‘I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.’ Philippians 3:10-11
Welcome to the 2023 Bellevue Easter Reader. We are hugely grateful to all those who have taken time to reflect upon God’s word and bring to us a daily meditation on scripture as we approach Easter.
This year we will read from a single Gospel – John. Beginning with the Upper Room Discourse, which Jesus speaks to His disciples on the night He was betrayed, we will follow Jesus through the events of that dark night: His betrayal and arrest; the desertion of the disciples and Peter’s denials; the faulty trials and Pilate’s early morning declaration of the death sentence. We will follow Jesus through Good Friday and watch Him suffer, be crucified and die. We will watch on as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus bury and seal Jesus in a tomb. And we will stand with those early witnesses on that wonderful resurrection morning.
Knowing Christ, as the Apostle Paul continually reminds us, involves following in Christ’s cruciform path: to participate in Christ’s resurrection, we must embrace the suffering and death of Christ. There is no empty grave and resurrection hope without the cross and the suffering it involves. This presents a great challenge to our culture with its love of comfort and its despising of weakness and suffering.
May we all be encouraged and challenged to deepen our understanding of and relationship with Jesus as we follow Him through these readings. And may the Holy Spirit firmly plant God’s life-giving word in our hearts as we share again the wonder of the Easter story and the singular hope it provides for our broken and suffering world.