He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! Hold your horses, not so fast. April is the month Easter falls in this year, but before we get to celebrate the resurrection some very significant things had to happen. Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday. Jesus rides into Jerusalem and is welcomed by crowds of people proclaiming, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
Then we celebrate "Maundy Thursday". That is the day Jesus gave us a new commandment, which was really an old commandment, just re-emphasized! "Love one another as I have loved you!" Jesus tells His disciples, and us today, to love one another. Oh, what a timely message and reminder for those who follow Jesus to hear in this day and age. Jesus also "morphed" the Passover feast into what we recognize today as the Eucharist. We are blessed to have Rabbi Barney Kasdan demonstrate “Christ in the Passover” Wednesday April 6 at 7:00 PM.
Then came Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was put through a series of mock trials, handed over to Rome for sentencing to death on a cross. After being severely flogged, Jesus carried His cross to Golgotha where He was crucified. We remember that day with a Good Friday Tenebrae Service. We recall the Words from the cross that our sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world spoke. I was given a hand carved crucifix with Jesus hanging on it from a dear friend. I have always been of the mindset that Jesus isn't on the cross anymore, He is risen. But my friend shared with me that he understands that, but seeing Jesus on the cross reminds him of the price Jesus had to pay to bring about the forgiveness we so freely receive from God.
After Jesus was dead, and make no mistake, Jesus was dead, He was laid in a tomb. A stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb on Friday and made secure by guards posted there. Jesus was there all day Saturday and on the third day He was raised back to life from the dead. He appeared to many people and eventually ascended into heaven. That God raised Jesus from the dead is our assurance that He accepted Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.
How wonderful it is that we have been called out of the darkness into the wonderful light of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not leave us as orphans when He ascended into Heaven. The Father sent us the "Paraclete", counselor, The Holy Spirit to remind us of everything Jesus taught us. It is also through the Holy Spirit that God calls us to faith. God is the Creator of everything visible and invisible. God alone has power over death. We have been called to faith and in faith God makes us heirs of His Kingdom.
When we proclaim, "He is risen!" it is a joyful proclamation. The more we understand what that cost, the more we will appreciate the gift and love the giver. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!!!!!