The Easter Season belongs to us. The traditional church calendar gives us several opportunities each year to publically share some of the most basic and enduring truths of our Christian faith. Easter is one of those open seasons for proclaiming the good news of life, joy, forgiveness and hope.
Unique to Christianity, the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ exposes the historical roots of the gospel. Jesus was born, lived a holy life and died on the cross, under Roman sentence as a Messianic pretender. All we have to do is recall the words which the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate had nailed to the cross where Jesus died. The custom was to display the crime for which the person was being crucified. In Jesus’ case, his ‘crime’ was that he was the KING OF THE JEWS.
A threat to the Roman establishment and an offence to the Jewish religious opinion of the day, Jesus was executed like a common criminal. And yet, there was nothing common about him! Even Pilate knew he was innocent. The trumped-up charges were a sham and the baying crowd was no doubt rented. It was an apparent triumph of politics and religion over truth.
But the resurrection turned the tables on every institutional force and systemic evil, visible and invisible, conspiring to keep things as they were. They killed him on Friday and by Sunday, it was too late. Life prevailed over death and light triumphed over darkness.
All these events were historically observable and verifiable. From the baby Jesus in the manger, to the adult Rabbi preaching, teaching and healing the multitudes, right up to the resurrected Lord, showing himself to be alive with many “infallible proofs” – all these events were attested by eyewitnesses. The New Testament records prove that the death and resurrection of Christ was being consistently proclaimed by all the key leaders of early Christianity a matter of months (not decades or generations) after the events took place.
This Christ of history is the Christ of faith that gave birth to the first generation of disciples and has sustained the life and the growth of the Christian church ever since.
Make the most of Easter – tell the world, “He is not dead, but alive – and alive for evermore!”