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After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became as dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see hinm.’ Now I have told you.” Matthew 28: 1-7

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For years the book Rembrandt: Life of Christ has been a visual aid for our gospel readings, but never more regularly than at Easter time. I just love it. Of significance to me is that Rembrandt put a self portrait under the cross (figure in the blue artists beret), indicating his personal involvement in the crucifixion.

As I child, I struggled with the question “Would I have screamed out with the crowd, ‘Crucify him’?”
The nuns who taught me, stressed to me that I would have been caught up in the hysteria, but I could never really accept that. I knew I loved God. I had some comprehension (by God’s grace), even as a 7 year old girl, of the Cross as something done for me, but didn’t know then how much I needed to mature and realise (also through the grace of God) the reality of the Cross as something done by me. (see this post)

These thoughts from our friend Nick in an email tonight:

What an incredible time of year to be able to take stock and marvel at God’s great work for us, in sending Jesus to take the just punishment for our sins, and raising Him mightily as Lord and Ruler of all. I was reminded today of the twin aspects of the Cross. In the same act we see both God’s greatest outworking of His love for us, and His clearest verdict concerning our sin. It has been said that ‘before we can see the Cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance).’ We first need to acknowledge that it is our sin driving the nails in, before we can glory in Christ’s great work of salvation.

God’s sovereign work in the Cross of Christ is expressed well by Octavius Winslow – ‘Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money, not Pilate for fear, not the Jews for envy, but the Father, for love!’

May the message of the Cross and the Resurrection reach new ears this Easter weekend.

Reading the article referred to below made me think of the Rembrandt painting in our book of his paintings on ‘The Life of Christ’. The artist definitely saw himself as a perpetrator; hence he painted himself (complete with artist’s beret) into the artwork. See image.

I have just read a moving article by Carolyn McCulley about the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection for each believer. She states: Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.

Now to find the time to actually sit, mull it over and be thankful.

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