What a Week!
Part 3: The Easter Story

On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified on a hill called Calvary outside Jerusalem. He died around 3:00 that afternoon and was buried in a tomb that had been cut out of rock. All seemed lost to the followers of Jesus. But on Sunday, everything changed. What happened and why was it important?

After Jesus was buried, His enemies remembered that He had said He would rise from the dead three days after He died. They asked the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to place soldiers at Jesus' tomb and guard it day and night. They were afraid that Jesus' disciples would steal His body and claim that He had risen. Pilate agreed to this request and put a group of soldiers at the tomb.

On Sunday morning, some women who were followers of Jesus came to visit the tomb. There was then a great earthquake, and the angel of the Lord came from Heaven and rolled back the stone. The soldiers who were guarding the tomb fainted from fear. The angel told the women to not be afraid, but to come and see where Jesus had laid in His tomb. He was not there because He had risen!

The angel then told the women to go and tell Jesus' disciples that Jesus was raised and that He would soon appear to them. The women turned and started running to tell the disciples and they met the risen Jesus. He reassured them and told them to tell His disciples to go to Galilee and there He would meet them.

In the following days, Jesus was seen not only by His disciples but by several other people as well. Finally, the time came for Jesus to ascend into Heaven to be with God. Before He departed, Jesus said the following to His followers: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28: 18-20).

Why did all this happen? It happened because of sin. All men are sinners, and the only penalty a just God could put on a sinner was death and eternal separation from God in the eternal lake of fire. But a merciful God did not want that. For this reason he sent Jesus into the world. Jesus was perfect and had no sin in Him. Jesus became the sacrifice for all people who believe in Him by dying on the cross on Good Friday. If you confess that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive you and make Him the Lord of your life, you can receive the gift of eternal life in Heaven with Him and God. This Easter, if you have not done that already, there's no better time to do it than now.