THE MEANINGS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PALM SUNDAY, GOOD FRIDAYAND EASTER EVENTS (PART THREE): EASTER/RESURRECTION

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The focus of this third and last article of a three part-series is on the Easter event which for this year 2016, was on March 27th. What is Easter all about? What is its significance for people today? How does it affect how one who believes in Jesus lives? Let us examine below in brief. The second article on Palm Sunday made the following observations:

On that first Good Friday a good, innocent is given the worst of treatment by those who are supposed to be protecting the weak and innocent. The lies, cover-ups and manipulation of the Masses seem to have won the day. In the words of Fr. Leopold Ankrah, Satan wrote, “It is finish.” But God wrote later, “To be continued.” God in his infinite wisdom and kindness can bring good out of evil. The evil intents, plans and actions of the enemy and the bitter experiences of life can be used by God to make the victim a better person. They can be used to strengthen that person’s character and make him/her fitter for life.

Good Friday is a vivid picture of the worst in mankind and the best of God Almighty. It reveals the worst in each one of us: greed, fear, wickedness, hate, jealousy, and abuse of power. But it also reveals and demonstrates in picture and indeed that God is great and gracious. He allowed his best to suffer for those who do not deserve his goodness. It teaches the vital lesson that truth, justice, and goodness will ultimately triumph over evil no matter how long it takes. Evil may win for a while but goodness has the final and best victory.

Paul makes this point in Romans 12 that evil and good will always be around us. We have to choose between the two. He is clear that evil is defeated by good and not by evil. The logic is simple, hate and hate will only multiply hate, darkness and darkness will only make greater darkness. It is only the opposite of these that will deal with them. Love conquers hate, light darkness, forgiveness guilt, and reconciliation enmity. The awful events of Good Friday achieved the greatest and best for all mankind. Evil is overcome by good.

Easter is the reverse of the awful events of Good Friday when evil seems to have triumphed over good. The Easter season for the Church this year (2016) runs from March 27th to May 14th. On May 15, 2016, is Pentecost Sunday and the emphasis of the Church liturgy and teachings change from Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit with all true believers to enable them experience and live out the victory of Jesus in their own lives.

The Easter event is centered on the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death on the cross of Calvary. Resurrections is not resuscitation which is revival of someone who dies but will die again later. Resurrection is to rise never to die and to experience a different level of existence. It is about a transformed, transfigured and gloried body and existence. It is God’s greatest victory over death and evil for mankind. Those who believe and obey the teachings of Jesus share in his victory.

Now there are three lessons, in summary form, from the resurrection event that I would like to pinpoint. The first lesson is that most good and valuable things are preceded by some sacrifice or price. “No pain, no gain.” The joyous and jubilant event of Easter Day is preceded by the agony of Good Friday. Success is invariably preceded by some great sacrifices of a solid education, training and acquisition of skills and discipline. Valuables things, including things spiritual, do not come cheap; they come with a price tag.

Lesson number two is on the women who first went to the empty tomb. The angels told them that they were looking for the living among the dead. Often in life we look in the wrong places for Jesus and for solutions to our problems and challenges. We affiliate with the wrong people and concepts and thus fail to find what we really need. Jesus and solutions are closer and yet we look afar in the wrong places!

The third lesson for the purposes of this series is on the empty tomb. The empty tomb is a powerful symbol of how God in Jesus can roll away our stones of death and countless difficulties that we create for ourselves or others place in our way. Our God gives us through the resurrection release, discharge, and an opening to get out and achieve. The resurrection teaches us that no defeats for believers are ever final ultimately. Because he lives, we too live and can overcome or bear without losing our hope, joy and peace amid the troubles and challenges of life. The last events of Jesus’ earthly life teach us and give us a living hope and power that no amount of troubles can destroy.

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