This Easter may have been a particularly strange and muted one for Christians, with church doors closed and digital media providing a poor substitute in its place, but the significance of the event remains the same: the Son of God rises from the dead in glory, giving us a chance to live with Him eternally.
During times of crisis and fear, when our own mortality is felt acutely, the importance of the message is clear to those who believe, and to those who want to believe: that our life on earth is not the end, and we have much to look forward to after death if we choose to live now for God.
Such talk is becoming alien in western countries, and its absence may partially account for the fear that is gripping the world as an unexpected virus spreads far and wide. If this material life is the only thing we have, then fear is to be expected as we cling on to what we can. Indeed, the reality of death that many families are dealing with is all the more difficult to manage if we consider our loved one’s life as being not changed, but over.
The situation is transformed when we consider Christ however. If he did not rise then all of our faith is in vain, as St. Paul reminded the people of Corinth, but if it is true that Christ is risen and alive, that He is God, then death is only the passage to eternity that all of us must pass through. Threats to our life, although they can cause anguish, are cast into a new light when we choose to follow Christ.
We are suddenly on the brink of meeting God, the Creator who rules in perfect justice and mercy. This will be either good news or bad news depending on how we choose to live, with Jesus stating that it would be better for Judas “had he not been born.”
It would be redundant to only highlight the comforting aspects of Christianity, and spurn the stark realities that Christ warned of. Whilst eternal life is on offer, it is also clear that God will give us what we have freely chosen in this life, that it is we who choose eternity with Him or eternity without Him by deciding to follow Him or not.
For believers, it is the highest honour to realise what Christ has done and offered to each of us. For others, the question of who Christ really is remains an uncertainty. But as we all taste a truer sense of our own mortality, the need for answers will inevitably grow in the hearts and minds of many.
So perhaps it is fitting that, at a time when death is being felt and reported on pervasively, one man from Galilee announces His offer of life.