Easter Prayer of Confession

Gracious Father,
you sent your Son to die and rise to new life
in order that death might be brought to an end
and that we might live a new life in Him.

Yet we confess that we too often have chosen to remain
captive to doubt and fear and ways that lead to death.
By our thoughts, words, and actions,
we have scorned your love,
diminished the lives of others,
and defaced your image in us.

Father, forgive us for Jesus’ sake,
and enable us by His resurrection power
to live no longer for ourselves
but for Him who died and rose again for us. Amen.

(Prayer from: http://www.missionalchallenge.com/easter-prayer-of-confession/#.VtpVQpwrKhc)

Title: The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection.  Eugene Burnand (1850-1921)

In this painting, the artist captured Peter and John’s sense of urgency and determination.  There is also a sense of uncertainty and anxiety mixed with excitement (“could it really be true that our Lord is alive?”)  Some of us might have these same feelings. Pray that the Holy Spirit may give you certainty of Jesus resurrection and life hidden in Christ Jesus.

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Easter resurrection – Happy Easter

Easter - Angel Sits on StoneSome people don’t believe that there is a resurrection.  They believe that once they have passed on from this life, there will be no other life in the future. They live, they die and memories of themselves will just fizzle away like as if they had never existed.  The Sadducees (who are different from Pharisees) didn’t believe in the resurrection.  There are some religions in the world today that don’t believe in the after-life.  If that’s the case, what purpose is there in living this life?  Why not just “live it up” while we’re here now?

We as Christians follow what Christ has taught us.  He said to the other crucified criminal next to him on the other cross that “Truly, I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise” (Lk.23:43).  This was a promise he made to this criminal who repented of his sins.  Jesus taught about a resurrection.   There will be a resurrection of the all the dead who died believing in Jesus as Christ, the anointed One.

But why should we believe this?  We believe it because Christ has indeed risen from the dead. There are historical non-biblical documents written by non-biblical writers who wrote that there was indeed a man named Jesus who was crucified on the cross and that he was accused of going against the Roman government (ex. Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius).  Plus dozens of Christian historians from the 1-2 c. report his resurrection as a fact.  And the four gospels say that he has risen from the dead.  His body was not left in the tomb, but was found empty.  He was witnessed by over 500 followers in the same place at the same time (read 1 Cor. 15:6).

What we have in this life is only a short brief period of chronological time. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:2-3: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”.

What this means is that our real life, the everlasting life that is coming is the life that we have living with Jesus.  When we know that there is something greater to look forward to in the future, we will feel an amazing amount of freedom to just rest and to “be”. To just rest and “be” here on earth can free us from the worries of this life. It means we won’t have to strive or work like as if it were life and death. We can take it easy. It means that we can give up all the things that cause us to worry, and put the uncertain things into God’s hands. And God will give you an amazing peace that no human mind without of God can ever imagine. What this also means is that you will have peace in the next life, and also peace in this life.

A case for the resurrection of Jesus

Jesus is risen. That is why we as Christians celebrate Easter.
But for more Christians are planted seeds of doubt these days.  Science may try to ‘poke holes into the resurrected Jesus’ [ 😉 above image], but it cannot completely disprove that Jesus’ resurrection from death is impossible and unverifiable.

Is the Christian faith based on science and reliability of evidence? No, I think not.  Biblical and archeaological scholarship may be, but faith in a risen Christ  is based on faith, but not blind faith. Faith is the knowing through revelation from God’s Holy Spirit.  However, revelation and faith cannot be disproven by science either. The two are not equivalent, but yet, are inclusive of one another and not exclusive.  Biblical research does back up  the resurrection of Jesus.

There are resources for churches that give recent biblical research on the resurrection. Here’s a sample of one from Credo House called A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Dr. Mike Licona and Michael Patton that would be worth considering to get for your church.

Was all that pain necessary for our salvation?

Was all that pain necessary for our salvation?

In comparison to Jesus, do you think anyone else in this life has endured a similar level of pain Jesus went through?

[ This video on Christ’s passion put together with great music and scenes from the movie “Passion of the Christ” so it might be a little on the graphic side. ]

He is Risen! Hallelujah!

Hopefully, you have been encouraged this Easter Sunday morning of Christ’s resurrection. For me personally, Christ’s resurrection is the most important event and theological issue for the church. Moreover, I would consider one’s belief in the resurrection to be the most important factor in determining the current status of a person’s life and faith in Christ in that moment in time. You may have another.

L: He is Risen! Hallelujah!
All: He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!

That is what we profess from our ancient church creeds; and that is what we proclaim to one another and to the world. In the Apostles’ Creed, we profess that:

“On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead….I believe in…the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”

There is a connection within our confession and profession of faith. It is because Christ has risen on the third day, has ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right of the Father, that we believe Christ will come again and we look forward to the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

If Jesus did not rise from death, there would be no reason our whole celebration of Christ resurrection, and therefore, no reason for Easter season.

Would there be a reason for Christianity if there was no reason for Christ’s resurrection, and for our own resurrection in the future?

Undoubtedly, there are many non-believers, and even amongst some self-professed Christians, who doubt the resurrection of Christ. If we have no reason to believe in the resurrection of Christ, we have no basis to believe in the future of our own resurrection from death. We would just be temporary living blobs of life who will live and die and never again experience life; nor will we have any memory of having lived life on earth.

Yes, I am one of these hopeful Christians who believe that we will rise again from death and retain our living memories of our time on earth and live again to experience life forever with God in Christ Jesus. Whether we will be resurrected in body form or another form is a non-issue for me personally.

The most important issue for me is that we will be resurrected from death into life, as in accordance to scripture.

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb saying: “Mary…do not hold onto me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “’I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:16-17, NRSV).

The women Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome saw only an empty tomb and an angel dressed in white who asked: “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here” (Mark 16:6, NRSV).

Would you consider the resurrection to be the most important factor in determining the current status of a person’s life and faith in Christ in that moment in time?


HatTip: Eddie Arthur