April 2011

April 1, 2011

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

I wonder what comes into your mind when you think of the Easter story. It is a very familiar story with enough twists and turns to keep the new reader enthralled until the last page. The problem is we know it so well, or do we?

The main character Jesus travels from his home region of Galilee to Jerusalem for the Passover. His disciples, mother and a few friends travel with him and along the way more people join the group so as they approach Jerusalem it is quite big. Just outside Jerusalem Jesus ‘borrows’ a donkey and rides towards the city. This is exactly how the Jewish kings arrived at their coronation. The startled crowd began laying down palms and cloaks and praising Jesus as King. The people of Jerusalem wondered what was going on, the Chief Priests and the Roman Soldiers were conspicuous by the absence. On entering the city Jesus marched into the Temple and cleared traders and money changers from the Court of The Gentiles declaring it to be a place of prayer.

For the next three days Jesus taught and healed in the Temple, becoming ever bolder, ever more confrontational. The crowds were amazed but the Chief Priests were getting angrier by the hour and determined to find a way to stop Jesus. On the Thursday Jesus held an intimate dinner party for his disciples, just as other Rabbi’s would on this the Passover night. During the evening he challenged their thinking as he washed their feet and predicted his disciples would run away and deny him and he declared his death to be imminent. Judas could take no more and rushed off to do a deal with the Chief Priests that led to the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

After a series of hastily conducted, illegally convened trials the Roman governor, Pilate, caught in a cleft tried to wash his hands of the whole affair but allowed Jesus to be crucified on the Friday. Hanging totally naked on the cross Jesus showed compassion for his mother, his friends, others being executed and the executors as the life drained out of him. Following a total eclipse of the sun Jesus’ death was accompanied by an earthquake and the tearing of the Temple Curtain symbolising the end of all barriers between God and man. The end had come, the hopes of his followers dashed and Jesus’ body was sealed in a tomb and guarded by Roman soldiers.

On the next day, our Saturday their Sabbath, absolutely nothing happened but early on the Sunday some women from the group went to the tomb to find it open and empty. Trying to make sense of it Jesus appeared and talked with them. Later that day he appeared to other disciples, in Jerusalem and on the road to Emmaus. Jesus was not dead, he was alive! Exactly one week after the crowd had tried to make him king Jesus had demonstrated beyond all possible doubt that he was the one true King. After all even death could not beat him.

I urge you this Easter to get to grips with the story, discover its twists and nuances and allow its power to transform you.