Pastor Billy Jones
As we prepare for Easter, this year it will be very different, no Dawn Services this coming Sunday on a beach or mountainside, no Easter celebration in church or chapel to mark our Lords Resurrection from the dead not even an Easter egg hunt unless we have one around the house.
Services and sermons will be conducted via social media, preaching to empty churches into the privacy and security of people’s homes, indeed if truth be told, no one is in a celebratory mood, with the increasing number of Coronavirus related deaths in the UK, Ireland and throughout the world.
Yet Easter is about hope and we all need some good news at this time. Easter reminds us that darkness gives way to Light and that death leads to life.
I want to reflect briefly upon 3 aspects of Easter.
Firstly, The Lords Walk to Calvary.
As he made his way along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, from Gabbatha where he was sentenced to death by Pilate, to Golgatha where he was to be crucified as his punishment, what do we find?
It was a struggle, the weight of the cross became too much for Jesus's tortured body to bear and the help of Simon was enlisted. Willingly this man gave a hand to serve the Lord that first Easter.
How we all struggle at the moment, some with the burden of fear about their health or home, others the burden of family who they cannot see, still others about the burden of the future that they do not know. Galations 6 v2 says "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ".
We all should have that same servant attitude, observing the needs of others and offering to help them, "every little counts" one well known advert says so you can make a difference in someone's life today, by helping to carry their burden.
Up Calvary's mountain, one dreadful morn,
walked Christ my saviour, weary and worn,
facing for sinners death on the cross,
That he might save them from endless loss.
Secondly. The Lords Work on Calvary.
During what's called by many "Holy week" we remember the seven statements of Jesus, about his sufferings and his sacrifice.
One of those statements is "It is finished" a reference to his labour, John 19 v 30 not, " I am finished" referring to his life.
Jesus’ work can be described in a threefold way.
The manner of it, His life was spotless, yet Jesus reached out to those broken by sin and burdened by sin, rightly gained the reputation as being called the friend of sinners, yet Pilate having judged him said of the Lord, "I find no fault in him", John 19 v 6.
The message of it, his love was sacrificial, it knew no bounds or barriers, racial or religious. Upon the cross, he shed his blood for the salvation of all mankind who would place their trust and faith alone in him.
The ministry of it. His Labour was significant. When Jesus said "it was finished", it was a reference only to his work as Saviour of our souls, but his labour continues today, as he is now risen from the dead, seated in heaven, supplicating on behalf of God’s children and one future day, Jesus will reign as a Sovereign on the earth, when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord.
Lifted up was he to die
It is finished was his cry,
now in heaven exalted high;
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!!!
Thirdly, The Lords Wake after Calvary (reminds us of the good news of Easter)
Friday is approaching and the Lords death but Sunday follows soon after and his Resurrection.
The disciples were despondent as the two on the Emmaus road walked home, another was doubting, just couldn't believe anymore and all were devastated by the Lords death, maybe there are those who feel the same this Easter, life will never be the same for you, this past week, month, year has changed everything now an empty seat around the table in your home the comforting news is there is hope!
That visit to the tomb changed everything early that Sunday morning. The Stone over the entrance was rolled away, the soldiers guarding the tomb had fled away and the Lords grave clothes were folded away, the light of the morning sun had pierced the darkness and gloom not only in the sky but in their souls. He is not here, he is alive , he is risen!
Their despondency, doubt and devastation gave way to delight and devotion, may you have hope this Easter, Jesus is alive, there is hope for you, your faith, your future both during coronavirus and after!
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow;
because he lives all fear is gone, because I know he holds the future,
and life is worth the living
Just because he lives.