Explaining Easter: how can a death 2000 years ago help me live today?
What is Good Friday? Why is it called Good Friday? What is the difference between Easter and Good Friday?
There is an understandable lack of awareness of the Easter story in our world today. Educated people don't know the difference between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
In this episode, host Robert Martin speaks with Gillian Asquith (Lecturer at Melbourne School of Theology) where Robert asks if there is anything more boring than being a lecturer in the Bible!
Gillian explains the meaning of Easter, she shares three good historical reasons to suggest that the events of that first Easter really did happen. Then Gillian also demonstrates the power of the Easter story by showing how it helped her overcome a particularly difficult time in her life. A fantastic conversation.
This episode of Bigger Questions was recorded under the show's previous title 'Logos Live', and part of the Words to Live by series of March 2016.
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Bigger questions asked in the conversation
How well you know what others know about Easter?
Lack of knowledge about Easter
Easter is a public holiday in Australia and the UK. But people don’t know much about its origins. Why do you think there is such lack of knowledge about Easter today?
Is this lack of knowledge about Easter common in your classes?
This seems understandable in our culture though?
So given this lack of knowledge in our world today we’re going to explain Easter. I heard a story of a woman who didn’t know the difference between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Could you help her out?
How is Good Friday good?
You enjoy studying archaeology and the history of the biblical texts, do you think we have any good historical reasons to trust the Easter story?
Story of betrayal and forgiveness
So what? The Easter story seems pretty nice, well rather gruesome and then nice, but a death 2,000 years ago seems somewhat disconnected to our modern lives in Melbourne. I mean the world was so different back then. What is the point of Easter?
What has that meant in your life?
What has it meant for you to forgive your former husband?
But even though you’ve forgiven your former husband, you’ve never reconciled with him, have you?
How is that similar to the way that we are reconciled with God?
We’re interested to hear about why you believe the Scriptures are worth following. Gillian, what convinced you to become a Christian believer?
The Bible reflection
The part of the Bible we’re reflecting on today comes from a book called Galatians. It’s a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a church in Galatia, which is in modern day Turkey. This letter forms part of what we call the New Testament.
The section we’re looking at describes something of how the Apostle Paul understood his relationship to Easter. He writes.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
What does it mean for me to be crucified with Christ? It seems as though I am connected to Christ’s death on that ‘Good’ Friday?
What do you think it mean when he says, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Does it means Paul has worms?
Is this related to what you were speaking before about being indwelt by the Holy Spirit?
The verse goes on and says,
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
He also speaks about the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. What is the love of the Son of God?
Can we have the same experience today?
How does a death 2000 years ago helps me live today?
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Gillian lectures in New Testament and Greek at several Melbourne theological colleges. Her areas of interest include the transmission of the text of the New Testament and biblical archaeology.