Why is Easter so important to the Church? Simply put, if Jesus had not risen on the third day, he would have just become another long-forgotten person cruelly executed by the Roman empire. But…he rose from the dead never to die again, and to defeat death so that we can live with him for all eternity. And how can we be so sure? Because of the eye witness accounts of the apostles and hundreds of others who saw the resurrected Jesus. They were so convinced that many went on to martyrs deaths for the sake of Christ – sure in the knowledge that they too would be resurrected with Christ. Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!

Neville Jopson (Elder), Grace Bible Church.

Christ is risen. Alleluia. Praise the Lord.
The highlight of our Christian world is Jesus rising from the tomb. This act of God changes everything. Dejection, betrayal, denial, desertion: the disciples were lost and shattered. The one they adored and followed was crucified and publicly ridiculed. But, Jesus rose from the tomb. Everything changes.

Easter is our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. It is understood as the defeat of the two worst fears of humanity: death and sin. Jesus defeated death once and for all. Death where is your sting? Where is your victory? Death will not bring fear and dread to our lives anymore. In Jesus, and through Jesus, we have life in full – in this world and in the world to come. Praise and thanks to God.

Sin, which has bound and suppressed humanity since the beginning of creation, you too have lost your grip. You will not terrorise and dominate anymore. God has defeated sin through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Jesus is the lamb of God, sacrificed on the cross for the sin of humanity. Jesus redeemed us from sin and brought us into a new relationship with God.

Sin, we know you are there, still trying to hurt and influence lives, but you are powerless, for our Lord Jesus reigns supreme forever.

Jesus Christ is risen. Alleluia. Praise God. Christians, get up and share this glorious news with all who will listen. This is the good news of salvation. It cannot be silenced.

Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Lectionary Thursday 18th April.

Today is the last day for work in NZ, as both Good Friday and Easter Sunday are public holidays. The secular state has not removed them, yet. My church has posters up around town encourating people to an evangelical service on Sunday.

So today, I’m using two passages: one from the gospel and one from the letter of Corinthians. We should not recall this at Easter alone: but every service, every liturgy.

As we should be known by our love.

31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now [a]is the Son of Man glorified, and God [b]is glorified in Him; 32 [c]if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

John 13:31-35; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, NASB

The love we are to show is to one another. It is those who are believers, then others. For there is hatred and virtue signalling among other movements, as people show that they are more pure than the others. There are political fights for status. The world expects us to be like this, and they use these filters when reporting the things in the church.

But the church is God’s. The things of God should not be as the things of fallen men. We are called to love. And to love we cannot be like them.

Lectionary Mon 15th April

It is the Monday before Easter. Six sleeps to Easter Sunday: A prayer for today from the Orthodox Church (who probably say we’ve got the dates wrong).

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling allthings, treasury of good things and giver oflife: come; take Your abode in us; cleanse us ofevery stain, and save our souls, O Good one.

Seraphem Dedes, BrideGroom Service Monday Evening.

In this week, there will be much error proclaimed in the media. Most media is not worth your attention: it no longer reports the news — even the business press, whose entire reason for existence is to give firm intelligence for investors — and instead reports emotions and error.

Instead we shoud focus on Christ. Let social media not be a vector into our lives, but a means by which we influence others for good. The Mainsteram media deserve nothing.

For they no longer know their high priest.

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially uncl Theean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:11-15