Ostern ist das älteste und wichtigste Fest im Jahreskreis der Kirche, an dem man die Auferstehung von Jesus Christus feiert. Bereits im 2. Jahrhundert wurde es gefeiert. Die Osterfeier beginnt in der Nacht zum Sonntag nach dem ersten Frühlingsvollmond. Die eigentliche Osterliturgie findet daher in der Nacht bzw. am frühen Morgen statt (vgl. Osternacht).
Der Gründonnerstag wird am Donnerstag vor dem Ostersonntag gefeiert. An Abend beginnt mit der Gründonnerstagsliturgie die Heiligen drei Tage, das österliche Triduum. Im Schott-Meßbuch werden diese drei Tage als "einziger Tag" bezeichnet.
Einsetzung der Heiligen Messopfers.
Zu den Besonderheiten der Liturgie gehört, dass an diesem Tag die letzte Hl. Messe vor der Osternacht gefeiert wird. Es ist üblich, dass die Hl. Eucharistie vom eigentlichen Tabernakel in der Kirche entfernt wird und diese in einen kleineren Neben-Tabernakel übertrag wird, wo es die Anbetungsmöglichkeit gibt. Außerdem läuten bei der Liturgie zum Gloria ebenfalls bis zur Osternacht zum letzten Mal die Glocken, anschließend beginnt das Schweigen.
Eine weitere Besonderheit der Gründonnerstags-Liturgie ist die Fußwaschung.
Am Karfreitag gedenkt die Kirche des Leidens und des Todes Christi. Der Karfreitag und der Aschermittwoch gehören zu den zwei kirchlich vorgeschriebenen strengen Fasttagen, an dem man sich nur einmal sättigen (Fasten), wobei zwei kleine Stärkungen erlaubt sind, und kein Fleisch gegessen und kein Alkohol genossen werden darf (Abstinenz).
Das Gebot der "einmaligen Sättigung" gilt für Christen ab dem 18. bis zum 60. Lebensjahr, der Verzicht auf Fleischspeisen und Alkohol für alle Christen. Kranke sind davon ausgenommen.
In der Liturgie findet an diesem Tag keine Hl. Messe statt. Am Nachmittag findet in Deutschland meistens um 15 Uhr eine eigene Karfreitagsliturgie statt. Im Rahmen der Karfreitagsliturgie wird üblicherweise (aber nicht immer) die Hl. Eucharistie gespendet (nur Kommunionspendung, keine Messfeier, keine Hl. Wandlung!).
Meist findet in Österreich der Kreuzweg um 15 Uhr - zur Stunde des Leidens und Todes unseres Herrn am Kreuz - statt. Abends wird dann die Karfreitagsliturgie gefeiert. Berührend ist die "Prostratio", das sich-Hinwerfen der Priester und Assistenz vor dem Kreuz zum Zeichen der Busse, der Ehrfurcht und Ganzhingabe. Weiters die Kreuzerhebung, bei der unter dem dreimaligen Ruf des Priesters: "Seht das Holz des Kreuzes, an dem das Heil der Welt gehangen!" und der Antwort des Volkes: "Kommt lasset uns anbeten" das Vortragekreuz enthüllt wird, und die schweigende Kreuzverehrung mit tiefer Kniebeuge, oft auch mit der Darbringung von Rosen oder anderen Blumen.
Im Rahmen der Karfreitagsliturgie werden die "großen Fürbitten" gesprochen. Die Karfreitagsliturgie endet vielerortens noch mit einer Möglichkeit zur stillen Anbetung an einem Seitenaltar, der als Heiliges Grab gestaltet ist, in der abgedunkelten Kirche.
Die Kreuzigung war eine bei den Römern und davor auch schon bei den Griechen beliebte Hinrichtungsart, der auch Jesus Christus zum Opfer fiel.
Erwähnung in der Bibel
Jesus musste den Querbalken seines Kreuzes - nicht, wie oft dargestellt wird, das gesamte Kreuz - die Via Dolorosa nach Golgota tragen. Geschwächt von der Geißelung brach er auf dem Weg mehrere Male zusammen, und musste doch, angetrieben von den Römern, weiter gehen.
Auf Golgota angekommen, wurde Jesus zunächst mit seinen Händen an den Querbalken und später mit beiden Beinen an den sich bereits im Erdboden befindlichen Senkrechtstamm genagelt. Über seinem Kopf wurde eine Tafel mit der Aufschrift INRI angebracht, die auf den zum Tode Verurteilten als Jesus von Nazareth, den König der Juden, hinwies. Mit Jesus wurden auch zwei Verbrecher gekreuzigt, von denen einer seine Verbrechen bereute, und den Jesus mit den Worten tröstete, dass beide noch am selben Tag im Paradies sein würden. Sechs Stunden nach der Kreuzigung starb Jesus am Kreuz. Die christliche Auffassung legt den Todeszeitpunkt auf 15:00 Uhr fest. Für die Kreuzabnahme wird der frühe Abend vermutet, daher die Bezeichnung Maria Vesperbild für die Pieta.
Why Did Jesus Have to Die On the Cross?
Few people – including those appointed by the Church – can explain the correctly. Today one of them even told that it was only to show how bad WE are, what we are capable of doing (so Jesus did not really sacrifice Himself. Actually, it need not have happened. This is not only nonsense, this is a heresy). For clarification, let’s read the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
II. CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE DEATH IN GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION
"Jesus handed over according to the definite plan of God"
599 Jesus' violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God's plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: "This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God."393 This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.394
600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."395 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.396
"He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures"
601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of "the righteous one, my Servant" as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.397 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had "received", St. Paul professes that "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures."398 In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant.399 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant.400 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.401
"For our sake God made him to be sin"
602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers... with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake."402 Man's sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."404
603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God "did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all", so that we might be "reconciled to God by the death of his Son".407
God takes the initiative of universal redeeming love
604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins."408 God "shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."409
605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."410 He affirms that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many"; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us.411 The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer."412
III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS
Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father
606 The Son of God, who came down "from heaven, not to do (his) own will, but the will of him who sent (him)",413 said on coming into the world, "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God." "and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."414 From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father's plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work."415 The sacrifice of Jesus "for the sins of the whole world"416 expresses his loving communion with the Father. "The Father loves me, because I lay down my life", said the Lord, "(for) I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father."417
607 The desire to embrace his Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus' whole life,418 for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. and so he asked, "and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour."419 and again, "Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"420 From the cross, just before "It is finished", he said, "I thirst."421
"The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world"
608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".422 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover.423 Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."424
Jesus freely embraced the Father's redeeming love
609 By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus "loved them to the end", for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."425 In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men.426 Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord."427 Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death.428
At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life
610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles "on the night he was betrayed".429 On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: "This is my body which is given for you." "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."430
611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice.431 Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it.432 By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth."433
The agony at Gethsemani
612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,434 making himself "obedient unto death". Jesus prays: "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . ."435 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.436 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the "Author of life", the "Living One".437 By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for "he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree."438
Christ's death is the unique and definitive sacrifice
613 Christ's death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world",439 and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the "blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".440
614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.441 First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.442
Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience
615 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous."443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who "makes himself an offering for sin", when "he bore the sin of many", and who "shall make many to be accounted righteous", for "he shall bear their iniquities".444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445
Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross
616 It is love "to the end"446 that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.447 Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died."448 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. the existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.
617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ's sacrifice as "the source of eternal salvation"449 and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us."450 and the Church venerates his cross as she sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope."451
Our participation in Christ's sacrifice
618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men".452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow (him)",454 for "Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps."455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457 Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458
619 "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (⇒ I Cor 15:3).
620 Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because "he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (⇒ I Jn 4:10). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (⇒ 2 Cor 5:19).
621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: "This is my body which is given for you" (⇒ Lk 22:19).
622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many" (⇒ Mt 20:28), that is, he "loved [his own] to the end" (⇒ Jn 13:1), so that they might be "ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers" (⇒ I Pt 1:18).
623 By his loving obedience to the Father, "unto death, even death on a cross" (⇒ Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf ⇒ Is 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will "make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (⇒ Is 53:11; cf. ⇒ Rom 5:19).
393 ⇒ Acts 2:23.
394 Cf. ⇒ Acts 3:13.
395 ⇒ Acts 4:27-28; cf. ⇒ Ps 2:1-2.
396 Cf. ⇒ Mt 26:54; ⇒ Jn 18:36; ⇒ 19:11; ⇒ Acts 3:17-18.
397 ⇒ Is 53:11; cf. ⇒ 53:12; ⇒ Jn 8 34-36; ⇒ Acts 3:14.
398 ⇒ 1 Cor 15:3; cf. also ⇒ Acts 3:18; ⇒ 7:52; ⇒ 13:29; ⇒ 26:22-23.
399 Cf. ⇒ Is 53:7-8 and ⇒ Acts 8:32-35.
400 Cf. ⇒ Mt 20:28.
401 Cf. ⇒ Lk 24:25-27, ⇒ 44-45.
402 I Pt 1:18-20.
403 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:12; ⇒ I Cor 15:56.
404 ⇒ 2 Cor 5:21; cf. ⇒ Phil 2:7; ⇒ Rom 8:3.
405 Cf. ⇒ Jn 8:46.
406 ⇒ Mk 15:34; ⇒ Ps 22:2; cf. ⇒ Jn 8:29.
407 ⇒ Rom 8:32; ⇒ 5:10.
408 ⇒ I John 4:10; ⇒ 4:19.
409 ⇒ Rom 5:8.
410 ⇒ Mt 18:14.
411 ⇒ Mt 20:28; cf. ⇒ Rom 5:18-19.
412 Council of Quiercy (853): DS 624; cf. ⇒ 2 Cor 5:15; I ⇒ Jn 2:2[ETML:C/].
413 ⇒ Jn 6:38.
414 ⇒ Heb 10:5-10.
415 ⇒ Jn 4:34.
416 1 ⇒ Jn 2:2[ETML:C/].
417 ⇒ Jn 10:17; ⇒ 14:31.
418 Cf ⇒ Lk 12:50; ⇒ 22:15; ⇒ Mt 16:21-23.
419 ⇒ Jn 12:27.
420 ⇒ Jn 18:11.
421 ⇒ Jn 19:30; ⇒ 19:28.
422 ⇒ Jn 1:29; cf. ⇒ Lk 3:21; ⇒ Mt 3:14-15; ⇒ Jn 1:36.
423 ⇒ Is 53:7, ⇒ 12; cf. Jer 11:19; ⇒ Ex 12:3-14; ⇒ Jn 19:36; ⇒ 1 Cor 5:7.
424 ⇒ Mk 10:45.
425 ⇒ Jn 13:1; ⇒ 15:13.
426 Cf. ⇒ Heb 2:10, ⇒ 17-18; ⇒ 4:15; ⇒ 5:7-9.
427 ⇒ Jn 10:18.
428 Cf. ⇒ Jn 18:4-6; ⇒ Mt 26:53.
429 Roman Missal, EP III; cf. ⇒ Mt 26:20; ⇒ I Cor 11:23.
430 ⇒ Lk 22:19; ⇒ Mt 26:28; cf. ⇒ I5.7Cor 5:7.
431 ⇒ 1 Cor 11:25.
432 Cf. ⇒ Lk 22:19.
433 ⇒ Jn 17:19; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1752; 1764.
434 Cf. ⇒ Mt 26:42; ⇒ Lk 22:20.
435 ⇒ Phil 2:8; ⇒ Mt 26:39; cf. ⇒ Heb 5:7-8.
436 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:12; ⇒ Heb 4:15.
437 Cf. ⇒ Acts 3:15; ⇒ Rev 1:17; ⇒ Jn 1:4; ⇒ 5:26.
438 2 Pt 224; cf. ⇒ Mt 26:42.
439 ⇒ Jn 1:29; cf. ⇒ 8:34-36; ⇒ 1 Cor 5:7; ⇒ 2 Pt 1:19.
440 ⇒ Mt 26:28; cf. ⇒ Ex 24:8; ⇒ Lev 16:15-16; ⇒ 2 Cor 11:25.
441 Cf. ⇒ Heb 10:10.
442 Cf. ⇒ Jn 10:17-18; ⇒ 15:13; ⇒ Heb 9:14; ⇒ 1 Jn 4:10.
443 ⇒ Rom 5:19.
444 ⇒ Is 53:10-12.
445 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
446 ⇒ Jn 13:1.
447 Cf. ⇒ Gal 2:20; ⇒ Eph 5:2, ⇒ 25.
448 ⇒ 2 Cor 5:14.
449 ⇒ Heb 5:9.
450 Council of Trent: DS 1529.
451 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis.
452 1 Tim 2:5.
453 GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.
454 ⇒ Mt 16:24.
455 I Pt 2:21.
456 Cf ⇒ Mk 10:39; ⇒ Jn 21:18-19; ⇒ Col 1:24.
457 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2:35.
458 St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).
Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Der erste und der zweite Adam
Die Parallelen sind kaum zu übersehen:
Adam wurde von Gott unter einem lebendigen Baum zu Schlafen gelegt. Gott öffnete seine Seite und formte daraus seine Braut, Eva. Durch diesen Adam kam nach dem Sündenfall die Sünde in die Welt.
Jesus wurde von den Menschen unter dem Baum des Todes (dem Kreuz) "zu schlafen gelegt" (also getötet). Ihm wurde von Menschen die Seite geöffnet - und Sein Leib und Sein Blut waren und sind wesentlicher Teil Seiner neuen Braut - der Kirche. Und so wie die Sünde durch den ersten Adam in die Welt kam, brach der zweite Adam (Jesus) die Macht der Sünde und gab uns die Möglichkeit, Söhne und Töchter Gottes zu werden!
Waum musste Jesus für unsere Sünden sterben?
Gott hat uns bereits durch die Profeten gesagt, dass unsere Gerechtigkeit wie ein Haufen schmutziger Lumpen ist. Im Hebräerbrief lesen wir weiterhin, dass es ohne Blutvergießen keine Befreiung bzw. kein Erlass von Sünden geben kann. Der Mensch allein kan Gott nicht gefallen. Hierfür braucht er/sie die Gnade Gottes. Die wiederum kann er/sie nur beommen, wenn er/sie sein/ihr Leben ganz Jesu übergibt.
Gott kann Sünden nicht einfach übergehen und sich davon abwenden. Gott ist gut - Er ist aber auch heilig und gerecht. Darum musste Jesus sterben: um die Schuld zu begleichen, die die Menschheit Gott zu bezahlen hat. Wie es in einem alten Lied heisst: Er zahlte eine Schuld, die nicht die Seine war, sow wie ich wiederum eine Schuld mein eigen nenne, die ich nicht bezahlen kann.
Der Lohn der Sünde ist der Tod. Deshalb hat Gott auch das System des Opfers eingeführt, damit jemand an deiner/meiner Stelle sterben konnte.
Jesus ist das ultimative Opfer.
Der Karsamstag ist der Tag zwischen Karfreitag und der Osternacht. Die Kirche gedenkt an diesem Tag noch immer des Leidens Christi, ist aber bereits in der Erwartung der Auferstehung.
Importance of the Resurrection 1 Cor. 15
Or Life After Death!
(Will I Live Again)
Once again the Christian world looks to the Cross as this is the time we celebrate Easter, or the resurrection of Christ. The secular world also celebrates Easter, but only for the fun of it. There is no other appeal to them to celebrate Easter other than for the fun in eating Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies etc. It offers them no satisfaction beyond the here and now. It offers them absolutely nothing for the future, nor for eternity.
But the Christian world looks to Easter for much more than the here and now. We look and celebrate Easter because it offers us hope for eternity. Life eternal and new resurrected bodies, and to live with Christ our God forever.
The attachment is a sermon I shared with my congregation several years ago, It asks the question, "What or why is the resurrection important?" I trust the answer will bless you and that you will be inspired to look at Easter perhaps anew and seek a closer fellowship with Christ today.
There are few guarantees in this world.
But there is one thing that we can be certain of.
And that is that we all die.
Why must we all die?
The answer is given in Rom. 3:23 & 6:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23 (King James Version)
For the wages of sin is death . Rom. 6:23 (King James Version)
There is no way around it. We all have an appointment with death.
Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (King James Version)
So what then?
Is there nothing more then after death?
Do we just live a few years and then die into eternal oblivion with no trace left behind as if we had never lived?
If this is the case then, we might as well live, as we want, do what we want, enjoy life to the fullest and then die.
As some say, Party on, for tomorrow we die.
Or is there more?
Is there more to life after death?
Will we live again?
Thats the question we are looking at today.
Will we live again?
Read 1 Cor. 15
From what I gather after reading this chapter, there is more to life after death.
But there still remains one question.
On what can I base the fact that I will live again?
Scripture tells us that Jesus was the Messiah, the one who came to save us from our sins.
We are also told that He was God and that He died on a wooden cross and was raised to life again.
For who else but God could raise oneself from the dead.
From this fact we can base the truth that there is life after death, because He claims that He can & will raise us up from the dead again to live forever.
But now we have to come to a conclusion on whether indeed this was an actual historic event, or was it just a myth?
Was Jesus resurrected from the dead? True or false.
To answer this question we have to turn and find some acts to prove one way or the other that Jesus was raised from the dead as scripture claims He was.
So what proofs do we have that He was raised from the dead.
1 Cor. 15:4 tells us that on the 3rd day after He was buried He rose again.
This is corroborated by we are told by many eyewitnesses.
How many claim to have seen Him?
He was seen by some of the disciples and then by over 500 witnesses and by Paul himself, as well as by James the half brother of Jesus and all the apostles. V:5-8
Is there any other evidence that Christ was raised from the dead?
There are indeed several evidences to prove that Christ was raised from the dead.
What are they?
Lets look at the facts.
Fact #1 -The Broken Roman Seal
A seal was placed on the tomb after the tomb was sealed by the Roman soldiers.
A seal was a mark of authenticity, which was used and is still used today in many parts of the world.
A seal is used mostly on legal documents.
The seal was found to be broken which means that the tomb had to have been opened.
Fact # 2 The Empty Tomb
Several people went to the empty tomb and saw that the tomb was empty of all but the linen in which the body was wrapped in.
What they observed was that the linen lay exactly where it was placed in the tomb, undisturbed as if the body was still within.
Yet there was no body within.
It was as if Jesus had just vaporized out of the wrapping or somehow slithered out of the linen without disturbing one fold.
Remember that the Jewish custom was to wrap a body in linen which was a foot wide laden with about 100 pounds of spices within the folded layers.
Rather than running to Rome or to far away cities like Athens, the people whom saw the empty tomb went straight to Jerusalem.
By staying near by it would have been impossible for enough time to have lapsed which would have made it impossible for their story to have been corroborated.
In this way others could have gone straight away to see for themselves, which both Peter and John did. Luke 24:12; John 20:3-6
Fact # 3 The Stone Rolled Away
In those days a tomb was sealed with a stone weighing in at about 2 tons, which is 4,000 pounds.
This stone was also laid within a groove, which was carved into the rock so that it would be impossible to roll the stone away, nor to be able to fall away.
It would have been impossible for the disciples or any other to creep up and roll the stone away and steal the body of Jesus, especially with a crew of Roman guards watching over it with strict orders to protect it from any would be robbers.
The stone would also have to have been rolled uphill.
Fact # 4 The Roman Guard
It was surmised by the skeptics that the entire Roman squadron had fallen asleep and the disciples had stolen the body of Christ.
Did you know that any soldier caught sleeping on duty was put to death?
The Roman legion was likely the most disciplined army ever.
They paid strict attention to every detail of their command.
To not fulfill a command meant certain death by being burned alive with their clothes still on them.
So it is not likely that one soldier fell asleep, let alone an entire squadron of soldiers.
Fact # 5 Jesus was seen by many
Again we have the witness of well over 500 people those including disciples, apostles, and followers, both Marys, James the half brother of Jesus and more.
Many of these could have been questioned even at the time of Pauls writing to the Corinthians, as many of the witnesses were still alive.
For this many to have reported to be truth we can well believe to be so, especially since many died a martyrs death for their belief.
Many will die for the truth, but no one will die for a lie.
Again Christ appeared to Paul before he was converted on the road to Emmaus.
Up to this time Paul was actively persecuting any who claimed that Jesus was the Messiah.
Fact # 6 The Bold witness of the Disciples
When Jesus died on the cross all the disciples ran off and shrank into the woodwork.
They were a defeated lot.
They no longer felt that they had the truth when Jesus died.
But when they all witnessed Him alive again, thy became bold witnesses of the Gospel truth, many dying a martyrs death for what they knew to be true.
They laid down their lives willingly.
Look what many went through to proclaim the truth.
Many were stoned to death, fed to the lions, tortured, crucified and many other hideous things all to stop them from proclaiming the truth.
All they had to do to save their lives was to say that Jesus was dead.
But not one did, and many today are going through the same and dying a martyrs death for what the world believes to be a lie.
There are many more proofs, but let these suffice to prove the resurrection of Christ.
So now we have proof of Christs resurrection.
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:17 (King James Version)
So Why Is Resurrection so Important?
The fact of His resurrection and our hope in also being raised from the dead is tied together.
For if not for the first, then there would be hope for the second.
Because Christ was raised from the dead we can now have confidence that we to would rise from the dead to be with Him some day eternally.
For whatever reason would there be for Jesus to come and die to save us from our sins, to rise again, if we to were not raised from the dead?
These two facts are two inseparable truths.
One without the other is pointless.
Paul gave us 7 arguments to prove this point.
The first being already given that if we are not raised then all our preaching is in vain, and Christ Himself would not have been raised from the dead.
And our faith would be useless. V:13,14
There would be no joy to living this life without the hope of being raised again.
If these facts are not true then the witnessing of the apostles, disciples and even our own would be a lie. V:15
All would be guilty of deceit.
And if this were true then all authority of the Bible can be thrown out the window.
We would not be able to believe one thing written in scripture.
If there is no resurrection Paul argues, then Christ Himself is also not risen. V:16
And if Christ is not risen, then our faith is futile, & we are not forgiven for our sins. V:17
And if this be true, the Christs death had no atoning value, and all who have trusted in Him, did so in vain.
Thus to reject the resurrection is to also reject the value of Christs wok on the cross.
And if there is no resurrection then all those who died living a life of hope In Christ have also died hopelessly and do not rise again. V:18
And lastly, if Christ be not risen & there is no resurrection, then we who are alive today are also living a hopeless life and are to be pitied. V:19
We would be no better off than those whom have a false outlook on scriptures like the J.W., Mormons etc.
Is that it, are we done for? Have we no hope?
If that is all to life then we might as well eat and drink; for to morrow we die 1 Corinthians 15:32 (King James Version)
Or another way to put it, Party on for tomorrow we are going to die anyways.
-But that is not the end of it all.
We have the affirmation that we will indeed live again. V: 20-23
Paul goes on to give the order of the resurrection.
What is it?
1. The first to rise was Christ Himself. He is listed in this passage as the first fruit v: 20, 23
the first fruit in Lev. 23:9-14 was a type of Christ in that at the beginning of the harvest a sheaf of wheat was picked and waved before the Lord as an offering.
Christ was also our first fruit in that he was given as an offering and the first to rise.
2. Then all believers shall rise. V:23 (b) 1 Thes. 4:13-18
All who have died trusting in Christ shall be raised first.
But wait a minute! What about the rest of us? Are we also not to be raised with Christ?
Paul stops there with the dead in Christ. He does not mention those of us who will be still alive when Jesus comes to gather His children.
Do not fret. To find the answer we must turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
We read v:15b we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(New International Version, ©2011)
So there we have it.
All who are Christs will be raised up to be with Him
Those of us who die before His coming have assurance of being raised from the dead and to be made alive forever more, and those of us who are alive at His coming will be raised from the earth to meet up with those who preceded us.
What will our bodies be like when we are raised?
Paul does not leave us completely in the dark regarding this issue. V:35-49
Paul gives us the illustration of a seed to answer this question. V:36-38
Just as a seed from a plant must first die, then when it is planted into the ground it produces another plant, which is of the same kind as what it came from.
Likewise when our bodies die and fall into the ground, our bodies when raised up will also be raised to be the same kind as before.
That is they will be human and we will look exactly as we did while still alive on earth.
We will recognize one another.
We will still have our individuality.
But there will be certain changes.
The moment we are born the body has already begun the process of deteriorating leading to death.
But with our new bodies that will change.
Our new bodies will be made incorruptible v:42 no longer susceptible to disease and death
Our new resurrected bodies will no longer be subject to weakness, nor any need to be replenished, like as Christ we will not need to eat or drink, though we probably could. V:43
Nor will sleep be a necessity.
Like Christ we will be able to pass though material things.
We will have spiritual bodies
It is difficult to know exactly what our bodies will be like, but we do know that Christ has promised us new bodies that will not die.
We will be immortal no longer subject to death.
And one last thing.
Because flesh and bones cannot enter into heaven (15:50) our bodies will be changed but in the twinkling of an eye, (52) our bodies will be changed
This is the promise of the rapture, the promise of our bodies being changed in preparation for heaven to live forever with Christ.
This is the promise that yes; we shall live again after death.
Can we be certain all of this is true?
Yes we can, because we have the Word of God Himself in the form of Jesus Christ who told us all these things.
If He says they are so, then they are so.
If but one thing He ever said is untrue, then we cannot trust anything ever written in the Bible.
But we know that all is true.
Because Christ liveth in me testifying all that He said is true.
Easter - The Resurrection - Fact or Fiction
Suppose I said that I knew nothing about Jesus Christ. Explain to me what Easter is about, so that I may want to look deeply into it and maybe become a Christian. Again I received another strange look, like: Say what? About all they were able to tell me, was that Easter was about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Well, thats true, but that is not all.
The fact of Christs death and resurrection is the basis for our Christian faith, for without it our faith would be in vain, and the lives of millions of people would be nothing but misery. In 1 Cor. 15:14, Paul writes if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (KJV) Furthermore he adds in verse 17: if Christ be not raised ye are yet in your sins, and verse 18 They also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." (both KJV)
Therefore the whole of the Christian faith is based on the fact of Christs resurrection, for if He did not rise from the dead then we have no hope of eternal salvation, and we may as well live as the rest of the world and party on, for today we live, and tomorrow we die.
It is important to note that all four gospels deal with the fact of His death and burial, because if there were no death, there could be no resurrection, and again, if there be no resurrection, our hope is still in vain, because we worship a living Lord.
Many throughout history have tried to discount the fact of Christs resurrection by suggesting that Christ feigned His death, or simply fell into unconsciousness, thus the Swoon Theory.
Again, all four gospels writers agree to the fact of His death. Mark says: he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46 KJV) Matthew says He yielded up His Spirit. Luke says He gave up the ghost, and John says He gave up His Spirit. Numerous other scriptural passages also confirm the fact of His death.
Within the gospels themselves we are given several reliable testimonies to the fact that Christ died and that He did not simply fake His death, or slip into a coma. The very first witness we have is the centurion soldier who had commanded the execution squad. Would he not have had to have been a reasonably intelligent man to have commanded a legion of soldiers? Would this soldier not have not known for certain if Jesus had died or not? After all, he would have been given the order to put Jesus to death from someone higher up. To have not made sure that Jesus was dead would have meant his own death under Roman law. By his own words, using the past tense of the verb was, as recorded in Mark 15:39, shows that by his judgment, Christ was indeed dead, when he said : Truly this man was the Son of God. (KJV)
In Johns Epistle, he does not concentrate on the centurion, but upon the Piercing of the side of Christ. Forthwith came there out blood and water. John 19:34 (KJV). According to medical journals, the flow of both water and blood is the result of a ruptured heart, because the heart is protected by a sac of water. Therefore Jesus was dead even before the spear was thrust in to His side.
Another reliable eye witness as to the fact that Jesus was indeed dead was the woman who followed behind as the body of Jesus was being carried to the garden for burial. All four gospels record that this same woman went to the garden on the first day to prepare the body for burial with spices. Had she not been certain that Jesus was dead; she certainly would not have gone there with the spices to complete the burial, which was the custom of the day.
And lastly there is the silent testimony of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, both members of the Sanhedrin, and both silent followers of Christ. Again, if they had any inkling of an idea that Jesus might actually still be alive, they certainly would not have continued with the burial.
The evidence therefore seems intact that Jesus had indeed died, and had neither faked His death, nor fallen unconscious.
The next thing that we must consider is the evidence of the missing body. If anyone could have produced the body, then the resurrection theory would have been proven to be false, and there would be no hope of salvation. Nor, for that matter would there be any need for the church as we know it today.
Some however, would have you believe that the disciples stole the body from the tomb where he was supposedly buried. How could that possibly be with the presence of an entire squadron of trained professional Roman soldiers on guard who would certainly know if anyone was approaching the tomb.
Some even argue that the guards were all sleeping. But, did you know that death was the penalty for any soldier caught sleeping on the job? Today if you are caught sleeping on the job, the worst that can happen to you is you might lose your job or get time docked off your pay check with a reprimand. But a Roman soldier was not getting paid by the clock, nor would he dare to be caught sleeping on the job knowing that to do that is a certain death.
But just suppose that they were all sleeping. How would it be possible for them to be sleeping through the noise of the huge stone being rolled away from the tomb? The chances of not one soldier waking up while being right there beside the stone would be astronomically impossible. Just think about that for yourself for a moment. To just roll a large stone on the ground is fairly noisy. But to roll a huge stone on rock would be even noisier still, let alone that the disciples would have had to step over top a whole legion of soldiers.
And one last thought to keep in mind is, if indeed the disciples had been successful in removing the body of Christ from the tomb without waking anyone up, certainly the alarm would have been raised before very long. And when they caught up with the perpetrators, they would have been imprisoned and the body replaced which of course did not happen. Because, for one, there was no body to be found anywhere.
Since there never was a body produced, and since the disciples were never arrested for stealing the body out of the tomb, we can safely assume that Christ had indeed died, been buried in the tomb, and was raised again on the third day just as He said He would do.
So now that proof has been given that Christ was indeed crucified to the point of death, and since proof has also been given that the body disappeared out of the tomb, and since proof has been given that no one stole the body, we must ascertain with proof positive that He was resurrected.
What evidence of proof exists of the bodily resurrection of Christ? There are at least three areas of proof of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. These three include 1) the material evidence of the displaced stone 2) the empty tomb 3) the grave clothes laying there.
Besides those three things, we also have the physical appearance of Jesus by many witnesses in many different places at different times. And there is also the historical results which include the personal transformation of the disciples, the advent of the Holy Spirit, and the origin and growth of the Church.
Please allow me to touch briefly on some of these evidences. All material evidences by the way were available and apparent to the contemporary witnesses of the day.
First of all we have the misplaced stone. The tombs in those days were carved out of soft limestone with access through a low doorway. It was low enough that one had to stoop to go through. Parallel and adjacent to the outside wall there was a narrow groove cut in, in which a large circular door was set, which weighed just less than a ton. Before a body could be placed within the tomb, a cleat, like a door stopper was placed in front of the door to keep the door open, otherwise the door would have rolled back into placed and be closed. The cleat then would have been removed once the body was inside, and several strong men would then roll the rock back into place making a strong barrier against vandalism and robbery.
Matthew 27:60 offers proof that Joseph sealed the tomb properly. Once sealed, it would have been impossible for the disciples and certainly the woman to have removed the door from its place without having caused a great commotion before the Roman guards.
Pilate himself also ordered the tomb to be sealed which would have been promptly done as is recorded in Matthew 27:66. This would have included the sealing with wax and imprinted with a ring.
And yet the door was rolled away on the third day as was witnessed by the soldiers themselves, who ran with their tails between their legs after having been confronted by an angel. The soldiers also reported this incident to the chief priest. This in itself is a testimony as to the resurrection of Christ.
The next witness we have, that the stone was rolled away, was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who were walking towards the sepulchre on the first day of the week. Upon arrival they were confronted by an angel of the Lord who told them to go see the place where the Lord has lain, and then to go and tell the disciples that Christ had risen.
Notice the word HAD. The angel did not say: Go see the place where the Lord IS lying." How could he if the body was not there? No, he said go see where the body HAD lain. The body of Jesus was no longer there. And if the angel told them to go see where the body had lain, the tomb then would have had to be opened. Therefore since it was impossible for the disciples or for the woman to have removed the stone, and since logic would dictate that the soldiers certainly would not, the only plausible explanation is that the stone was rolled away by the power of God, by an angel, or by Jesus Himself.
This then is one of many material proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ whom we worship. For, we do not worship a dead Saviour.
A second material evidence for the resurrection of Christ is the fact of the empty tomb. Again, all the four gospels agree to this. We already have the witness of the two women and the angel of the Lord testifying to the fact of the empty tomb. Added to this are the eye witnesses of both Peter and John who saw for themselves the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene had reported the truth of the empty tomb to the disciples. We have the record of John who after having heard this went and bent down before entering the tomb and seeing that the grave clothes were still there on top of the grave stone where the body had lain. Apparently John thought that the body was still there in the grave clothes while he awaited the arrival of Peter before going in himself. Peter, the skeptic , was not satisfied to just peer inside. He went in and gazed at the clothes. What is significant about Peters observation of the grave clothes is the fact of where the clothes were. The face linen we read in John 20:7 was placed separately away from the other linen and wrapped in a different place. And of course he saw that the body was not there at all. And while Peter was still inside, John came in, saw and believed. John 20:8 Although we have no written record, it is quite likely that some of the other disciples also went and seen the empty tomb.
This account shows without a shadow of a doubt that the body had indeed vanished, not only from within the grave clothes, but also out from the tomb itself. Jesus therefore had risen from the dead as He had predicted and was not held by death or by the bonds of grave clothes. There is no scientific proof to logically prove otherwise the sudden disappearance of the body of Christ.
The third and most verifiable material evidences as to the bodily resurrection of Christ are the many eye witness accounts of His physical appearance. Without these physical appearances it would have been impossible to prove and to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are eleven recorded manifestations of Christs appearance to substantiate His resurrection. Although they all differ widely in time, place, persons involved and results, all four of the gospels agree unanimously to His physical presence which have been attested to by reliable witnesses.
The first witness we have is Mary Magdalene, who after witnessing the empty tomb went and told the disciples about it. She then retraced her steps back to the tomb. There she spied the two angels who enquired of her sorrows. She then became aware of a body standing behind her and thought at first that it was the gardener. It was not until Jesus called her by name, that she realized who it was, and thereby flung herself at the feet of Jesus. He said to her, do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.
Her companions also who had been present with her this second time to the tomb also saw Jesus standing there. The synoptic gospels agree that these persons recognised that it was Jesus standing there. They also fell at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him as recorded in Matthew 28:9
There is also the record of the two lesser known disciples who met Jesus while travelling down the road on their way to Damascus. We are told that they did not know whom it was to whom they were talking to right away. Scripture tells us: their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. Luke 24:16 KJV The Lord Himself temporarily blinded them in a sense so that they would not recognise Him. As these two disciples were walking along, they were in a deep discussion about all the things that had transpired since the arrest of Jesus to the present time. At this point in time they did not yet know that Jesus had been resurrected.
Out of the blue Jesus began walking beside these two disciples. Jesus we are told began to question them about the events of which they were discussing. He then began to teach them the prophecies about Himself from the Old Testament.
An invitation was given to Jesus to join these two disciples for an evening meal. It was while Jesus sat and broke the bread, giving thanks that the eyes of the disciples eyes were opened, so that they finally recognised whom Jesus was, at which time Jesus vanished from their presence. These two guys were so overjoyed by this experience that they forgot their meals and ran back to Jerusalem.
The next sighting we have of Jesus was by the disciple whom had shut themselves up into an upper room in fear of being arrested by the Jewish leaders. Suddenly Jesus materialises before them without having walked through the door. To assure them that He was not a ghost, He proceeded to show them His hands and the side bearing the scars of the cross convincing them thoroughly of His resurrection. This of course turned their sorrows into great joy. And to further convince them of His real presence, He ate some food.
Thomas, from whom we get the phrase; A Doubting Thomas; was not present with the disciples when Jesus made His first appearance into the upper room. And when he heard of this event he said : Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. John 20:25 KJV
Thomas was able to witness and see for himself these very things the very next week in the very same chamber. Thomas indeed did not only see, but he also touched the prints and the scars of the cross where he is recorded as saying: My Lord and my God. John 20:28 KJV All the disciples were now totally convinced of the bodily resurrection Of Jesus, for they would not believe otherwise without the actual physical appearance of Christ as proof positive.
Another major appearance of Jesus according to 1 Cor. 15:6 was to more than 500 people at the same time gathered outside the city. It is quite likely that at the time of Paul having written this epistle, that the majority of those whom were present at this gathering were still alive. Many converts of Pentecost were also like still alive at the time of Pauls writing this epistle. This would have been about 25 years after the resurrection.
A third appearance of Jesus before His disciples was at the Sea of Tiberas as recorded in John Chapter 21 with seven of His disciples. This occurred after they had had an evening of fishing with no luck, so they went out again in the morning, but they still were not having any luck.
While they were dragging their nets Jesus called out to them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When the tried to pull in the nets after this attempt, to the amazement they were unable to because of the abundance of fish. It was then that John recognised that it was Jesus standing on the shore, and then Peter jumped into the water and began swimming to shore. Upon arriving to shore the disciples found that Jesus had already prepared some fish on a fire. Again, they had no doubt that this was Jesus.
Jesus appeared yet once more to 11 disciples on a mountain in Galilee where Mark records the final words of Jesus to His disciples to go out to the entire world and preach the gospel. Mark 15:15
A special appearance was granted to Stephen who was boldly preaching the Word, when he looked up to the heavens and said; Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56 KJV) This, just before he was stoned to death.
There were probably more sightings of Jesus that we have no recordings of, but for all of His recorded appearances, none were purposed for the sheer experience of amazement. All of His appearances had objectives behind them. It is true that at His first appearance to His disciples, they did not believe at first that it was Jesus, but in the end they all truly believed.
The variety and times and places which Jesus appeared made it difficult to refute the truth of His resurrection. All of these appearances occurred in broad daylight, so there could be no confusion as to the possibility of hallucinations or discrepancies due to darkness.
The reality of Jesus is indisputable. He is well documented to having taught many people, to have performed certain miracles, to having been hung on the cross and died, to having been placed within the tomb for burial, and to having been witnessed by too many people alive after His resurrection. The historicity of these events is too well documented and witnessed to have been a pure myth, or a combination of fact and fiction.
What other evidences exist of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How about the miraculous transformation of the disciples themselves? When they were all gathered together after His death on the cross in the upper room, they were hiding from more than just the Jewish leaders. At this time they were a disgruntled bunch. As far as they were concerned, they had lost everything in their cause of following the one who would take them out of their misery of being led by a foreign nation. His kingdom had not arrived as they had hoped and Christs many promises seemed empty. At this point they were about to fold up and return to their former jobs. Disunity itself was threatening to break up this motley crew.
Each disciple carried with him a temper which was out of harmony with Christs final words to them to love one another. Peters brusqueness, John with his nasty temper, Thomas and his pessimism, and Philip with his materialism would eventually cause a clash if they were to remain together.
Jesus knew this of course.
But, between the time of Christs crucifixion and the day of Pentecost a remarkable transformation occurred within these same disciples. This disgruntled bunch was to become the nucleus which would cause a stir in the world like none had seen before. They would soon defy the leaders which had killed their Messiah, be imprisoned and some martyred for the cause of proclaiming the gospel to the world.
Peter who had cowardly denied Christ three times a week earlier would now stand up boldly accusing the Jewish leaders of having killed the Messiah and affirm that God had restored Him to life. James the half-brother of Christ, who had earlier rejected Jesus as the messiah, became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Thomas the skeptic changed his attitude to that of worship.
The most remarkable change was that of Paul who believed the principal of resurrection, but rejected the Messiah. This same Paul whose main goal was to destroy and eliminate Christianity was found one day riding a horse down the road to Damascus with the sole intent of taking to court and persecuting believers. Oh his way he was intercepted by a manifestation of Jesus, and from here on took on an about face with a totally different attitude and was strong in the cause in proclaiming the gospel Of Jesus Christ. This change was so dramatic that those who had known him before were confused about his complete turnaround.
It could have only been the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit which caused such a great transformation within the lives of these men. There is no other explanation for the sudden change of heart, and change of attitudes to stand boldly and fight and persecute the very ones who had previously been their enemies, where they simply cowered before.
Just look at the change within your own lives since you were saved. Some of you, like myself have come from a course background of bars, drugs, sex and booze, where every second word coming out of your mouth was foul with its origins from the depths of hell.
Now look at yourselves. Where you once turned your backs on those who tried to profess the Word of God to you, you are now yourselves boldly proclaiming the gospel. What could have caused such a remarkable transformation where the words that now pour from your lips are a sweet melody in the ears of God? What could have caused such a transformation where once booze and drugs gushed through your veins, and now the rich beautiful blood of Jesus flows?
What I ask again could have caused such a remarkable change in you and me? Shout it out loud from the roof tops and from the mountain tops.
Only the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death to life could have caused the remarkable transformation in the lives of you and me and many millions as well. A dead man could not have caused such a change. Only a living resurrected Saviour could have caused this awesome remarkable transformation that we see in the lives of so many.
So my friends, kids, and neighbours, the next time someone asks you what Easter is about, dont just tell them that Easter is about Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. Tell them with boldness and power that Easter to me is about God who came to earth in the form of a man, and died a cruel horrible death on the cross to save your souls from the sure fiery pit of hell. Tell them he paid the penalty of death for your sins, which you so richly deserve.
Tell them this very same Jesus Christ, who is God, arose from the dead on the third day after being crucified on a cross, is now up in heaven and one day soon He is coming again to take us who believe on the work He did on the cross home to be with Him forever.
Tell them, that if this were not so, then you to would be going to hell, not to heaven, because if all this were not true, then there would be no heaven, no hope of eternal glory. If Jesus had not risen from the grave, then all of our preaching and teaching is in vain, and we all would die a sinners death.
TELL THEM, I BELIEVE IN THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.
TELL THEM, THATS WHAT EASTER MEANS TO ME.
The Cross in the New Covenant
Dear Members of the English speaking Catholic Community,
When in the 1960s, the music record The Old Rugged Cross first surfaced the US market, it not only attracted a commercial audience in the USA but it turned out to be a hit for the English speaking world. It was not just the melody or the voice of the singer but the inner comfort and peace it produced in the heart of people with a striking reflection and a conversion. Jim Reeves (James Travis Reeves, 1923-1964) as he was known was the singer. The text and music were composed by George Bennard (1873-1958). The words were simple and although many may not remember them today as when it was first sung, it was just this:
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross, where the dearest and best,
for a world of lost simmers were slain.
The chorus: So Ill cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true,
is shame and reproach gladly bear;
then hell call me some day, to my home far away,
where his glory forever Ill share.
If just a song of The Cross can have such a powerful significance in the secular world, then, how greater should its impact on and meaning be for those who are baptized in Christ in the Church? What is The Cross all about? Whenever we enter a Catholic Church we observe The Cross, a crucifix. During the season of Lent, we pray the Way of The Cross, accompanying Jesus on his fourteen stations. We hear the Passion of Jesus proclaimed at the Gospel during Holy Mass on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday, that Jesus falls three times under the weight of The Cross. These are all reminders for us to realize the price paid by Jesus Christ to redeem fallen humankind, to reconcile us to God and to make us coheirs of the Kingdom of God. Thus the season of Lent, which begins with the anointing of ashes on Ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Week, summons us to the need of an inner conversion of heart and a return to Almighty God. This can be achieved through a sincere attempt of prayer, penance and works of charity. Besides personal mortifications, most people also receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation by confessing their sins at this time of the year. Above all, one prepares to renew his/her baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil, affirming a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and to his Church.
The meaning of The Cross goes back to the time of Jesus earthly mission to redeem fallen humankind in the plan of God. Jesus was always obedient to and embraced his Fathers plan of redeeming love. In fact, a few months ago we celebrated Christmas. We celebrated the event when God took the form of human flesh, entered our world in humility and in human poverty, and this was precisely to accomplish that redemptive act which we now celebrate at Easter. Hence, both these events are inter-linked and have meaning when seen in totality. Jesus whole life is an offering to the Father and he himself proclaims it; My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work.(Jn 4,34); Am I not to drink the cup which the Father has given me? (Jn 18,11)
When Jesus celebrated his Last Supper with his twelve Apostles on that night when he was betrayed, it was the beginning of his Passion on The Cross. He not only anticipated his passion and sufferings willingly but he gave it a supreme expression at that Last Supper the memorial of his death and an offering of himself to the Father for the salvation of humankind, saying, This is my body which will be given for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (ch. Lk 22,19; Mt 26,28; 1.Cor 5,7), The Eucharist that Jesus Christ instituted at that moment is therefore the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes his apostles in his own offering and bids them to perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant, praying for them, For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. (Jn 17,19). At the same time, this cup of the New Covenant in his agony, in the garden at Gethsemane, is being accepted by his Father. Jesus makes himself obedient unto death. Jesus also prays, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it. (Mt 26,39; Phil 2,8). Jesus expresses here in his human nature the horror that death represents; like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life, but unlike ours, his is perfectly exempt from sin which is the cause of death. (Rom 5,12; Heb 4,15)
The sacrifice of Christ on The Cross remains unique because it surpasses all other material sacrifices required for the restoration of humankind to reconcile with God. It is not only a gift we receive from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself, but above all, it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father in reparation for the disobedience of humankind. (cf. Jn 10,17-18; Heb 9,14).
This then becomes the supreme exchange offered by Jesus to his Father, an act of obedience consummated on The Cross in exchange for the disobedience/sinful state of humankind. Therefore, in the tradition of our Church, we celebrate the liturgy on Good Friday, with the veneration of The Cross when it is shown to the congregation three times while it is being unveiled. At that part of the liturgy all sing aloud, Behold the wood of The Cross, on which hung the Saviour of the world. Come let us worship.
Gods redemptive plan in Jesus Christ which extends to all humankind does not end with The Cross; while on the contrary, it proceeds further with the resurrection. This constitutes the confirmation of all Christs works and teachings. Jesus Christs resurrection is thus the fulfilment of the promise, made by Almighty God to fallen humankind, both in the Old Testament and the promised Messiah, who is Jesus himself during his earthly life. It is clear that the truth of Jesus divinity is confirmed not only through the miracles he performed during his ministry on earth but more so by his resurrection. Thus, the paschal mystery that is celebrated at every Holy mass has two aspects. The first is through his death on The Cross, Jesus Christ liberates us from sin and the second is through his resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new, eternal and everlasting life, to be coheirs of the Kingdom of God.
From Sacred Scripture we know for certain that Jesus Christs resurrection was historically attested by his own disciples, who physically met in person and encountered the Risen Lord. As Jesus Christ lived and offered his life on The Cross for fallen humankind, am I challenged and do I want to, as a baptized member of the Church, live no longer for myself but for him who for our sake died and was raised (2Cor 5,15) as St. Paul preached? When one is able to understand that The Cross and the Resurrection are intrinsically connected, then our human crosses have a meaning to our journey of life on this earth, that purify us, enable us to partake in that cup of sufferings of Jesus Christ on The Cross and gives us hope to be coheirs in the Kingdom of God for all eternity.
At the close of this reflection, we would want to recall Jesus own words, If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me. (Mt 16,24); for it is only then, that we will enjoy the fruits of Christs sacrifice on The Cross in His New Covenant.
I wish you a Happy Easter and the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Cletus Colaco SVD.
Leiter der Englischsprachigen Katholische Mission
Reproduced here with the permission of the author Cletus Colaço SVD, as published in the Newsletter for English Speaking Migrants in the Archdiocese of München and Freising 8(2012)
Do Not Give Up Hope! (Easter II)
With Easter upon us, many in the world have no idea what it really is about.
Even still, many Christians do not fully understand the full implications of His final words; "It is Finished." Is it the end of the story? Certainly not, but it is only the prelude to a glories never ending story of eternity with Him.
This should give us hope, hope for a life forever living in transformed bodies and in a whole new creation suited to our new glorified bodies.
And more importantly for the now, it gives us a glimpse, a hope, a knowing that God is at work now in our lives transforming us daily more and more into the image of His Son.
So do not give up hope, but be like Jesus, who from eternity past faced forward to the cross. His finished work is just the beginning of His work in you. Do not give up hope, look forward to the finished work He is doing in you on this side of eternity.
Hi guys.....just wanted to tell you how much Jesus sacrifice for me, means to me.... Today, over 2000 years ago Jesus walked the earth so that I could over 2000 year later have a relationship with Him.
He saw me in my brokenness 2000 years before I would even be born. Yet he still created me in my mother's womb, he knew even then the man that I would become, and the mess that I would make of my life. He saw all the darkness that would rule over my life and almost destroy me, and those around me.
He knew how much pain I would cause, in my wickedness and rebellion, he would see every shameful act that I would use my body for, when he had created me to glorify Him. What pain of loss and sorrow it must have caused him, to love me and see me so lost and broken. Yet He could never stop loving me always pursuing me, so he decided 2000 years before I would live that he would come and save me, the only way would be to swap my life for His life He knew it would cost him everything, He knew I didn't deserve it. But He loved me too much to loose me no matter how I had destroyed my life. And this is what He endured for me.....
27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe.
They mocked Him as He hung on the cross " look he can save others yet he can't same himself" they said....but he could have saved Himself, he was choosing not too, HE WAS STILL SAVING OTHERS..... Me..... HE WAS SAVING ME, he was looking into the future and seeing me, and how lost desperate I had become, he was hearing me calling out to him from my bed every night "god , help me, change me, save me, I can't change my self, I need you" He heard my cry every night of over 30 years...... And he was going to help me no matter what the cost, yes he could have saved himself, in the blink of an eye, but he chose to die, in my place, so that I could live, so that would know and and understand how much He loved me.
He could have blotted me out of the pages of History before I would come to be, no one would have ever known.... Yet he chose, to allow me to be created, and all the while he knew what it would cost him..... Did I deserve it .?.....NO.... Was I worth it? ......NO...... But to Him I was worth it, I'm so glad that He thought so, for he has made me a new man.....and I can hold my head up today and live as a new man..... Because he decided 2000 years ago that I was worth it. Strange to think I would spend most of my life feeling like I was worthless.... Yet He had already said He had made me worthy......how can I not love the one who would sacrifice everything to prove that He loved me and to answer the call of my heart to be loved deeply.........tony
I found a new song on the radio this week. It is called "new man" by the group All things new.... Listen if you have a chance ..... It is "our" testimony in song...
I hope it blesses you all, Happy Easter guys... With so much luv ..... tony