• The resurrection of Jesus happened
  • Jesus is alive and very much with us.
  • He broke the controlling power of our sin that put Him in the Cross
  • He showed Himself the Lord of new life because death could not hold Him
  • He invites us to believe in Him, receive Him in our hearts and know the joy of this new life in Him.

The Queen, in her Easter message, said this:

“We know that coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.”

“The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this.”

View from a human perspective

For Jesus to have endured without retaliation the suffering of the whipping post and the Cross is instructive. A righteous man, falsely accused, who did not abuse His captors but forgave them…. So this, our sense of reason tells us, is the example for us to try to live up to. And to keep on trying harder… Perhaps this is what we should do in the present pandemic?

To do that we have to keep looking back. We find in the historical account a high call to live up to. Is it even possible? Should our worship mean solemnly revisiting a sense of failure, that our lives never measure up?

A lot of Christian religion tells it that way. It emphasises the failure, but avoids getting to the joy, which might be frivolous.

“Enthusiasm,” an 18th century bishop lectured John Wesley, “is a horrid thing, a very horrid thing indeed.” Wesley listened to God instead and continued with his enthusiastic, Spirit-led ministry. He told ordinary non-religious people of the freedom and joy that came from being born again — a kind of resurrection — into new life with Jesus as our Lord. The revival he pioneered probably saved the country from revolution in the late 1700s.

God Is good! Wesley knew God in a persona;l way through a life-changing encounter he had roughly this time of year, in 1738. And Wesley knew full well that God did not leave us, in a cycle of failure, our inability to break out of the control of sin. He didn’t leave us struggling to do all the right things and none of the wrong things and live right by Him. He doesn’t want us to live a checklist. The way people should relate to God and each other that He gave Moses had been turned into the most complicated of legalistic structures. Of course, it didn’t work, because man always tries to create an ordered, repeatable system which we can understand and control. And as Jesus taught, it doesn’t work that way. It works His way.

God never intended that we should turn Jesus into a system, a set of rules and sanctions, a religion. The destroying of the temple curtain in the earthquake that followed the crucifixion (a few decades later, the wrecking of the massive temple) ended for all time the need of a special priestly order, standing between men and God. Everyone was free to know Him through Jesus.

View from heaven

The resurrection of Jesus tells us we must not go there again.

Our God is a living, understanding, providing Father who wants us to enjoy day-by-day fellowship with Him. Why? Not just for our well-being but for His pleasure! He created us for fellowship! He wants each one of us to know this closeness, to experience His love, and He has made a way for us to overcome the crippling, blinding disability of sin that separates us from it.

How? How could we do enough good to put this historical handicap even a little bit more right?

On the day when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, this is the headline.

We can’t. He did — and is alive and with us.

The law and the ordered, prescriptive approach of religion could only ever get us partly aligned with God. It was a rough measure, like the blaring of an aircraft cockpit warning, that told us if we were off track, but useless for helping us to line up.

The religious approach is only good at the warnings. It frightens us into pulling this way and that, striving to stop the spin and doing the exact opposite of what we should do to fly straight and level. Most aircraft stabilise in level flight with hands off the controls.

God had to help us get our attitude and alignment right. He has done this for us — but we have to let Him. We have to let go of the controls of our life and let Him have them. Only then do we make room for the enabling Saviour, who was dead but is now very much alive and with us.

The resurrection of Jesus is about Him being with us in life – the meaning of the name Immanuel.

Jesus appeared, first to an outsider among the disciples, Mary of Magdala, not the one with the best CV, but the one who felt most forgiven and accepted.

Then He came to the others, in a number of occasions, eating with them, being real with them, reminding them of all the Scriptures which pointed to Him.

This new, resurrected life defines the Way of Jesus we follow. We must resist all temptations to reduce this to a repeatable form and a constructed system of our understanding. That is what religions consist of, because they give us what we think we can understand and a familiar route we think we can follow — on our own.

Wrong! This new way is WITH Jesus, led now by His Spirit, unpredictable but always life giving.

There are a lot of world religions. They cause a lot of world conflicts, and harm those who don’t fit in with them. Knowing Jesus is a different thing all together.

Jesus came back to life, to give us life and life in abundance, in Him. Where all the news is about lock down, and terrible mortality rates, He is saying to us: “Look UP’ I AM the Way, the reality and the life.

What is God saying, in this pandemic?

Jesus proved, by being seen as a flesh-and-blood person following His resurrection (not a ghost), that there is life after death. This pandemic is a prompting to all of us to turn to God! Is God calling you to take the step whereby you will come to know Him personally, receive His assurance that you are forgiven and have an eternal life with Him, and be empowered to live, pray and know His peace even in difficult times such as these?

Here’s a prayer you can pray

Is it true? Further reading for you to check out the evidence – a lawyer, a NT scholar and a journalist’s approaches

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