Monthly Comment

The Triumph of Easter

Easter is the triumph over adversity. Just think for a moment of what happens on Good Friday; Jesus is tried in a kangaroo court, his friends desert and deny him, he is put to death in a very cruel fashion on a cross and then ends up in a borrowed tomb. We can plainly see something of the adversity that he experienced on Good Friday but on Easter Day we encounter the risen Jesus and we know that he has triumphed over adversity.

Not only is Easter a triumph over adversity it is a triumph over failure. Death on the cross was seen as a sign of failure in the minds of the people of Jesus’ day. As Paul reminds us, “Do you remember the Scripture that says, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross” (Galatians 3:13). But Easter tells us that, Jesus, the one who was thought to be cursed triumphs over death and rises again.

Easter is a triumph over the affront that death is for many people, an affront that is well summed up in these words of Shakespeare, “Death is a fearful thing: the wearied and most loathed worldly life that age, ache, penury and imprisonment can lay on nature, is a paradise to what we fear of death”. The risen Jesus tells us that death doesn’t mark the end but rather the door to eternal life.

The triumph of Easter is not just a triumph for Jesus but a triumph for us; or at least for all who take hold of Jesus and the offer of hope that comes with the resurrection. This is exactly the hope that Jesus offers to Martha, as we read in John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”. Martha is gripped by the despair that has resulted from the death of her brother but is offered the triumph of Easter. Martha certainly accepts the offer Jesus makes to her for in the next verse in John’s gospel she affirms her belief in Jesus and so shares in the triumph of Easter. But what of us do we like Martha affirm our trust in Jesus so we can share in the triumph of Easter?

 

David Nichol