Did you know that the word Easter comes to us from the word “eastern” or “easterly?” That was the direction that a worshipper from the west should face when they reflect on the place of their redemption – namely Jerusalem.
From the Bible there is little evidence that Jesus was worshipped before the resurrection, yet it is certainly clear he was afterwards. In one of Paul’s early letters written to the church in Corinth around 55 AD, we read the famous Maranatha prayer, “Come O Lord”. Here Paul uses the Aramaic expression Maranatha giving us an insight into the prayer life of the early Jewish followers of Jesus. They knew he was alive and longed for his return just as he promised.
The resurrection had changed their lives completely. They hadn’t seen the resurrection, only the angels saw that, but they had seen the resurrected Jesus. This was no wishful thinking that came true in a dream or a vision. No, the focus in the Bible is that Jesus took the initiative and “appeared” before his disciples. In fact 1 Corinthians 15 says he appeared to a number of different groups and individuals at different places times in different places, even up to 500 people at one time.
On Easter Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. It stands as the focus of our faith as we join with millions through history and around the world in celebrating the bodily resurrection of Christ. Without the resurrection there is no faith and reason to worship. But with it everything is changed. Death has been defeated, and victory over sin has been declared.
This is the hope of the world, the promise of new life for everyone, everywhere. May your life and family be full of this hope today and throughout the coming year.
Stephen L Baxter