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The Easter story

9 April 2022

The Easter story

A path to hope

Words Julia Hosking

Despite hot cross buns and Easter eggs appearing on store shelves from early January, Easter is not an easily understood Christian holiday. 

It can be a little complicated to understand why Good Friday is ‘good’, why Easter is celebrated, or how the meaning of Easter relates to our lives today. 

Easter has two significant celebrations every year – Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Unlike Christmas, these dates change from year to year – based on the lunar calendar. In 2022, Good Friday will be commemorated on 15 April and Easter Sunday on 17 April. 

However, many churches will start Easter celebrations one week earlier on Palm Sunday, which leads to the term ‘Holy Week’. 


On Palm Sunday, Jesus was celebrated as he entered Jerusalem. The people waved palm branches as they shouted Jesus’ praises. Many people realised Jesus had been sent down from Heaven as the Son of God, a saviour – but they were still confused about how he would save them. 

The religious leaders did not like Jesus, though. They were jealous and did not believe he was the Son of God. Their apparent ‘disbelief’ caused doubt and confusion among the people in Jerusalem. A few days later, the same crowd that shouted praise towards Jesus began to shout criticism. “… ‘Away with this man! … Crucify him!’” (Luke chapter 23, verses 18-25). 

Jesus was whipped, mocked then sentenced to death on a cross. What is now known as ‘Good Friday’ was a sad and dark day. But the Easter story wasn’t over yet. 


On Holy Thursday, Jesus was eating a special meal, now known as the ‘Last Supper’ with his friends. After this meal one of Jesus’ 12 close followers betrayed him to the religious leaders to be arrested and killed. Others rejected him and denied knowing him. 

Jesus experienced fear and anxiety about what lay before him. God, his Heavenly Father, did not stop the suffering, but instead, he gave Jesus the strength to endure the path to the cross. This was part of God’s greater plan of redemption for the people of the world who he loved so much. 

Jesus could have stopped the process at any time. But he persevered because his love for people was greater than the pain he felt. 

That is why Good Friday can be ‘good’. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can have a true and meaningful relationship with God. We can experience unconditional love and everlasting hope. Jesus held on to this hope for us so that we could hold on to his hope in our own lives. 

Many of the emotions there on Good Friday are similar to those we experience today. There is nothing you can experience today that God has not seen before. Friends who betray and reject us. Fear and anxiety over financial insecurity and sickness. Pain and heartache for loved ones. Confusion and hopelessness about the future. Grief, despair, loneliness. Jesus understands all of it. 


After he died, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. It was sealed and guarded from the outside. On Saturday, Jesus’ followers felt devastated, afraid, disappointed, and hopeless. 

Jesus brought hope and light into the darkness of his death by rising again on the third day – Easter Sunday. 

The Bible says in the first light of day, some women went to Jesus’ tomb, expecting to anoint his dead body, as per their custom. Instead of finding Jesus’ body, they saw an angel, who said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke chapter 24, verses 5-6). Their hopelessness changed to hope and joy! 


The message of Easter, and Jesus coming back to life, is about the purpose he gives us. 

His resurrection means you can have a meaningful relationship with God the Father – the Creator of the universe – and experience a new, everlasting life. And Jesus also offers everyone hope for today. 

This doesn’t mean we will never experience sickness, financial hardship, family crisis, disappointment, loneliness, or grief – but it does mean that we can have hope even through those hardships and are not alone in our struggles. When life seems chaotic and confusing, Jesus offers us meaning and purpose, and a hope we can hold on to. 

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