Today is Good Friday. At about 3pm, it got a little less bright. It’s well past 3pm as I write this and the Sun is shining brightly again. It is said, where ever you may be in the world, at about 3pm on a Good Friday, the weather gets slightly gloomy or overcast and when the time is past, it gets back to whatever is the weather for the day!
It was at about 3pm that Jesus Christ died on the Cross more than 2,000 years ago. His death is one of the fundamental bases of Christianity. It is important because it precedes His resurrection two days later. If He didn’t die He couldn’t have resurrected. His resurrection is another basis of Christianity. Christian life is possible because of the resurrected power of Christ. Because He rose again, He lives. Because He lives, we have access to Him to help us live, which is what Christian life is all about.
Some people question why if He were God He had to die. Well, He is God, that’s why He could die by choice and rise up again. He knew He was going to die and how. Jesus knew His fellow Jews, mainly the Scribes and the Pharisees, would frame Him and sell Him out, which they did. He was caught in the political machinations of His time and He didn’t opt out because He knew He had to die — in order to rise up again. Though terribly difficult, He, was, nevertheless in control of His destiny.
By rising from the dead, He made it possible for all who believe Him to escape whatever is the natural consequence of death. By His resurrection, we are able to receive His power by faith and live this life and then the afterlife. That’s the reason why Christians confidently declare “we have eternal life”. We live on after death with Him.
Hence, we remember Good Friday when Jesus was crucified and celebrate Easter Sunday when He resurrected from the dead. He is alive, today and everyday and we are able to live because of that.
And, He is coming back. When He died, He died like a sheep to the slaughter-house. After He rose again, He mingled with the people and a number of people saw Him again. But, when He returns, He will come as the King, unable to be challenged and all will see Him — and tremble!
You know, Muslims also believe that Jesus Christ will return but they don’t believe that He actually died. He is one of their major prophets, but they don’t believe He is God.
There are some common grounds between Christians and Muslims. I wish we could use these to build bridges instead of imposing our beliefs on either. That’s my prayer this Easter: that Christians will build bridges with our neighbours and treat them with love and respect.