This review of Mountain View’s Good Friday Service features photos by Joseph Lawrence. The Good Friday service consisted of a reader’s theatre production that told the story of the events that took place beginning with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and ending with his death on the cross. The production was broken up by scripture readings and musical worship. The night concluded with a time of worship, communion, and reflection. Each person also had the opportunity to take a slip of paper that says “King of my heart” onto a wooden cross as a reminder of who it is that we worship. The whole evening served as a reminder to us all of just how great the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf was.
HE IS RISEN!!!
On this day, Resurrection Sunday--Easter, we celebrate one thing, an empty tomb--a risen Savior. Everything hinges on this. The Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose from the grave three days later is the core of Christianity. We don't stay focused on His death, because everyone dies. The miracle is the fact that He didn't stay dead. If there was no resurrection...
If there was no resurrection, then Jesus lied before He died. Jesus said He was going to die and come back to life on the third day. Here are some examples:
"From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day." (Mat.t 16:21 CSB)
"The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day." (Luke 9:22 CSB)
If there was no resurrection, then why did Jesus' disciples, including the apostle Paul, believe so much that Jesus rose from the grave that they were willing to die for it? Take a moment to consider these few who died terrible deaths.
James, the brother of John, was put to death by the sword by Herod Agrippa I, just before Passover, around A.D. 44 (Acts 12:1-2).
Peter was crucified in Rome, during the persecution under Emperor Nero, in A.D. 67 or 68. Origen records that he was crucified upside down, because he didn't consider himself worthy to die the same way as Jesus.
Paul was beheaded during the same time, outside the city of Rome.
Andrew is traditionally reported to have been crucified in Patrae, in Achaia.
Matthew is traditionally considered to have been martyred in Ethiopia.
Thomas is said to have died by a lance in Persia or India.
James, son of Alpheus, was thrown down from the temple and stoned by scribes and Pharisees, according to tradition.
Jude (Thaddeus), was reported to have been martyred and was buried in present day Iran.
John was tortured, imprisoned and exiled, and died between the year 90 and 120.
If there was no resurrection, then the apostle Paul says we are all in trouble. We need Jesus because of sin. He is the sacrifice that brings us to God, but if Jesus did not come out of that tomb, then we are still separated from God, spiritually dead, and going to hell. Here it is in his own words:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. (1Cor. 15:17-19 CSB)
So, take time to consider what the resurrection means. IT CHANGES EVERYTHING. Hundreds of men and women saw Jesus "in the flesh," alive, after He was buried and rose form the dead. Over 500 saw Him at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). If these people just made it up, why go to such great lengths. No body willingly dies for a lie, unless they are crazy. The explanation is that these people saw life after death. Jesus is not some ethereal wisp of a spirit we hope to catch a glimpse of . He breaths. Blood flows through his veins. He lives right now, in the presence of God-the-Father. Jesus said He is God-the-Son. The resurrection proves it. He was sinless so He was able to pay for your sins and mine.
Stop right now and talk to Jesus. Thank Him for taking your sins upon Himself. He lives to listen. Because He lives, if you believe in Him, even if you die, you will live forever.