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The Story of Easter and Pentecost

Is Easter just about giving chocolate eggs to one another? The real story of Jesus’ crucifixion was horrific, but His resurrection would change the world forever.

The True Story
Easter is the time when traditionally, we remember the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Jesus came to earth and suffered and died so that we might live. Jesus rose from the grave after three days, and as the angel said to the two women at the tomb, “He is not here for He is risen” (Matthew 28:6).

  • Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
  • Jesus said, “…I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).
  • Jesus said, “If I am lifted up (crucified) from the earth. I will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).

    The empty tomb is not a symbol of defeat, but of victory! Down through the ages countless people have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to find the only true path for eternal peace and happiness. 'There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:12). If you are not saved then you are lost.

    ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God’ (John 1:1-2).

    Christianity is unique in that God came in the flesh (Jesus Christ - God incarnate) to save fallen mankind; and that salvation cannot be purchased with money or gold, or obtained by good works. It is a free gift from God (Romans 6:23).

  • Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25).
  • Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

    Crucifixion was one of the most barbaric and horrifying forms of execution. The Romans who adopted this method of torture, and which ultimately led to death, refused to crucify a fellow Roman citizen regardless of his or her crime. Crucifixion was designed to produce the maximum amount of pain over the longest period of time. So brutal and humiliating was it, that only the worst class of criminal was executed in this way. It was a cruel and disgusting punishment.

    Mel Gibson’s film, ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is the first movie ever to show graphically, how brutal Roman torture and crucifixion really was.

    Jesus’ Last Days
    Jesus was arrested by a crowd of thugs who were armed with swords and clubs; He was betrayed by a close friend by a kiss on the cheek. The disciples fled and deserted Him, He was alone. In the early hours He was questioned by the chief priest, elders and teachers of the law. Lies were told about Him, yet He never worked in darkness but performed all his signs openly before multitudes. He was deprived of sleep.

    Jesus was condemned like a criminal, “worthy of death,” said the religious people. Jesus was the Son of God who came in the flesh to identify with mankind. He did nothing wrong. Jesus used to preach about the Kingdom of God, and taught God’s rules and statutes. He went from village to village and from town to town, preaching the good news, healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, restoring people’s dignity, and giving people a hope of a better future to come. Jesus was perfect, pure and without blame, He only spoke the truth, and is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    Jesus' Unlawful Trial
    At Jesus' trial at least twenty-one of the Sanhedrin’s laws were broken:
  • 1. No arrest by the religious authority was to be arranged by a bribe.
  • 2. No criminal proceedings were to be taken after sunset.
  • 3. Judges and Sanhedrin members must not participate in an arrest.
  • 4. No trial could take place before the morning sacrifice.
  • 5. No secret trial was allowed - only a trial in public.
  • 6. Charges are not to be sought from a man after his arrest.
  • 7. Trial procedure - first the defence then the accusation.
  • 8. All may argue for acquittal - all may not argue for a guilty verdict.
  • 9. Any two witnesses must agree in every detail.
  • 10. No allowance is made for the accused to witness against himself.
  • 11. The High Priest is forbidden to rend his garments.
  • 12. No charges are to originate from the judges.
  • 13. A charge of blasphemy must involve the name of God.
  • 14. No condemnation of the accused is allowed on the basis of his own words alone.
  • 15. No verdict could be announced at night.
  • 16. In cases of capital punishment, the trial and verdict cannot occur on the same day.
  • 17. Voting for the death penalty is by individual vote - from the youngest to the eldest.
  • 18. A unanimous verdict for guilt shows innocence.
  • 19. The sentence for a guilty verdict must be given three days after the verdict.
  • 20. The judges are to be humane and kind.
  • 21. The person condemned to death must not be first beaten or scourged.

    The Beatings
    Jesus was spat at, blindfolded, beaten with fists and mocked. The guards took Him and also beat Him. Jesus was taken before Pilate and he had Him whipped. Jesus was tied to an upright post and had thirty-nine lashes. It was believed that forty lashes would kill a man. It was not normal to flog a man and then crucify him. The whip had metal bits and bone tied in to the end. It was designed to rip a man's flesh from him on the return stroke. It was performed by a trained Roman soldier who had to give it his all. Jesus sides were ripped open to expose his muscle ligaments, tendons and bone. The blood gushed out and trickled onto the floor.

    Jesus was led away to the palace and the whole company of soldiers was called together. Jesus had now been officially condemned to die by Pilate, even though he washed his hands of the whole affair, and said to the religious rulers, “I find no fault in this man”, “you see to it”. The soldiers could now have their fun. They put a purple robe on Jesus, placed a thick crown of thorns upon His head and put a reed in His hand. As the crown was being pressed into place, the thorns dug deep into Jesus brow and forehead and more blood flowed. The soldiers mocked Jesus and struck Him on the head with a staff. He was spat at and then they led Him away to be crucified.

    The Cross
    They forced Jeuss to carry His own rough, coarse, wooden cross, His own instrument of death. This was a heavy lump of tree and the wood splintered into His shredded body. Jesus collapsed on the floor in a heap and a man in the crowd called Simon was forced to carry Jesus’ cross.

    Jesus crawled up the hill and on reaching the top He was stripped naked and laid out on the cross with his arms apart. The Roman soldiers pounded the old long nails through Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    Two Criminals
    Jesus was lifted up and left for people to jeer at. Even the two criminals were mocking Him; one of them later realised his sinfulness and the expectation of judgement to come. This criminal rebuked the other one and said, “Don’t you fear God? We are guilty, but this man has done no wrong,” and then he turned to Jesus and said, “Lord remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” Jesus responded in love and mercy, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

    A Slow Death
    As the pain increased and the blood continued to drip to the ground, Jesus breathing became slower and slower. Each breath was painful as He gasped for more air; asphyxiation was taking place. The sins of the world were placed upon Him and the Holy Father could not look upon a sinful Person. Jesus cried out with a piercing scream, “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?” Jesus took His last breath and as a final cry He shouted, “It is finished, Father into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Jesus breathed His last and His head slumped down.

    The Immediate Results of His Death
    There was an earthquake and the rocks were split. The veil of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, and many dead saints were raised to life after Jesus' resurrection; they went into Jerusalem and astounded many. The centurion and the soldiers who were standing guard near Jesus, fearfully said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

    Joseph of Arimathea boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; Pilate was surprised to find that He was already dead. It could take up to two days for a person to die. Jesus was pierced with a spear and blood and water flowed out. Jesus had died of a broken heart. Jesus was wrapped in fine linen and was placed in a tomb, which was to be guarded by Roman soldiers, for the fear of the Religious Rulers that His body might be stolen.

    Three Days Later
    After three days there was a huge earthquake as two angels came down to earth to roll away the stone, which sealed the tomb's entrance. The guards shook like dead men and fell to the floor. It was a criminal offence, punishable by death, for any Roman soldiers to leave his post, but after the soldiers had composed themselves they disappeared in fear of their lives as the dawn was about to break.

    Some of Jesus' followers went to prepare the body with spices; they could not do it on the day that He died, as it was a holy day. When they arrived, they were amazed to see that the stone had been rolled away. They peered inside the tomb and then took courage. Stepping into the tomb, they met an angel who proclaimed, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” The angel spoke some more about what they should do and where they should go. They went to relay the messages to the rest of Jesus’ disciples and to Peter who had denied Christ on the night of His arrest.

    His Appearances
    Jesus appeared to different members of the group, at various times and in different places, as the days went by. By the end of the week, the disciples were ecstatic, and they finally came to understand that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah who had been foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament. Jesus told them that they had to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to mankind.” He promised them that signs and wonders would follow, but that they had to “wait in Jerusalem until they had received the power of the promised Holy Spirit.” By now, Jesus had been raised from the grave for about forty days and had told them much about the Kingdom of God.

    The Ascension
    At Bethany, Jesus was suddenly parted from them as He ascended into heaven. Two angels appeared and said, “This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will also come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” The disciples worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They knew not to worry as Jesus had said on a previous occasion, “I will never leave you nor forsake you, lo I am with you always even to the end of the age.” They also now knew that Jesus would come again, and that every eye would see Him, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, whether they are in heaven or in hell.

    The Holy Spirit’s Outpouring
    Fifty days has passed since the resurection. The followers of Jesus were in the upper room, praising and worshiping God, and in prayer. When the Holy Spirit came, a sound of a mighty rushing wind engulfed them and tongues of fire appeared upon each one, and they spoke in different languages as the Spirit gave utterance. The promised Holy Spirit had come, so now they could preach the gospel with power and authority.

    Eternal Salvation
  • ‘Unless a person be born again they cannot enter the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3).
  • ‘Christ died for your sins’ (1 Corinthians 15:3).
  • ‘God demonstrated His love towards us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8).
  • ‘If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9).
  • ‘Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins: and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38).
  • ‘For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:20).
  • ‘That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:9-13).
  • ‘How can we escape if neglect such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3).

    Enter Into His Life
    Jesus died so that you may have life here today, and eternal life. Is your sin so good that you want to spend eternity in hell – just to keep it?

    To enter into a relationship with the living God, you need to repent of your sin (the wrong things you think, say and do). Repentance means a change of mind; your change from a sinful lifestyle to a righteous one. You then need to believe that Jesus died for you and rose again from the dead. Ask Him into your heart and make a decision to live for His will in your life. Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:3). Repent, have faith, believe and recieve.

    You need to confess with your mouth (tell someone what you have done), get hold of a Bible and read portions of it every day. Spend time with God, in prayer and reading of the Bible (begin in the New Testament from the book of Matthew). Ask God to speak to you and to show you things from His Word (the Bible). Join yourself to a local church fellowship and mix with other Christians. Tell the pastor or minister in charge that you are a new Christian. Attend their Bible study and prayer meeting. Live holy and live for God. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill you, so that you can live more for Christ. Stand strong against temptation, and ask yourself: Would Jesus do this or that? Would He say that? Would He go there etc.?

    ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ,’ “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 1:1, 8).

    Easter Facts
    Vegreville, Canada, claims to be the home of the world’s largest Easter egg. It is decorated Ukrainian style and remains in the centre of Alberta’s Ukrainian culture; it measures nine meters long.

    The Czar of Russia, sometime before the First World War (1914-1918), ordered what are probably the most famous and expensive eggs as gifts for his immediate family. They were covered with gold and jewels. A Faberge egg necklace which was a prize possession of the last Czarina of Russia, was sold in 2002 for £100,000. The egg is covered with cinnamon enamel, overlaid with gold branch work and set with rose cut diamonds.

    During the Euro Chocolate Exhibition of 2002, more than 3,000 chocolate Easter eggs were placed on a monumental flight of steps, the Trinitia dei Monti, rising between picturesque houses in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna.

    An egg shaped home, known as the monolithic concrete dome, located near Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, America, was up for sale at £2,000,000 in 2000. It comprises of nine interconnecting egg-shaped domes.

    More About Jesus Christ:
  • Jesus Christ has Affected Billions of People! Go
  • The Cross and the Blood of Jesus - Blood Bought Redemption  Go
  • Jesus The Servant, and Our Role As A Servant  Go
  • Leviticus: The Mosaic Law. Sacrifices, the Feasts and Festivals; Jesus and the Law  Go

    To discover more about how Christ's life changed our world for the better, take a look at the book ‘How Christianity Made the Modern World.’ Go

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