The Easter celebration remains a cardinal and central doctrine to the Christian faith worldwide. It is a strategic pillar upon which Christianity stands. This is because Easter encompasses the arrest, humiliation, crucifixion, death, burial and above all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is the climax of the passion of Jesus Christ preceded by the Lenten period that is characterized by prayer and fasting preparatory to ascension to glory of God, the Son-(Jesus).
Easter was heralded by Maundy Thursday before the Triduum. Maundy Thursday, also known as the Holy Thursday, reminds Christian faithful of the washing of feet and the Last Supper Jesus Christ had with His disciples‘ wherein He announced the impending agony ahead and how one of the disciples would betray Him – Jesus.
These activities culminated in the Triduum, referring to the totality of the three days that make up the weekend which changed the world.
This weekend traverses the famous Good Friday, Saturday, in which He was still in the grave and the Glorious Resurrection morning which took place on Sunday. This is the reason Sunday has become an important day of worship than the famous Sabbath Day on Saturday.
This weekend, no doubt, is not only remarkable and inexplicable, but a mystery in the history of God – human relations. No matter one’s creed or religious affiliation, the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death is thought-provoking.
At this juncture, it may be pertinent to ask, why was Jesus Christ crucified in the first place? It will be recalled that during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, He had been misunderstood when He said in St. John Gospel Chapter 2 verse 19, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”.
The expression “this temple” was probably misunderstood to mean the temple that David, Solomon and the founding fathers of faith built in ancient Jewish settlement.
It was unacceptable for the son of an ordinary carpenter to say “Before Abraham I was” as recorded in John 5:18. Again, this was blasphemy. Worse still, Jesus Christ called Almighty God His Father and referred to Himself as Son of God. In other words, His claim to Lordship and posture to Divine Authority deserved death.
It is worthy of note that the penchant for preaching peace, mercy, grace and forgiveness was ambivalent and aversed to the doctrine of “an eye for an eye”, which the Jews were exposed to under the Mosaic Law. This was the reason they condemned Jesus when He ate with sinners and tax collectors.
This is not to trivialize the fact that when Jesus proclaimed His Mesiahship, it was largely considered a treasonable felony since the Jews were colonized and in fact under the imperialistic dominance of Romans Empire at the time.
It was the rationale behind the arrest by the Sanhedrin but was sentenced by Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Jerusalem at the time. Besides, in Redemptive theology the death of Jesus is largely seen as a ransom sacrifice to God in payment for inherited sins.
In other words, in the Ransom Theory of Atonement, Christians believe that by the death of Jesus Christ they are partakers in the new covenant with God and thus creates an open door to both the Jews and Gentiles in the new relationship with God. This also means that the way to God under the Ransom Theory of Atonement is through Jesus Christ alone.
Unfortunately, some other religions have expressed disapproval and melancholy with the ransom theory of Atonement, calling it the arrogance of the Christian faith.
Be that as it may, the claim of Jesus Christ that He would destroy the temple and raise it up in three days, remains infallible and inexplicable over the past two thousands years and that is the joy and memory of Easter that shook the world.
Interestingly, the level of Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness of sins inherent in faith in Jesus Christ is unending, priceless and unimaginable and goes to confirm that Jesus is not selective and discriminatory in granting rest to all who are heavy laden.
As He said in John 14:3 and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. This is true since God is not a man that He should lie. To this end, humanity must learn to respect the grace and purpose of an individual than his family background or his social status in society.
Moreover, Resurrection is not only real but a person and the hope of Christians in Jesus Christ.
Truly, this is the weekend that has changed and shaken the world for the better.
Sika wrote in from PH.