The first day of the week

The General’s Easter message 2010

by Shaw Clifton, General –

THE events of the first Easter are recorded for ever in our Bibles. The four gospel writers devote ample space to it all. Matthew’s account (please look it up in your Bible and read it for yourself) climaxes in his 28th chapter where he describes what took place on the day after the Sabbath. We call that day Sunday. Every Sunday is a celebration of resurrection. The Sunday after Good Friday, Easter Day, is a great day of rejoicing for Christian believers.

It was dawn when the two Marys went to look at the tomb where others had laid Jesus. There they encountered a Heavenly messenger who, because the huge stone covering the mouth of the grave had been rolled back and because the Roman military guards were paralyzed with fear, anticipated their shocked reaction. ‘Do not be afraid,’ they were told.

Announcing to the women that the Lord was risen, the angel invited them to enter the tomb and see for themselves. They did so and at once returned to the other disciples to report their extraordinary encounter. What a wonderful privilege for these two women! They were the first to see and enter the empty tomb of Jesus and the first to go and tell of it.

More was to come. As they hurried to find and tell the others, suddenly the Risen Lord appeared to them. We note again the privileged role of women early on that Resurrection Morning. This reminds us to thank God for all women believers and for women who are called to sacred ministry roles in the Body of Christ today. These include thousands of women in The Salvation Army who have been called, commissioned and ordained to spiritual leadership. This Easter they will proclaim again faithfully the Resurrection story and many will be blessed.

The two Marys fell at the feet of the Lord on that first day of the week. Will you? Gladly they heard his Resurrection greeting: ‘Do not be afraid.’ Do you hear it too? Is not your heart reassured? ‘Go and tell,’ he commanded them, and they obeyed. Will you?

I enfold in my prayers all who read this short Easter message. May the crucified agony of Jesus, endured for you and me, move us to the depths of our being, and may the matchless joy of that first Easter day and of our Lord’s Resurrection fill us all through and through!

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!

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