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by Sharon Rondeau

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday

(Apr. 8, 2012) — Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday, when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead “to give us life.”  Easter transcends Christmas as the most significant Christian holiday.

Beginning on Friday, Christians gathered at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where it is believed Jesus was crucified and entombed following his death.

Pope Benedict XVI said in his Easter message given at St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican that he prays for Christians who have been “suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution.”

Jesus had said that His followers would be persecuted for their beliefs, including by “political authorities.”  Communist governments have outlawed the teaching of Christian beliefs.

Christian persecution is still prevalent in many parts of the world, including Iran, where a Christian pastor has been imprisoned for nearly three years for protesting the requirement of his children to learn the Quran in school.   “Preaching Christianity” is considered a crime in Iran.  Saudi Arabia also persecutes Christians and Jews.  An Attack on a Christian church in Nigeria today took 20 lives following Christmas Day attacks which killed at least 24 people.

There are indications that the persecution of Christians is increasing in the United States.  A Christian advocacy group reported that as of last June, “a Christian is killed every five minutes because of his or her faith.”

One writer contends that the disciples were changed from “cowards to courageous” following the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday.

Today, certain Christians in India are not afraid.  Today Palestinian Catholics observed local traditions and exclaimed, “Verily He has arisen.”

Before His crucifixion, Christ was accused of “stirring up the people all over Judea by his teaching.”  Jesus had preached that love of God was paramount and advised, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

He was betrayed by his disciple Judas Iscariot, and Peter, another disciple, denied three times that he knew Jesus.  He was crucified and placed in a tomb.  On Saturday, the day of the Sabbath, those who had tended to His body rested.  On Sunday morning, the stone was rolled away.   Two angels and Jesus appeared to two women named Mary who had gone to visit the tomb.  Other eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Jesus are presented in various books of the New Testament.  A reported 78% of Americans believe in Christ’s resurrection.

Before His death, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

It is predicted in the Book of Revelation that Christ will come again to the world.

In John 3:16, it is written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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