Big Easter surprises

Image from: https://www.gospelimages.com/paintings/66/the-women-return-from-the-grave-after-jesus-resurrection

Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James (and possibly other women) had come to the tomb of their teacher and friend.

The earth shook and rumbled with an awesome force. Something great was about to happen.

A holy being suddenly appeared.

Surprise!

This strong and mighty angel was bursting with bright light and illuminated the atmosphere. Its robe radiated with pure white light. This was one of God’s holy angels sent to assist in God’s work.

The angel began to roll the stone away, uncovering the tomb.

The guards on duty that day, who were tasked to guard the tomb of the crucified Jesus, were now trembling in shock. Being completely overwhelmed, they sat in disbelief and amazement by what they had just witnessed. They had never seen such a powerful display of power from heaven.

Surprise!

God’s holy angel told the women there’s no reason to fear. It said, “Jesus is no longer here. He’s come back to life. Come inside the tomb. Check it out. Take a look for yourselves.”

Surprise!

The angel told them, “You’ve seen where his body had once laid. He’s alive. Now, go and tell Jesus’ disciples that he has resurrected from death. Jesus is no longer dead. He is now alive.”

Overwhelmed with joy and excitement, they made their way to Galilee.

As these two women approached Jesus,Jesus appeared and said to them:

“Hey it’s me! Surprise!

Good morning. What a great morning it is this day.

You must be in shock, I know, but there’s no need to fear.

Check me out. It’s really me, your’s truly, Jesus of Nazareth, your old friend. Touch me yourself. Feel that I am indeed real. I have skin and bones. I have nail marks on me. I’m not just a ghost or an apparition.

They looked at Jesus. Surprised and bewildered.

They touched his two ankles, his feet and felt that his body was real indeed.

He was not a ghost or apparition. He was real indeed.

Then they worshiped Jesus.

What a great surprise for these women this day. Almost too much of a surprise to take in. Almost too unbelievable if they hadn’t seen him for themselves.

Jesus then told the women, “Go now, and tell my brothers to start heading up to Galilee. I will meet up with them there.”

So off they went to inform the disciples of this great news.

Indeed, it was a great day, filled with big big surprises.

Happy Easter!

What is Easter?

Resurrection by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), tempera on wood, 70×92 cm, detail depicting Christ, 1457-1459

Easter comes two days after Good Friday. It is the fulfillment of the prophesied Messiah who was to come. We know the Messiah or Savior as Jesus who resurrected from the dead.

Christians commemorate Easter as the most holy day in Christianity. It is the reason believers in Christ Jesus believe in new and eternal life. Jesus rose again from the dead and defeated death; thereby, giving us the promise of eternal life that we will also rise again.

Holy week (Passion week) begins after Palm or Passion Sunday. Known as Pashchal (Holy/Easter) Triduum to Catholics, this includes the evening of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (last three days of Lent). Devoted Catholics have traditionally observed these days with prayer, fasting and abstinence.

Everything builds up to the grand finale. Easter Sunday morning is like the grand finale when Jesus is resurrected from the dead. As Christians, Jesus resurrection is the reason we sing “Hallelujah” and give the Lord praise and glory.

Comment on art: This piece by Montegna is full of life. The Roman gaurds are in shock. Their expressions are priceless. Jesus stands one foot on the tomb pointing to the sky as if to say, “I have conquered death… and up is where I’m going.”

What is the origin of Easter

The Resurrection of Christ, 1700 (oil on canvas) by Noel Coypel (1628-1707)

Jesus’ resurrection happened over 2,000 years ago. Over 500 Christians saw Jesus personally after he resurrected in bodily form. He walked and talked with people right up to the time he ascended into heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). We as Christians have a very unique and wonderful story of resurrection. We also have a very unique God-man who lived in our human history. Jesus actually walked this earth. He healed the sick, lame, blind, and taught about good news that set people free from religious bondage. Best thing of all was that Jesus rose from the dead.

You might have heard that the origins of Easter were pagan. The word “Easter” comes from the word Ashtur or Ishtar. Ishtar who gave birth to Tammuz. The mythical Tammuz had died and was resurrected. Despite the pagan origins of Tammuz’ resurrection, Jesus’ resurrection is still unique and true.

Christianity assimilated old ideas into new ones. Jesus’ resurrection was huge. It liberated the old culture from its past. The glorious resurrection of Jesus has captured the hearts and minds of billions of people because of the truth of Jesus. People are being given a new and fresh life and faith in the One who saves–Jesus Christ.

There are books written about this pagan god and cult of Tammuz and Ishtar also referred to in the bible (here). There is only a distant connection and similarities. On the whole, Jesus resurrection is unique. Jesus was the most unique person to ever walk this earth. This is why we celebrate Easter.

Comment on art: The bewilderment of the guards and the delightful surprise of the two women at the resurrection stands in stark contrast. This pieces is filled with emotion, passion, and action. The color pops. The attention to detail is there. I just love this piece.