Today Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Below is the Easter story as told in the gospel of Luke in the New Testament.
Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. When the soldiers came to the place called "The Skull," they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they are doing."
While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, "He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God's chosen Messiah!"
The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine. They said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!"
Above him was a sign that said, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us!"
But the other criminal told the first one off, "Don't you fear God? Aren't you getting the same punishment as this man? We got what was coming to us, but he didn't do anything wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into power!"
Jesus replied, "I promise that today you will be with me in paradise."
Around noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple split down the middle. Jesus shouted, "Father, I put myself in your hands!" Then he died.
When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, "Jesus must really have been a good man!"
A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. After they saw it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. All of Jesus' close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched.
There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God's kingdom to come. He was also a member of the Jewish council, but he did not agree with what they had decided.
Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus' body was placed in the tomb. Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands.
Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus, and they did not know what to think.
Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, "Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? Jesus is not here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 'The son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.'" Then they remembered what Jesus had said.
-- Luke 23:26 -- 24:8
from the Contemporary English Version
There are several ways Kenai Peninsula residents can mark Easter with their neighbors today. These are just a few ideas.
The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank will host its second annual community Easter dinner from 1 to 3 p.m. today at the food bank, 33955 Community College Drive off Kalifornsky Beach Road.
The American Legion Post No. 18 in Ninilchik is holding an Easter egg hunt at 1 p.m. today.
A Soldotna community presentation, "We Have Seen God's Glory," the resurrection story in drama and song, will be performed at 4 p.m. today at the Soldotna Church of God at the corner of Binkley and Redoubt avenues.
The cantata is sponsored by the Soldotna Church of God and members of other community churches make up the choir and drama cast.
All of the events are free and open to everyone.
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