The Easter Rising
April 19, 2011



The Freedom That Came From The First Easter Rising


Last week while reading through the letters page I was struck by the fact that Rev David Cupples made reference to the true Easter Rising, because a few weeks ago I decided that I would write about this very subject for this column in the run up to the Easter holidays.


Mention the Easter Rising in Ireland and most people’s minds will turn to the events in Dublin in April 1916 when the Irish Volunteers, led by Patrick Pearse, and the Irish Citizens Army, led by James Connolly, together with others from Cumann na mBan seized important locations in the city and declared the Irish Republic to be independent of Britain.


The Irish Republicans and their supporters believed that the people of Ireland had suffered long enough under British rule and it was time for them to take the steps needed to secure freedom. How successful that Easter Rising of 1916 actually was in securing or in paving the way for Irish freedom is a question that has long been debated among scholars of History. 


There was another Easter rising, however, which proved to be completely successful in achieving its goal. It took place not in Ireland but in Israel; not in April 1916 but somewhere around AD33.  Unlike the rising in Dublin, which was organised and carried out by men, this first rising was planned and perfectly executed by God.


Three days prior to this rising, Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was executed by the Romans at the instigation of the Jewish religious leaders.  Jesus declared, however, that his life was not taken from him; rather he willingly laid it down himself in order to pay the penalty of the sins of all who would believe in him.  He came to ‘give his life as a ransom for many.’  Having died, the body of Jesus was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and the entrance to the tomb was both sealed and guarded.  On the third day after he had died God raised Jesus to life again, thereby demonstrating His full and complete acceptance of and satisfaction with Jesus’ substitutionary redemptive work.  The resurrection was a real, literal physical, bodily resurrection, and over the course of the next 40 days the risen Jesus was seen by many people. He appeared to individuals and to groups of people, on one occasion a group numbering more than 500.  Why?  In order to verify and authenticate the reality of this great historical event, because if this rising did not take place then there is no such thing as forgiveness and salvation – as the Apostle Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 15, especially in v17 “ if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.” 


Paul goes on in v20 of that chapter to affirm that which is the central truth of the Christian faith - But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


This we affirm and this we celebrate as Christians. Our great leader has secured freedom for us through His Easter Rising.

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