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Title: EASTER: Celebrating the “Unshakeable” Ever-Present Companion
Date: 01-Mar-2016
Category: Bishop's Message
Source/Author: Bishop Dr. Ong Hwai Teik

One of the most heart-warming truths about Easter is the theme of personal encounters that is a keythread throughout the resurrection appearances of the risen Lord Jesus.

Among the significant personal encounters recorded in the gospel accounts of such a heart-changing meeting is found in Luke 24:13-35 on the road to Emmaus. Luke tells us where the focus of the thought, emotion and will of Cleopas and his companion were caught up with.

Three different words were used in the original language of this account to convey the process of their verbal communication which points to how much the crucifixion occupied their thinking and talking. They were preoccupied with the people, place and proceedings of the past few days. They were wholly consumed by their own emotional struggle with a totally unexpected catastrophic outcome – the humiliating death of the One in Whom they had been so sure was the undefeatable Messiah Who had come to vindicate Israel against the oppressive Roman Empire.

Hence they were cut to the core by the blade of disappointment, overshadowed and weighed down by a concoction of perplexity, grief and dispiritedness. Not only that – both disciples were overtaken with questions begging to be  answered, full of “conversing and debating” [Luke 24:15] as they trudged along. So full were they of their pain, questions and woe that even to a complete stranger, their tale of woe and disillusionment just came tumbling out! They just honestly could not hold it in!

Easter clearly demonstrates the truth that the risen Christ is “greater and bigger” than sin and death; and that He is pre- sent with those who trusts Him even when they “cannot see Him” or recognise Him [at least at first like Cleopas and his companion]. Psalm 34:18 says The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. This included Mary Magdalene [John 20:1-18] who was one of the most devoted and loyal disciples of the Lord Jesus. Her heart too was crushed at Calvary, until she personally saw the empty tomb!

Easter is also about the reality of God’s “thoughts are not your thought, nor your ways My ways” [Isaiah 55:8] – as often our human reactions would reveal, notwithstanding 
the fact that we are believers. The sovereign and almighty God is not afraid of our questions, but instead gives us the freedom of praying and addressing Him. We can be open, honest and sincere in pouring our hearts out to Him Who is ever present. For often, it is at that place where we are most vulnerable and exposed that we are most open and receptive to His presence.

Christian teacher and writer Steve Harper says, “When we ask why in our prayers, we have somehow recognized that we are permitted to bring every question, every issue, every confusion and every struggle to God. We may not understand what is going on, but God knows that we cannot pray authentically unless we can honestly express every thought and emotion.”

Easter is about “returning to Jerusalem” [Luke 24:33] and reunions with the faith community. It is about changing wrong courses and returning to where we know we belong with our brothers and sisters in worshipping the Risen Lord of the Church. Easter calls us not to be in isolation, but to “hurry back” to be surrounded by fellow disciples and believers so that we keep watch over each other, building each other up in our faith by sharing  stories of our personal encounters with Christ the risen Lord. It is also a time to remember with hope our loved ones who have “died in Christ” and with whom we shall one day re-unite.

The late William Barclay aptly sums up the powerful message  of the Resurrection of Christ by saying that it proves and demonstrates that truth is stronger than falsehood, good is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hatred, and that life is stronger than death!

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our risen ever-present Companion grant you an Easter that is filled with “undimini- shable” hope, enchanting wonder and joy unspeakable!

“Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!”


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