“We are Easter people. Even today in every church and gathering you can hear people testify to their encounters with the Risen Lord.”
Easter is the most significant event in the Christian calendar, for on that day we believe Jesus Christ, the Son of God, rose from the dead. Also known as Pasch (from Pesach, Hebrew for Passover) or Resurrection Sunday, Easter is more than just Easter eggs and bunnies. The event of Easter is so central to the confessions of the early Church that even today, 2,000 years later, most Christians continue to worship on Sunday, the weekly anniversary of Christ’s resurrection.
The miracle of Easter springs from a story of great expectation, intrigue and treachery. Jesus of Nazareth became known throughout Roman-occupied Palestine for his compassion, authentic preaching and miracles, but also for his prophetic challenge to the leaders of the people. By his life and testimony he was recognised as the Messiah, the Son of God. But he was tragically betrayed by one of his own disciples during the Jewish Passover feast, falsely accused and tried, then handed over to the civil authorities as a criminal. On a black Friday he was executed by the common and cruel method Romans used to crush insurrections, crucifixion. His death was verified by both personal and official observers, the Roman soldiers who carried out the execution.
However, three days later, by Jewish reckoning, Jesus rose from the dead. First, small groups of his disciples found his tomb empty, followed by scattered reports of his appearance to individual followers, then eventually to all the disciples and later to a group of over 50 persons. The multiple eyewitness accounts clears away all claims that the resurrection was just hallucination, mistaken identity or a fabrication. “He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today!”
We are Easter people. Even today in every church and gathering you can hear people testify to their encounters with the Risen Lord. With the ancient church we repeat the faithful witness.
“Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
The full account of the resurrection can be found in the four Gospels of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) as well as a brief mention in the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (Antiquities XVIII.iii.3).