Happy Easter for y'all!
Some see Easter as a feast of chocolate eggs laid down by an Easter Bunny. I'm not sure how much sense that makes, but I don't mind the chocolate either
Normally I do not do such a long story with a picture, but Easter is really special to me and some others. It is a story worth telling and remembering!
So what is Easter really about?
It is about Jesus Christ and the fulfilment of the reason why He was born unto this Earth.
At the age of 33, Jesus had been teaching His disciples for three years. And in that short time, He had gained thousands of followers, doing many a miracle. But this was all a mere build-up to His greatest miracle yet. So bear with me here.
The evening meal before His arrest was to become known as The Last Supper or the Last Evening Meal with His disciples. Here Jesus taught them what was about to happen. He said
"One of you who is eating with me is going to betray me." Here He referred to Judas Escariot, but His other disciples did not know this.
So they asked Him "is it me, Lord?". And when Judas Escariot said it, Jesus said
"What you're doing to do, do quickly." and Judas left the room and the building, and Satan entered Him.
Then Jesus spoke.
"It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognise you as My disciples." Then He broke the bread, saying
"Take and eat. This is My Body, that will be broken for you." and they ate. Then He gave them one cup of wine, saying
"Drink of this, all of you. For this is My Blood of the Covenant, poured out for many."
Then He gave them one final teaching.
"No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. I chose you, and I commission you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last. If the World hates you, realize that it hated Me first, and the Father Who sent Me. He who is going to kill me thinks he is serving God. I have told you all of this so that you may not fall away; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. I am now leaving the World and going back to my Father. But I say unto you; the Father will give you anything you ask Him in My name. So ask and it will be given to you. So your joy will be complete. If you believe and love, it does not matter what those hating you are going to do against you. You will be scattered, they will expel you from the synagogues, you will suffer tribulation. But believe firmly in Me, for I have won the World. And you shall find peace in Me."
After the Last Evening Meal Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with His disciples. This was the 3rd time in that week that He went there.
Jesus knew very well what was about to happen. Even unto this very day, nobody understands fully how sorrowful He was. "My soul is sorrowful to the point of death." He said. And as He prayed, Jesus sweated blood. He prayed
"Father, if it is possible...let this Cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let Thy Will be done, not Mine. Father, if this Cup cannot pass Me by, let Thy Will be done."
The authorities captured Him that same night when it was time - before that they tried many times, but it was not time yet and so God prevented that from happening - and brought Him before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judeah at the time. However, Pilate found no guilt in Jesus, and sent Him to King Herod the tetrarch of Galilee so that he may act upon the Sanhedrin's accusation. But he, too, found Jesus innocent. But he mocked Him and dressed Him like a king, with a robe and sceptre, and put a crown of thorns on His head.
And then Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate without a sentence.
So Pilate has all rights to let Jesus free, but the Jews wanted Him dead. So, as an act of good will from the Romans, each Passover one prisoner is set free. The choice would be to the Jews. They could choose between Jesus or Barrabas. Barrabas was a Zealot, one of the Jewish rebels that stood against the Romans. He had murdered a man and was sure to fight on if set free.
But the Jewish religious leaders (the Pharisees) chose Barrabas, only because they wanted Jesus dead. They shouted
"Crucify Him!" And so Pilate had no choice, to keep the peace. But he washed his hands from Jesus' blood as he put it.
Then Jesus was tortured in the Roman way; a more painful way of torture cannot be found.
The Romans used a whip called a flagrum, which consisted of small pieces of bone and metal attached to a number of leather strands. Unlike the Jewish way, the Roman torturer could continue as long as the men were amused or until the victim lost consciousness. The whipping would rip the skin off the back and cause flesh and tissue to become exposed, leaving severe injuries. After the flogging, the victim was often forced to carry his own crossbar, or patibulum, to the execution site, which could easily weigh 50kg. In the case of Jesus, the record shows that He may have carried His patibulum the distance of over two football fields.
Jesus was very weak and tormented, so at some point He needed someone else to carry the patibulum for Him. Once arrived at the execution site, which was Golgotha. The patibulum was put on the ground and the victim was forced to lie upon it. Spikes about 7 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter were hammered into the wrists. The spikes would hit the area of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain up the arms to the shoulders and neck. Already standing at the crucifixion site would be the 7-foot-tall post, called a stipes. In the centre of the stipes was a crude seat to “support” for the victim. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes, and the victim’s body was awkwardly turned on the seat so that the feet could be nailed to the stipes. At this point, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints. The position of the nailed body held the victim’s rib cage in a fixed position, which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. Having suffered from the scourging, the beatings and the walk with the patibulum, Jesus was described as extremely weak and dehydrated. He was probably losing significant amounts of blood. As time passed, the loss of blood and lack of oxygen would cause severe cramps, spasmodic contractions and in some cases unconsciousness. Besides Jesus were two others, murderers, who were crucified.
Some guards took His robes and threw dices for it. Thus yet another prophesy from hundreds of years prior to this was fulfilled:
"They share My clothing among them. They cast lots for My clothes."
As Jesus hung on the cross, He muttered (not speaking, as it was very hard to do so).
"Father, forgive them. They do not know what they're doing."
Then one of the other two crucified said "Aren't you the Christ, the Messiah? Safe yourself, and safe us too!"
But the other one said "Be quiet! Do you not fear God, even now as you're dying? Our punishment is justified, for we are sinners and we have done wrong. But this Man has done nothing wrong!" then he turned to Jesus.
"Jesus...please remember me, when You enter Your Kingdom?" And Jesus replied
"In truth I tell you...today you will be with me in Paradise."
Then, as Jesus drew near to His death, He shouted
"Eli, Eli! Lama sabachtani", meaning "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?". Then a great darkness came. And Jesus felt His last moments had come, and said
"Father, into Your Hands I command My Spirit...it is...FINISHED." And with a loud yell it is said He gave His life. Then the sun was blotted out, and a massive earthquake happened which tore the curtain in the Temple.
The Centurion (a man commanding a hundred soldiers) realized and said
"He really was the Son of God."
To see if Jesus really was dead, a guard stabbed Him with his spear. And out of His body came blood and water. Jesus had died.
Jesus had been dead for three days. His disciples had fled and were hiding in the city. They were planning on fleeing the city, but Peter told them to wait. Either it was he who understood best what Jesus meant with "I will break down This Temple and rebuild it in three days.", or it was God telling him to wait.
As the third day approached, some guards stood by the tomb where Jesus was buried. When suddenly the earth shook again and a bright light flashed like lightning and the guards ran for their lives.
The next day Mary and two other women (I forgot who sorry) went to the tomb to complete the burial. But when they arrived, the massive rock (it took 4 to 5 strong men to roll it in front of the tomb) was rolled away. And the tomb they saw was empty. At first they thought Jesus' body had been taken away. But He appeared to Mary who at first did not recognize Him. He said
"Woman, why are you crying?" She said "if you're the gardener, please tell me where you have taken Him and I will go to Him." But when Jesus said Her name, she was filled with wonder and an unexplainable sense of joy.
"Now that you have seen Me, go and tell My disciples."
And she did!
But once she told them, many thought the grief had turned her mad. But Peter and John went to see for themselves and it was so; the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Soon all the disciples believed and were filled with joy, except for Thomas. He wanted to, but just could not believe this. He said
"Until I lay my fingers on His hands and feel the wounds, and until I feel the wound in His side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE!"
But then Jesus appeared to them and said "Peace be with you." Thomas was more than flabbergasted.
"Here Thomas, put your hand on mine and feel the wounds. And put your hand in my side, and doubt no longer, but believe."
And Thomas believed then with all his heart. Jesus said
"You believe because you have seen me. But happy are those who do not see me and still believe! Look at my hands and feet; a ghost does not have flesh and bones. This is what I meant what I said, while I was still with you. Everything written about Me by the prophets was DESTINED to be fulfilled. So it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise on the Third Day from the dead. And that in His Name forgiveness of sin would be preached to all the nations."
Indeed, it is finished, as Jesus said! This does not mean that the work on Earth is done just yet, but I believe that it means this;
The payment of sin, which should have been ours to pay, would have been ours to pay, resulting in eternal punishment. Away from God, slaves to the Demonic Kingdom forever! We could not pay the prize, but Jesus - the innocent Lamb of God - could! And so with His death, this Payment of Sin was finished. The door to Heaven has been reopened to us all, so we may be with the Father in Heaven! All we have to do is accept that we ARE sinners and that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour. Once you do that, you invite Him into your life, and His blood will cleanse you from all Sin! As Jesus said:
"I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
You may think this as a fairy tale that is not worth remembering. But some believe and live it, and blessed are those people, for they shall be with God. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
May God bless you, and peace be unto you my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Lots of love!