Happy Easter to all of you! We are blessed that we have been able to meet on Sundays in person. I was looking back to last year’s message for Easter and how I was saying how strange it would be to not be able to be together for Easter. It took longer than hoped but we are together again.
A lot happened in the week that followed Palm Sunday, when we celebrated the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples observed Passover by meeting together and having a meal together. It was to be their last supper together. Before they ate Jesus, took off his outer robe and tied a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin and proceeded to wash his disciple’s feet. He washed all of their feet, even the disciple who was to betray Him and the disciple that was going to deny he knew Jesus. It was His way to show the disciples that no one was better than the other. I think it also was a way to show the disciples that He loved all of them no matter what was to happen. At the table, the disciples learned that one of them would betray Jesus and another would deny knowing Jesus. For it would be Judas Iscariot that would betray Jesus and it would be Simon Peter who would deny knowing Jesus.
The next day after the Last Supper they met in the garden and this is where Jesus was arrested. He was then flogged and dressed like a “king”, forced to carry his own cross to the hill where He was crucified. While He was on the cross people mocked Him saying if He was truly the son of God, He should come down from the cross and save himself. At noon, darkness came over the land, and after Jesus was given a drink of sour wine, He breathed his last breath. He was then taken down from the cross, dressed in cloths and placed in a borrowed tomb. A stone was rolled in front of the opening. It was finished.
So much happened during that week. There was kinship, betrayal, horror, and sadness.
Then early in the morning of what would become Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away. Jesus was gone. She ran to find Simon Peter and the other disciple that Jesus loved to tell them that Jesus was gone. One entered the tomb and saw the cloths that had been wrapped around Jesus. Mary stood weeping outside of the tomb, and when she looked into the tomb she saw two angels sitting where Jesus had lain. The angels asked her why she was weeping and she said it was because they had taken her Lord and she didn’t know where they had taken him. It is then that Jesus appeared before her and at first she didn’t know who He was. He called her Mary and she knew that he was the Lord. She ran to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord and what he had told her.
In the evening of Easter Sunday, Jesus came to the disciples in the house where they met. Jesus said to them “Peace be with you” and showed them the wounds in his hands and on his side. The disciples then knew that Jesus had risen.
For this we can be thankful and joyful. Jesus was crucified and He rose again. He went through all of this so that we all can have eternal life.
As I read through the scriptures from the time of Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, there were some passages that were significant. After the Last supper and after Judas left, Jesus told the other disciples that He had a new commandment for them. He told them, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
During the same time, Jesus told them that His time with them was short. He said to the disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
Both of those passages are important ones to remember. If we do love one another as Jesus loves us, then we are His disciples. Also, by knowing that His Father’s house has room for all of us and that Jesus went to prepare the place for us, shouldn’t that give us the faith that we need to believe in Him, to be the people that He would have us be, and that we will be able to be with Him forever.
So on this Easter morning, we need to remember all that Jesus went through for us. These times that we have been through have been trying times and will continue to be trying times for a while longer. As the pandemic is beginning to subside, the deaths are decreasing, and the positive cases have lessened, we will still have trials to face as our country begins the road to recovery. I have heard that we aren’t facing just one pandemic but in ways we are facing two pandemics, the one affecting our health and well-being, and the one affecting our society, our economy, and the life we were used to having.
It will continue to take time. But with the help of God, we can get through these trials together. We can be strong just as Jesus was strong during the trials that He faced between His entry into Jerusalem and rising from the dead in the tomb.
May we look around us and be thankful for the little things in life, the flowers blooming, the birds singing, and spring arriving, the fact that we are here together. May we be thankful that we are making forward progress in returning to a life that will be more like the one we lost a year ago.
Blessings to you on this Easter day. Jesus has risen! He has risen indeed!