The Easter Story is our Story
Although Easter was a month ago, Philip Young explains how the events of the first Easter continue to impact our lives.
The first Easter was nearly 2000 years ago. Last month we heard again the story that Jesus died on the Friday and was raised up from the dead on the Sunday. Jesus died and on the third day He rose from the dead.
Has this story about Jesus anything to do with us? Or is it just a story about something that happened long ago? Is it just history and nothing to do with us today in 2018?
I want to say to you today that this story of Jesus is all about us. His story is our story. This story about Jesus is a story about God becoming a human being. God took on human flesh and became like us. In Jesus, God and man are one. Look at Jesus and you see God. Look at Jesus and you see a human being.
Look at Jesus on the cross and you see a human being wounded. Look at the risen Jesus when Thomas met him. He is still a wounded human being. Jesus invites Thomas to see and touch His wounds.
So how is this relevant to us? Well, we too are human beings just like Jesus. We too are wounded human beings. None of us escapes being wounded in some way – not one of us is perfect. To be human is to be wounded in some way.
We all have our own stories to tell, and somewhere in your story – your human story – there are wounds. In 2012 I was bereaved when I lost my wife – she died suddenly of a heart attack - I felt lonely and wounded. You too will have your own wounds – your own story.
The wonderful good news about Jesus is that He understands our wounds. He too was human, and He understands us because He too was wounded. He knows what it is like to be human because He too was a human being.
But the story of Easter doesn’t end with the wounded and dying Jesus. Good Friday is not the end. The story continues that Jesus is risen from the dead. If we are one with Jesus in His woundedness then we are also one with Him in His wholeness. If we are human like He was then we are also divine like He is. We are made in God’s image and so we are divine beings capable of being love bearers and light bearers. If we die with Jesus and are wounded like Him, then we also rise with Jesus and are made whole with Him.
So, the Easter story becomes our story. We die with Jesus and we rise to glory with Jesus. And this process of death and resurrection is not something that we can bring about by our own efforts. It is God’s gift to us. When Jesus rose from the dead He was brought back to life by the Spirit of God.
And the same Spirit that brought life back to Jesus after He died is the same Holy Spirit that is promised to us.
So, the stories of Easter and Pentecost are one and the same story. Will you receive the Spirit of life and rise to new life with Jesus? Will you die with Jesus and rise with Him and so make the Easter Story your own?
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency. He is now a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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