Everything changed at the first Easter

Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
Rt Revd Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes

A few years ago I gave up caffeine of any sort for Lent.

I had my first cup of coffee on Easter Sunday morning, and before I knew it I had done three services and built a compost heap!

I certainly had some energy that day.

How much more for the disciples on that first Easter morning.

Despondent, depressed, defeated and hopeless before the dawn broke; by the evening a whole new world had broken in on them.

Nothing could ever be the same again.

The reality of Jesus’ resurrection not only turned their lives around, but gave them a deeper understanding of what had happened on the Good Friday before.

The two events were seen to be inextricably linked.

As you read the accounts of the spread of the Christian message, the news of the resurrection of Jesus is front and centre.

Without it nothing else makes much sense.

All you are left with is yet another spiritual leader with delusions of grandeur crucified by the Romans because he was politically inconvenient.

There were rather a lot of those in 1st century Palestine.

But with the actual, bodily resurrection everything changes.

Death is defeated; evil no longer has the last word; we know the offering of Jesus for us is acceptable and our sins can be forgiven.

We have the first example of what eternal life is going to look like for those who follow him.

At Easter, there are often a few theologians who call into question whether the resurrection is true in a physical sense – but I would suggest taking their conclusions with a pinch of salt.

Metaphorical resurrections, or ‘coming alive in the disciples hearts’ would have made no sense at all to those 1st century Palestinian Jewish people.

We may not know exactly how it happened that day.

But if the first disciples (and eye witnesses) were prepared to die in that faith, there is no reason why we should not live in it either.

Faith Matters:

Holy Week

During the week following Palm Sunday, churches across the county will be holding special services to remember Jesus' last days in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Keep an eye out for invitations in your local church across Thursday Evening, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. There's no greater time of the year to hear about God's love and forgiveness, and the new life offered through faith in Jesus.

A Funny Thing Happened...

What happens when you combine poetry, stand-up and the Easter Story? Three videos exploring what happened and what it means to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. These short videos offer a unique way of exploring these questions, and you can watch them for free. Search Youtube for 'A funny thing happened on the way to Jerusalem'

Church of England at Easter

The new Church of England website has stories, prayers and images to help you think about the meaning of the events around Easter. There's lots to read, explore and do plus links to local churches holding services and events near you. You can get straight to the Easter and Holy Week resources here: www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/lent-holy-week-and-easter