Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Easter Uncertainty

What is a Christian response to Easter? How should we feel about it and react to it? Are we to react differently to Good Friday than Easter Sunday?

At Christmas everyone is talking about it for weeks beforehand, there are the obligatory nativity's, there are Christmas meals and parties and the likes plus all the excitement of presents, trees, crackers and the like. Its easy for us to get excited about Christmas because the world is excited about Christmas! Though we would maintain we are celebrating differently.

But what about Easter? Do we have Easter traditions? Do we throw Easter Parties? How should we react? In the New Testament Easter is looked back upon seriously but with celebration. Take Acts 2:22f

“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Peter proclaims Easter as victorious, it is not the day of the defeated but a celebration of victory. Yes it shows us the seriousness of sin as Christ dies for our rebellion - but the joy is that Christ is dying for our rebellion and Easter assures us that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified both Lord and Messiah. Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!

Easter is a time for Christians to be party people, are we?

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