Presbyterian Moderator’s 2018 Easter Message

The Presbyterian Moderator’s 2018 Easter message reminds us that at the heart of the Christian message is the fact that death is not the end for everyday disciples of Jesus. The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt Rev Dr Noble McNeely, writes that there will always be more to come, because of what Christ did for us nearly 2,000 years ago – for at Easter ‘we celebrate a victory’.

Presbyterian Moderator's 2018 Easter Message
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rt. Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely,

The full text of the Presbyterian Moderator’s 2018 Easter Message.

“On 4 February 2013 the University of Leicester confirmed that the skeleton discovered by deep-penetrating radar under a car park in the city was in fact the remains of the 15th century English king, Richard III. The reburial of the late monarch’s remains, three years ago this month, was quite a ceremony.

Jerusalem, another city in a different land, probably has more archaeological digs than any other in the world, yet the bones of Jesus have never been found. The reason? Jesus lives and at Easter people across Ireland and throughout the world will share in the celebration of His resurrection.

The Christian message is that death is not the end. 1 Corinthians 15 affirms what we believe: That Christ died for our sins, that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day. The Message translation of this passage includes the line: “And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever…”

At Easter we celebrate a victory. Later, in verse 54 we read, “Death is swallowed up in victory” and in verse 57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We who believe are already on a victory parade! In 2011 the successful Real Madrid football team were on their victory parade when embarrassingly one of the players dropped the Copa del Rey from the upper deck of their bus. At Easter we can claim we are on the open top bus praising God – and we have a firm grip of the trophy!

Easter assures me that we will triumphantly go to be with God and will rise victoriously with Jesus when He comes again. Death is real, but grief is transformed because for us death is not the end; there will always be more to come as we have put our hope in Christ.

Billy Graham, the great 20th century evangelist who died last month, adapted DL Moody’s words, the great 19th century evangelist, when he wrote this about his own demise, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
– And so will we.

Sadly, many people consider Easter as simply a holiday, joining countless others travelling to their regular Easter destinations. At the same time, there will be many who will not be considering the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. There are also many people who attend church at Easter who are neglecting what happens to them when their earthly life comes to an end. We need to tell them of the eternal hope that is to be had in Jesus Christ.

We thank God that Easter’s promise is that Jesus died and rose again and we can claim the victory. On Easter Sunday we can tell the world that we know the final score and as everyday disciples of Jesus, we’re on the winning team – and it is not too late to join us!”

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