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14th Apr

2017

Pastor’s Page – Easter 2017

The closing chapter of the Gospel of Matthew unfolds for us the wonderful account of that first Easter morning. Let us go back to that morning so long ago. There were two women both of who were named Mary and they came early to the tomb to worship and care for the body of Jesus. For them it was not a happy occasion because they had been at the foot of the cross and witnessed the death of Jesus. Now they were going to the tomb with spices to anoint the body. In fact, far from their minds was the resurrection that Jesus had told of in advance. This is supported by Marks account of that first Easter morning as recorded in Mark 16:3, “Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” To their surprise, an earthquake, and empty tomb, and an angel greeted them.

Angels appeared in both the Old and New Testaments, always in connection with a great event. This can be especially observed in the life and ministry of Jesus. An angel appeared to Mary and then to Joseph concerning the birth of Christ. An angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds in the field. An angel comforted Jesus following His temptation and again at Gethsemane. Now on this first Easter morning, an angel is again sent as a divine messenger. The angel’s message to the women at the tomb and to the world then and now is that there is hope for everyone’s redemption. The resurrection was the most dramatic point in the history of the world. For up to this point there was no hope for our redemption, no hope at all, until Jesus Christ died for our sins and conquered sin and death.  

The Announcement by the Angel was a Message of Encouragement. Note the words in verse 5 and 6, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen as he said.” Jesus said He would raise from the dead, but these women rather than being excited about the great event, were depressed and discouraged because still fresh in their minds were what they had seen at the foot of the cross. They had forgotten what Jesus had told them while He was still alive. It was truly a time of despair as these two women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus on that first Easter Sunday. They did not expect to hear a message of a Christ that was alive but they expected to find His lifeless body. They had let the circumstances of the last three days confuse them. We in the same way let the circumstances of this world get us to take our eyes off of Christ and His power.

What this message did was give these confused women and the little band of fearful disciples who were hiding from the authorities, a new hope. They would go from the pits of despair and fear to a renewed courage and victory. What the resurrection did was validate the teachings and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. All that Jesus said He was, and all the claims He made were now proven true when He rose from the dead. That is why the chief priests did what they did in Matthew 28:11-15. They had to discredit the resurrection of Jesus because it would not only prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but they would be shown as the hypocrites that Jesus said they were.

The whole priestly system and the sacrifices of the temple were no longer needed. This is clearly seen in Matthew 27:51, “And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom” which meant direct access to God. There is no longer any need for a high priest to be the mediator between us and God. We can approach God directly. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can now have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that prior to this time was not possible. We can now have Christ living within our hearts.

Let us all have a renewed faith as we hear the message of the angel, “He is not here: for he is risen.” Christ is alive and well in the lives of Christians today. He hears us as we pray. He takes note of our distresses. He supplies the grace we need. As our living Savior, He guides and directs us in every avenue of our life. The power of the resurrected Christ can do what no person or group of persons can do for you. It will make you a new man or women in Christ. Yes the Good News is, Christ Arose! He is the Risen Savior, your Savior, Christ the Lord!

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