Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter: Jesus is Lord of Life and Death

Today is Resurrection Sunday or Easter Sunday!  It is the most important day in the liturgical calendar.
A small baby boy was born unto us on Christmas. He grew, got baptized by John; performed miracles and taught. However, what confirmed all of this was today: the resurrection. During Jesus' time, many men claimed to be the messiah, the chosen one of Israel.

Some were even named "Jesus" and even performed 'miracles' which were nothing more than parlor tricks. Magicians like David Blaine would have had a great following in those days because the people were ignorant and could easily be tricked into believing 'tricks' Jesus of course was suspected of being such a fraud or magician. This was why He was heavily scrutinized, especially by the Pharisees and scribes who wanted to keep their monopoly on Judaism.

Well, Jesus proved them all wrong.  He said He would rise and He did (Matthew 17:23).  Jesus is the resurrection (John 11:25). Even after He died on the cross on Good Friday, the disciples wondered what would happen next. The shepherd was struck and the flock scattered (Matthew 26:31). Things seemed hopeless, but Jesus came back. Notice He appeared to a woman first.  Women are an important part of the body of Christ. In Jesus' day, women did not have much value. Their word was not as strong as that of a man's.  It sounds awful I know, but that was just how people thought back then. We cannot hold that against them because that was their culture. Nevertheless, the fact that Jesus appeared to a woman (Mary Magdalene) and she was the one who told Peter and the rest shows how important women are in God's plan (Mark 16:9). Women have worth.  Their word has value and strength.  They are equals to men. March is the month of Women's history and this fact of Jesus appearing to a woman should be focused on in Christians squares.

The resurrection proved the disciples and others that Jesus was, in fact, the messiah, the chosen one of Israel. Catholicism would not have succeeded if Jesus did not resurrect. Christianity would have just faded just like other cults at the time led by false messiahs. The resurrection validated the new covenant and its beliefs. Think about it. If I today had a group of friends, said that I was the chosen one, spoke eloquently but did not back up my talk with honesty, truth and authority, then there is no way my group of friends would develop into a worldwide major religion. It would just die out the instant I became boring to my friends or died and turned to dust.  With Jesus it was different.  Yes, He died like everyone else, but He rose again.  He showed that He was telling the truth.  He was no liar. 

God died for each one of us because we have value. We are made in His image and likeness.  He rose again showing He is in control of all things, including death (Romans 14:9). The resurrection is our hope. Death is not the end of it.  Death does not have the final say, Jesus does.  To the world, death seems eternal; but to us, death is just a nap (Wisdom 3:1-9). Jesus rose and His resurrection was a testament to everything He said. This was why people converted.  It was a historical event. This was why Catholicism spread around the Roman Empire and elsewhere faster than a virus. Atheists claim Jesus was a myth, but logically speaking, no myth can have so much weight so as to convert so many in such a short time. People convert because something happens; because truth takes hold.  They convert because they see the evidence and it speaks to them.  The resurrection was this evidence, this reason, this 'happening.

Do not let the stupidity of atheism put doubt in you.  Today is April's Fools Day and is the holiday of Atheists (Psalm 53:1).  Only a fool denies God exists.  Only a fool denies Jesus existed among men and rose from the dead. If the resurrection did not happened, Catholicism would have failed within days after the crucifixion.  Remember, there were charlatans going around Jerusalem claiming to be the Messiah.  These had their own following. However, these cults died out because their founders were not the Messiah.  Catholicism grew via the Apostles because what happened surrounding Jesus was true.  Think about it.  Would you believe me if I told you that someone rose from the dead after a week?  I think your answer would be a big NO!  The idea sounds and IS crazy.  Human beings have not changed much in regards to being skeptical about these extraordinary claims that defy nature.  Yet, an extraordinary event did happen and people believed it.  This was because the event really happened.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead then Christianity would not have been so successful. The Resurrection is the key to everything.  It is the solemnity of all solemnities, the feast of all feasts.  Christmas, Jesus' baptism, temptation, transfiguration, crucifixion etc would mean nothing if Jesus did not rise from the dead. 

Jesus proved that all He was about was true.  He is the Lord of life and death.  'Let us hope in Christ and await the final resurrection of the dead as we meet our Lord.  Jesus has risen from the dead and He said!  Alleluia!     

   

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