• Canon Paul Black, Rector

Resurrection makes no sense without the cross

There is an intimate connection between the resurrection and the cross. In fact, the resurrection makes no sense without the cross. The day of Jesus’ death is not called ‘bad’ Friday but ‘good’ Friday. What makes it good is the love of Jesus.

We see how, in the midst of the last week of his life, Jesus cared about others –the women of Jerusalem who sympathised with him, the thief on the cross and his mother. It speaks volumes that from the depth of his own pain he could feel the pain of others and reach out to them. He died praying for those who put him to death.

The Passion Story shows how Jesus responded to what was done to him. In spite of the cruelty that was inflicted on him, his heart never closed or hardened. Even as he hung on the cross he prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

When the women entered the tomb and found the grave empty the angel said these marvellous words to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth… He has been raised; he is not here.”

This is the resurrection moment that changed their lives. Their mood changed from one of grief and despair to living witnesses of the risen Lord, and not just the women but the other disciples as well.

That first Easter a new kind of people were born and the world was changed forever. They believed that Jesus was alive and present to them after his death, although in a radically different way. And that is the way believers regard Jesus to this day.

Christians don’t just believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but that he is alive today. He is not a heroic figure of the past, but a living person. He is not a memory, but a presence.

The Easter proclamation is not ‘Christ rose from the dead’. It is ‘Christ is risen.’ The victory of Jesus over death enables us to experience him in the present and to live our lives under the brightness of immortality.

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