Easter is a holiday, when Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. On his way to the place of execution, Jesus saw only a few of his followers. All of his disciples had fled from the city. Only few women, including Mary Magdalene, were later standing near the cross, which had an affixed sign, proclaiming his crime: INRI, “Jesus of Nazarene, King of the Jews.” The evangelist Mark says that Jesus was nailed to the cross around nine in the morning.
According to Roman law, crucifixion was the vilest and most cruel death sentence. They only executed criminals and slaves this way. Crosses were wooden, T-shaped frames, barely larger than the convicted person, and victims were bounded or nailed on it. Irrespective of whether the convicted person was tied or nailed to the cross, the cruelest thing about crossing, was the fact that the body of the convict was slowly collapsing due to exhaustion, which ultimately lead to suffocation. The man on a cross tried to straighten up over and over again, until he ran out of strength. Jesus’ terrifying battle with death lasted six hours.
Jesus’ agonizing death was witnessed by several people: the guards on Golgotha, some curious onlookers, Mary Magdalene and some of his followers. They were the only believers who remained with him until the end and heard him crying out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This was not a cry of despair, but the start of Psalm 22, a Jewish prayer for the dying. However, Jesus lost the strength to pray it to the end. “Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost,” evangelist Mark wrote with a heavy heart. Jesus died around 3 pm on April 7, 30.
Due to concerns for the ritual purity of the land, the criminals were also buried in Judea. Jews believed that unburied corpses defile ritual purity. It is written in the Gospel that the pious Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the highest Jewish council, asked Pontius Pilate for Jesus’ body. Joseph’s family tomb was at the foothills of Golgotha, most likely a cavity, hewn into the rock, which was closed with a large stone. Jesus was laid into the tomb before the trombones announced the beginning of Saturday.
Early in the morning on April 9, Mary Magdalene, and probably two or three other women, went to the tomb to anoint the body with oil, but the cavity was empty. Mary Magdalene’s sadness was large when she found an empty tomb and she almost broke down in tears. Suddenly, there was someone standing behind her, asking her why is she crying and who is she looking for. Mary asked the man about the missing body and he only said:”Mary!” She turned around and sad in Hebrew: “Rabuní,” which means Teacher. Mary recognized the voice of her teacher and the look in his eyes. Only two people, who know each other very well and are close, can recognize each other like that.
So, what happened on that morning, that believers all over the world celebrate on Easter? It is indisputable, that something had to happen, because without the resurrection, there would be no Christianity. This miracle has swept away all ancient beliefs and is the beginning of Christianity, its justification and confirmation. What happened after Jesus’ crucifixion became the foundation of a new world religion and a reason for Easter celebration. Jesus overcame death and so shall anyone who will follow him. What a wonderful and glorious hope!
The resurrection remains a mystery for scientists, who have embarked on the path to search for truth. They realized that the Apostle Peter and the other disciples were entirely sure of Jesus’ resurrection, even so much that they were willing to die for their beliefs. Only after the resurrection, Apostles and other disciples became Christians. Nothing of what Jesus taught them and no miracle that he did in front of them, did overwhelm them in a way that the resurrection did. When Jesus was alive and after he was arrested, his disciples and Apostles have repulsed and it is possible that they would never have met again. However after Jesus’ resurrection, they gathered again, organized themselves and became missionaries, who praised the presence of Jesus Christ and His Holiness.
Twenty years after the resurrection, they founded the first Christian community, which was in Rome. During subsequent missionary work in Rome, the first believers, who came to the heart of the empire, helped themselves with the Gospels. The Jews, from which the Christians finally separated, were humiliated in this heritage, even though Jesus was also a Jew. Christians did not gain new followers with the help of Jesus as a historical figure, but with Jesus from the Gospels.
Even after 2000 years, much can be deduced from the Gospels. Especially hope and faith of those who have had the opportunity to meet Jesus, whose essence can only be comprehend by a man, who firmly believes in him. Easter is therefore a holiday, when the believers celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, which brings the message that life does not end at death. It also brings a message that his story is also the story of all people. With Jesus they live, suffer and die.
By Janette Verdnik