Not Just For Easter!

How did you celebrate Easter? Did you focus on the chocolate eggs or did you celebrate that we have been saved as Jesus was crucified on our behalf?  There’s a sticker which states  ‘A dog’s not just for Christmas’! In the same way Jesus’s gift is not just for Easter! On Good Friday we had a time of reflection together focussing on the following words: Fear; Betrayal; Judgement; Disloyalty; Powerlessness; Torture; Burdens; Mercy; Tears; Forgiveness; Hope; Family; Death and Tomorrow. I found the time really powerful as we reminded ourselves of the build up to Jesus’s crucifixion but also reflected on how He prepared those He cared for and loved for the difficult time ahead. On Easter Sunday we reflected again on words, when the women told the disciples of the empty tomb. The disciples thought that they were insane. Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection are core to the Christian faith and yet we heard a statistic that 25% of people who profess to being a Christian do not believe in the resurrection. How can this be? In Acts Chapter 4 verses 1 to 20 Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin, I would encourage you to read the verses in full but I’ll pull some verses out to give you a flavour of what the passage is about:

Chapter 3: Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Chapter 4:  They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

What would you do in that situation? On Sunday we were each given a sticker to wear proclaiming that Jesus was risen from the dead. We were challenged to wear it and to be prepared to answer any questions people might ask. We can’t wear stickers every day but we shouldn’t need to – if we believe that Jesus has saved us then surely, we can’t help but live our lives for Him and speak of it to others? I started by saying that Jesus is not just for Easter, I would like to challenge us all to speak of Him and His impact in our lives daily, not just over one weekend. Ali