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Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus!

Shalom and welcome, everyone. It was wonderful to come together last weekend and celebrate the most holy season in the Christian calendar. The very first Easter event changed everything! I love the way ‘The Word For Today’ describes the change for the early Jews who became Christians. It highlighted two key sacred occasions that would change forever.

1.     The Lord’s Day. For thousands of years, the Hebrew people had maintained their Sabbath doctrine. Then later, a group of early Christians who were Jews (the apostles) changed the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day! What could account for their deserting a tradition to which they had held so steadfastly? The resurrection of Christ, which happened on the first day of the week, His appearance to the disciples on the first day of the week, and the outpouring of His Spirit on the church (which inaugurated its birth) on the first day of the week. So, on the first day of the week, the disciples met to worship Him (see 1 Corinthians 16:2).

2.     The celebration of Easter. This took the place of the Jewish festival of the Passover. So why did the Jews, who regarded the Passover to be the most important event in the history of their nation, forsake it in favour of the celebration of Easter, which was the most important festival among Christians? The salutation was, ‘Christ is risen!’ The reply was, ‘Christ is risen indeed!’ (something we practiced on Easter Sunday morning last week). What fact, other than that of the resurrection, can explain the reality of the Easter celebration, which we can trace all the way back to the era of the early church? (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

It changed everything for the Jewish followers of Christ, and it ought to change everything for the non-Jewish followers of Christ too. Those who claim to be followers of Jesus would have been doing something last weekend that is strange and foreign to the World—they would have been worshipping their Lord and Saviour in the company of other believers. Why? Because we are called to live differently in this world. It is both an act of obedience and a living testimony to those around us.

With that in mind, I think it is very appropriate to have Steve Müller here today to remind us after Easter that God is the awesome, majestic Creator of everything and everyone. Just as the World wants us to conform to its pattern when it comes to Easter (making it just a ‘holi-day’ or day-off, rather than a ‘holy-day’), so it also seeks to conform us to its pattern and thinking about Creation (trying to convince us that it’s all just evolution and chance, rather than God’s sovereign design and plan). Steve will bring us a timely reminder of that.

God bless.

Pastor Rob

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