Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, was arrested, mocked, beaten, and crucified, all for the sins of mankind. On the cross, bleeding, his body tortured by the nails which bound him by his hands and feet, cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He sighed his last breath and died. Immediately, the earth shook, splitting rocks and breaking down a temple. Those who witnessed this earthquake, including the very men who guarded him at the cross were terrified and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God.”
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away (Matthew 27:57:60). Worried that Jesus’ followers would take Jesus’ body to claim he had risen from the dead, the chief priests and the Pharisees asked Pilate to secure the tomb. They sealed the tomb and posted a guard.
Three days later, another earthquake shook the ground. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled back the stone. To the women who went to look at the tomb, including Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, he said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.'” (Matthew 28:5-7). They saw the empty tomb, and afraid, yet filled with joy ran to tell his disciples.
He is risen!
Every year, in the spring time, just as the grass begins to turn green and the flowers bloom, we come together at Candlewood on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for it was that very event in history that allowed humanity to be reconciled with God, an opportunity to turn from our sins to have eternal life. For many of us, we recognize that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins once and for all. We celebrate being free. We celebrate the One who took our place and redeemed our lives. We celebrate because our lives have been changed for the better, all because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
Regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey, we invite you to join us in Omaha (8701 Pacific St.) or in Lincoln (2640 R St.) on Easter Sunday (April 16, 2017) to celebrate the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus.
He is risen, indeed!