The holiday comes with lots of fun activities and traditions, including stories of Easter egg hunts, bunnies and chocolate eggs. However, the central Christian message of Easter is that Jesus Christ rose victorious from the dead. The event of Jesus’ resurrection is so central to the confessions of the early Church that even today, 2000 years later, most Christians continue to worship on Sunday, the weekly anniversary of that resurrection.
The background of Easter is a story of great expectation, intrigue and treachery. Jesus of Nazareth became known throughout Roman occupied Palestine for his compassion, authentic preaching and miracles, as well as his prophetic challenge to the leaders of his people. By his life and testimony he was recognized by many as the Messiah, the Jewish term for a divinely appointed king. But he was tragically betrayed by one of his own disciples, falsely accused, tried, and then handed over to the civil authorities as a criminal. On a gloomy Friday he was executed by a method the Romans used to crush insurrections, crucifixion. As a result most of his disciples fled in fear.
However, three days later, by Jewish reckoning, Jesus rose from the dead. Some of his followers found his tomb empty. Soon others reported various encounters, seeing him, conversing with him and even eating with him. Just as important they discovered even in his physical absence a new capacity and fervor share the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus had spoken of.
His disciples spread the news of his life, death and resurrection through the network of Jewish synagogues, but many refused to accept the claims. The Jesus movement soon spread west into Greek and Latin speaking communities, as well as toward the east, south and north. As Christianity spread it took on the diverse flavors the cultures where it was planted, but held together by a common witness to the resurrection, as expressed in the faithful witness:
“Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
At Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church we seek to continue this witness through word and action, not only on Easter Sunday, but throughout the year. Come join us at 9:30 on Sunday morning, our weekly anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus.