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Christian faith reflects on meaning of Easter



TENS of thousands of Zimbabweans are celebrating Easter, a holiday to mark the crucifixion of Jesus, his death and subsequent resurrection which is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Many Christians believe Easter is the most important Christian holiday.


Apostle Evans Bangira, leader of the Living Victory International Church, said the centrality of the Christian faith rests on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which makes Easter significant.

 “Our faith and the solidness of the New Testament Church is premised on Christ’s victory on the cross. It is this foundation that makes the Passover/Easter Holidays the most integral and indispensable celebration on the Christian calendar,” he said.

A Roman Catholic top cleric said Easter is also a time of joy and reflection. The Catholic pastoral director for Gweru diocese, Father Kudakwashe Musvevereki, said Easter is significant in Zimbabwe.

“Easter, being the appex of Christianity, has to be fully celebrated, for it brings joy to the people,” he said. “It also brings hope to the suffering people that one day their situation will resurrect and come back to life, as Jesus did. There is no situation which remains dead forever. Zimbabweans are a joyful people despite difficult situations. Easter is a season of joy, that is why we sing halleluah, we are a halleluah people, meaning we are joyful,” he said.

 He explained that Easter comes after a culmination of events from the Last Supper which is celebrated on Thursday before Good Friday where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a sign of love among themselves. “On Good Friday we witness the passion and death of Jesus by crucifixion. On the third day, which is Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. It was the women who had followed Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome who discovered that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb.

 “This discovery was followed by the appearing of angels who told them that Jesus had risen (Mathew 28:6). So Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus,” said Fr Musvevereki. He added that through Jesus’ blood on the cross “our sins were forgiven, therefore Easter is a celebration of our saviour’s victory by rising from the dead.

“Through death on the cross we have been granted a second chance.”

Apostle Humphrey Mtandwa said the story of Jesus Christ is perfectly told in the scriptures, particularly in 1 Timothy 3:16, which states: “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.” “Historians affirm Jesus’ existence, but his divinity is often contested. Christ’s purpose required him to be both human and divine — 100% God and 100% man. Easter commemorates Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, high[1]lighting his unique sacrifice as an innocent man dying for the sins of the world.

“Through his death, Jesus addressed the sin[1]ful nature inherited from Adam, exchanging his divine life for our sinful nature. His embodiment and sacrifice redeemed us from the grip of death, illustrating the depth of God’s love and the mystery of salvation,” he said.

 Pastor Nyasha Mutasa of Glad Tidings Mel[1]fort said Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on the third day after his burial is very significant to Christians because it means “he conquered death for us”.

“If we believe in Him, it means  we will also live eternally with Him. Besides salvation and eternal life there are a lot of benefits Jesus brought to us by dying and resurrecting. We got healing, peace, forgiveness and many other benefits we enjoy here on earth.

“Easter is therefore a time of reflection and thanksgiving to God for the gift of Jesus Christ that He gave us so that we can be saved. 1 Peter 1:3 says Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” he said.

“We take time to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice to die for us and the love God showed us to send Jesus to die for us. It is time we appreciate the love and commitment God has for us as humans.”

In several churches, including the Catholic and some denominations in the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe, on Thursday, a day before Easter Friday, there was the ritual of the washing of feet which is now associated with the mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Among Catholics, evidence for the practice on this day goes back at least to the latter half of the 12th century, when the Pope washed the feet of 12 sub-deacons after his mass and of 13 poor men after dinner.

From 1570 to 1955, the Roman Missal printed, after the text of the Holy Thursday Mass, a rite of washing of feet unconnected with the mass.

For many years, Pope Pius IX performed the foot washing in the sala over the portico of Saint Peter’s in Rome.

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