a great rest of your day wherever, or whenever, you are in time ,or in the world watching this.
Bye for now!
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Written by Berry Bunch family