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Tuesday
Mar272018

April 2018

Easter is always a highlight of not only our Church calendar, but also of our lives as Christians.  Around the Church, Easter is a busy time.  There are special activities for the children.  Our musicians work on special numbers to be presented on and around the Easter event.  We have a special Good Friday service that reminds us of the price that Christ paid for us.  Easter is an important holiday for all of us who believe that Christ died for our sins and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day.

Over the years, I have heard a number of arguments concerning the exact timing of the crucifixion.  Several years ago, my mother-in-law brought up the idea to me that Jesus was not crucified on Friday, but earlier in the week, so that Jesus could be left in the tomb a full 72 hours, referencing Matthew 12: 40.  The simple explanation for all this is that in Hebrew culture, any part of any day would be considered the whole day.  This is the most common explanation and is widely accepted by most scholars.  However, there are those who find this timing to be a sticking point.  The 72 hour threshold satisfies our western minds and linear thinking.  I’ve heard people (my mother-in-law was one of them) aggressively defend the idea that Jesus was crucified earlier in the week than we generally think.  My personal short answer is the more broadly taken position that Jesus was crucified on Friday and that any part of any of those days was adequate to meet the Biblical descriptions.  But, if you disagree with that and hold to the concept that Jesus was crucified earlier in the week, that’s OK with me.  We can simply disagree over a timing issue.  And as a point of full disclosure, I don’t really care that much if I’m right on this issue or not.

However, the one thing in these events that we cannot disagree on is that God raised Jesus from the dead on Sunday morning. We don’t know how long it took the women to arrive at Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning.  We are certain they left their homes at sunrise.  It probably was not a long journey to the tomb, the Scripture indicates that they arrived there as early as they possibly could.  But, the one thing we know was that when they got to the tomb, it was empty.  The stone had been rolled away, the guards had been dispersed, and Jesus was gone.  It didn’t take long for them to discover that He was alive again!  We now had a living Savior!  The Son of God had been sacrificed for our sins, and now His mortal body was quickened from the dead and He is alive again!!  So it happened just as Jesus said it would on multiple occasions:  “From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” Matthew 16: 21 

You see, it really doesn’t matter to me if you see Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  What does matter to me is that you, I and all of us see Him escaping the tomb on Sunday.  For it is His resurrection from the dead that is the cornerstone of our faith.  Christianity rises or falls on the reality of the Resurrection.  If Jesus did not get out of that tomb, then we Christians are wrong and we have nothing to offer this world that it cannot find elsewhere.  But, if the Resurrection of Christ is a reality (and it certainly is) then we have a Truth that can be found nowhere else.  And that Truth is that Jesus is alive.  He was alive when the women returned to His tomb and He is alive today.

That’s the Good News of Easter.

Happy Easter!!

 

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