My dear Albanian Community,

I greet you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ who is our Lord and saviour. We have come to the time of the year when we celebrate Good Friday, “That terrible Friday has been called Good Friday because it has led to the Resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death and sin.”

I would like to encourage us all to consider what the resurrection of Jesus might mean for us. Now, there are many things in this world that we find hard to understand. For instance, a bumblebee has a large body and short, stubby wings – how does it fly? How does light split into a spectrum of all the colours of the rainbow? How does a nuclear reaction work? How far does space stretch?

Today, as we observe Good Friday and leading up to Easter this coming Sunday, let us consider a few puzzling questions: how and why was Jesus resurrected? Was there a man called Jesus in the first place? Who was he? Is the Bible even real? What if this was all made up to get the people in the world to behave in a good way? These are questions I’ve asked myself before as a child and even well into my teen years. Why is most of the world still going on about Jesus Christ, a man that lived more than 2023 years ago! Christianity is the largest religion worldwide which accounts for (31.2%) of the global population.

According to a report published in early January by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, it is projected that there will be over 2.6 billion Christians worldwide by the middle of 2023 and around 3.3 billion by 2050. Why? Why is this so important? Perhaps it is because of the resurrection, the fact that Jesus is Alive, the fact that He is real, and once people accept him in their lives, everything changes regardless of what their past looks like. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 21, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. (NIV Version)

The fact is that when receive Christ we realise amazing things about ourselves, and we reach our full potential. After the crucifixion, Jesus’ dead body had been sealed in a tomb, with a large stone rolled across it. Three days later, the body had disappeared from that tomb. How? What are the theories?

Some people suggest that the disciples stole Jesus’ body themselves. But would those disciples have been willing to suffer persecution and death if they knew that the basic premise of Jesus’ resurrection was a lie?

Others suggest that the Roman or Jewish authorities took the body. But, if that was so, why didn’t they produce it when Jesus’ followers claimed that he was alive again?

Another theory is that Jesus wasn’t really dead when his body was placed in the tomb – but it’s hard to believe that when we consider that he had been flogged, crucified, and stabbed with a spear. He couldn’t have revived in the tomb and rolled away the heavy stone.

So, Jesus was dead and then he was alive again! The enormity of this event goes beyond our understanding.

Now Let’s Consider What the Resurrection Means

 Death is one of life’s certainties, but Jesus’ resurrection is a victory over death. If Jesus was raised to life again, maybe the doorway that He created is open to us too. Maybe this life is not the end. There is more.

The resurrection is seen as a victory of good over evil. It showed that God could defeat the worst that could be thrown at Him. So, maybe God can also change the evil in our present world.

I believe that the resurrection is a way of erasing the bad side of our lives, all the guilt and regret – what the Bible calls sin. It’s still very difficult to comprehend, but it gives us food for thought.

So, what, if any, impact does Jesus’ resurrection have on us?

Firstly, I find it reassuring to think that this life is not all there is. A famous comedian called Spike Milligan is rumoured to have said, on his deathbed, “Is that it?” In other words, “Is this short length of time all I’m given?” The resurrection suggests that Jesus has opened a door through which we might travel into a new life. That to me sounds good!

Secondly, if God can protect us from evil and change evil to good, it’s worth our while to pray about what is happening day by day in the present world, especially is South Africa. The resurrection suggests that God can change things here and now. Do you believe that God can change your situation?

Lastly, the resurrection suggests that we can become better people. That the mistakes that we regret can be forgiven. That our selfishness can be changed to generosity. That the world can be a better place because we are part of it. Because of the resurrection, our life is worth living. That’s why as a Christian, I believe that Easter Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, is the best day ever.

May God’s blessing be with us during these Easter holidays and may He please keep us safe and give us rest so we may be renewed and refreshed. Full of health, full of fun, and ready to return and learn again. May God’s blessings await us in Trinity Term, to embrace each new challenge without fear. Fill the College with Your love and guide our hearts from above. Full of faith, full of hope, full of joy, and full of love. Amen.

Reverend (Fr) Thabang Bengani