EASTER SUNDAY: ‘I am the Resurrection and The LIFE’ -Jesus Christ of Nazareth …Stone rolled away from tomb, HE is Risen, Sicknesses conquered, Death destroyed * ‘Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and going to the tomb and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it’-Matthew 28:2 * ‘Mary Magdalene peering into the empty tomb of Jesus and saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet’- John 20:12 * “God raised him from the dead. He ascended to heaven, to the right hand of God, and will return again to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment and establishment of the Kingdom of God”- New Testament * “He who believes in Me will live even if he dies”-Jn 11:25 * By Good Friday, Jesus died. Before dying, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Finally, He said: “It is finished” * BY TOM ILEYA/RELIGION REPORTER, EUROPE


EASTER SUNDAY:

‘I am the Resurrection and The LIFE’ -Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Stone rolled away from tomb, HE is Risen, Sicknesses conquered, Death destroyed

* ‘Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and going to the tomb and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it’-Matthew 28:2

* ‘Mary Magdalene peering into the empty tomb of Jesus and saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet’- John 20:12

* “God raised him from the dead. He ascended to heaven, to the right hand of God, and will return again to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment and establishment of the Kingdom of God”- New Testament

* “He who believes in Me will live even if he dies”-Jn 11:25

* By Good Friday, Jesus died. Before dying, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Finally, He said: “It is finished”

* BY TOM ILEYA/RELIGION REPORTER, EUROPE

YOU CANNOT BE A GENUINE Christian without knowing the true meaning and impact of the death and resurrection of JESUS CHRIST. The death and resurrection of Jesus are central to Christianity. If we want to love God deeply, we must thoroughly understand the profound meaning of Easter, Good Friday, and Palm Sunday. By Good Friday, Jesus Christ was crucified and he died. And on Palm Sunday (third day), Jesus rose again,conquered sicknesses, destroyed death.

If you study the Gospel of Matthew carefully, you’ll see that the Lord had emerged from the tomb before the descent of the angel, the rolling away of the stone, and the earthquake which occurred at the same time. The stone was rolled away, not so that the Lord could emerge, but to demonstrate that He’d already done so. It was rolled away so that the myrrh-bearing women could approach, see the empty tomb and be convinced of the Resurrection. Let’s look at the sacred text: ‘So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen*, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, He has risen from the dead’ (Matth. 27, 66-28, 7).

So the stone was rolled away for the Myrrh-Bearers (and for the Disciples who ran there shortly afterwards), not for the Lord. It was lifted to allow the entry of the Myrrh-Bearers and the Disciples, not the exit of the Lord. Adding one miracle to another, the Lord departed the tomb without moving anything aside. The heavy stone remained in place, the seals were untouched, the guards were quietly observing the area when the Lord of Life and Victor over death emerged from the tomb. There was no sign as evidence that this had happened, no noise or sound to indicate what had happened. Everything was calm and peaceful. The guards weren’t aware of the Lord’s Resurrection and emergence from the tomb and would have continued to guard it for a long time if the descent of the angel hadn’t relieved them of the task.

Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. The crowds treated Jesus like a king, laying palm branches in the road ahead of Him. Palm Sunday is the day that Christians remember Jesus’ riding into Jerusalem. It marks the start of Holy Week, and helps us remember the path Jesus walked to the cross. In the Near East, it was common to cover the road before someone of utmost importance rode on it. Additionally, the Jewish people considered the palm branch to be a symbol of power and victory. When the inhabitants of Jerusalem laid palm branches before Jesus, they were declaring Him to be a great king. This is why we read inn Matthew 21:9-10 “Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

The crowd believed that Jesus was the Messianic king who would deliver them. And they were right. Sort of. Jesus was indeed the king and Messiah. He would deliver His people from evil. Just not in the way everyone expected. The first hint that something was different was that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He didn’t sit atop a great war horse or stand in a gilded chariot. He rode a lowly donkey.

Jesus wasn’t going to deliver His people through war or weapons. He wasn’t going to drive out the Romans with His army.

Jesus was going to save His people by sacrificing Himself. His “weapon” of choice was the cross. And He would deliver His people from something much greater and more sinister than the Romans. He was going to save them from their sins.

Palm Sunday is an opportunity for us to remember what sort of king Jesus truly is. He was not the king the people wanted, but He was the king they so desperately needed. Our greatest need is to be made right with God. We need to have our sins forgiven and to have the righteousness that God provides.

Palm Sunday reminds us that God met our greatest need. Because He loves us so very much, He sent the Messiah to redeem us. God took on flesh and came to us humble and lowly. He was born in a stable and rode toward the cross on a donkey. What a wonderful gift from God.

In order to understand the meaning of Easter, we first need to understand Good Friday. Easter Sunday only makes sense in light of Good Friday. On the night before Good Friday, Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciple Judas betrayed Jesus and brought a group of armed people to apprehend Jesus.

Jesus was put on trial before Annas and Caiaphas. They condemned Jesus to death for His claim to be the Son of God. They mocked, spit on, and beat Him between 4:00am -6:00am.

At 6:00am- -8:00am, Jesus stood trial before Pilate and Herod. Pilate interrogated Jesus, trying to figure out what crime He had committed. Convinced of Jesus’ innocence, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod in hopes that Herod would know what to do. Herod couldn’t find any fault with Jesus either and so sent Him back to Pilate. In a last-ditch effort to spare Jesus, Pilate offered up a notorious criminal named Barabbas. The Jewish leaders insisted that Jesus be executed. Roman soldiers proceeded to mercilessly whip Jesus, mock Him, hit Him, and spit on Him.

At 8:00am -8:30am, Jesus was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. Because He was so weak from the beatings, He was unable to carry the cross the entire distance. The soldiers found a man from Cyrene named Simon and forced him to carry the cross until they reached Golgotha.

By 9:00am, Jesus was crucified. Nails were driven through His wrists and feet to ensure He stayed on the cross. Crucifixion was a slow, excruciating way to die. The person on the cross usually died of asphyxiation.

Between 9:00am-9:30am, the Roman soldiers began gambling for Jesus’ clothing. It was also during this time that Jesus prayed for the soldiers, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

At 9:30am-11:00am, The gathered crowd watched Jesus as He slowly died. They mocked Him, saying things like, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”

Between 11:00am – Noon, Jesus spoke to the thieves crucified on either side of Him. One of the thieves, moved by the way Jesus died, repented of his sins and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus promised the thief that he would be in paradise with Jesus. It was during this time that Jesus also spoke to His mother and John, saying, “Woman, here is your son…John, here is your mother.”

By noon-3:00pm, A terrible darkness descended upon the land. The earth quaked, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, and Jesus said that He was thirsty.

At 3:00pm, Jesus died. Before dying, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Finally, He said, “It is finished.”

After Jesus died, the Roman soldiers pierced His side with a spear to ensure that He was really dead. Joseph of Arimathea was allowed to take the body of Jesus and put it in a nearby tomb.

To ensure that no one would steal the body, a massive round stone was rolled in front of the tomb, sealing off the entrance. Roman soldiers were placed around the tomb as an extra measure of security.

No one expected Jesus to rise from the dead. It had never happened before. Up to that point, the dead had always remained dead.

And then everything changed.

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