EASTER MESSAGE 2019
1. INTRODUCTION My Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
For us as Christians Easter is a very special season, as we remember and reenact the most significant event in the salvation history of God during this period.
The Easter season it is divided into four major parts, namely:
1. The period of identifying with the sufferings of Christ, which goes through the forty days of lent including the Passion Week. This is a period of serious reflection and prayer and that is why every Christian must have a holy anger against the commercialization of the Passion Week in our country or in any other part of the world. It is a solemn moment for we Christians. To turn the Passion Week into party events is an insult to the Christian faith;
2. The period of appreciating the atonement, which happens on Good Friday;
3. The period of conquering of death and evil forces which happens on Holy Saturday. In the Apostles’ Creed we call it the Descent into hell; actually this is also coterminous with the Good Friday event; and
4. The period of complete triumph and hope which happens on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the actual resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are several lessons that we can learn from the Easter event but I wish to draw our attention to a few of them this year:
1.The Problem of Greed: we all seem to blame Judas for the death of Jesus so much so that most people will not dare name their children as Judas, thinking that Judas is the most wicked person in the world. But we must note that through the story of Judas, God wants to teach us that greed is the number one destroyer of life and of communities in this world. Judas was a disciple, the treasurer of the disciples. Yet he wanted more money than the community of the beloved. So he betrayed his master for money.
According to Luke 22:1-6, Judas went to the Chief Priests and Officers and transacted business with the life of Jesus. The people were delighted with the business transaction and agreed to give Judas money. This has been the greatest problem throughout all generations. People always want more money than the beloved community. In as much as money can do good things, greed is a spiritual killer disease. It can make you betray your good friends; greed will destroy any good community. In our Christian growth let us eschew any form of greed. Let us exorcise greed anywhere we find it, whether in the church or in government or at the work place or in the palace. Greed is a spiritual and moral killer disease.
2. The Problem of Envy. From a socio-political perspective Jesus was killed because of envy. Even the Governor Pilate realized this, as it is written in Matt. 27:18, “for he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him”. Because of his preaching, teaching and healing, several people followed him instead of the people in authority. It got worse when he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:45-48). Jesus was getting too much attention and was becoming too famous to the dislike of the powers that be. So they had to bring him down. Some of them like Nicodemus knew that Jesus could only do what he did only if God was with him (John 3:2). But for others, although they agreed with Nicodemus, yet Jesus was becoming too famous, more famous than them so they had to get rid of him.
That is sad but unfortunately we have several people in our churches, church leadership and in our societies who are still killing Jesus because of envy. They can really see the hand of God in another person but because of envy they wish that person were not alive. There are people who just do not know how to celebrate other good people. Their modus operandi is either they are the center of attraction or every conversation must halt. So they bring everybody down in their conversation. If they are in one political party, everything that the other political party does must be wrong, even if it is excellent. Once a good idea does not come from them, it must be branded as wrong. This pull him down spirit is an evil spirit that must be exorcised wherever it is.
Rt Rev Prof Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana