The weekend that changed the world

Easter weekend is sometimes referred to as 'The weekend that changed the world', and Christians across the world agree - the love of God shown on Good Friday and the power of God revealed in the empty tomb on Easter Day make an amazing combination, we have so much to thank God for.

 Recently I heard it said that "none of us would even have heard of Jesus if it wasn't for him being raised from the dead".  I agree: the resurrection of Jesus from the grave shows that nothing at all, not even death, is a match for the power of God.  And it's not just wishful thinking - over 500 people saw the risen Jesus (roughly equivalent to the regular crowd at Poole Town FC, where I'm honorary chaplain). 

 Watching a game of football, members of the crowd all see it from different angles around the pitch, but we know what we see and it's not our imagination.  As St Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, his readers didn't have to take his word for it - they could go and check with other people who saw the risen Jesus.

 If we read on in that chapter, we learn that the resurrection is not just amazing history - it has direct personal relevance for all followers of Jesus.  This was brought home to me while talking with a young mum dying of cancer.  I will always remember her quoting the last verse of the hymn 'In Christ alone': "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me … no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand".  Thank God for that.