I love Easter! What pastor doesn’t? As one pastor commented, “I must be the greatest preacher in the world!” He wasn’t boasting. He was thrilled to see the larger-than-normal crowd that gathers for worship on Easter Sunday. The more, the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. I love to see God’s house full of people worshipping the risen Savior!
Easter brings out the hope in us. As BO Baker wrote, “Easter is more than a day. It’s a carnation of hope growing by an open grave: roses of promise for all our broken dreams. It’s a border of camellias to border misunderstanding; lilacs for those who feel unloved; and a basket of forget-me-nots for the lonely and forsaken. Easter is a garden of inspiration in a world of desperation.”
We live in a desperate world, a world of hurt, worry and fear. We need a break from the bad news to hear some good news: He is not here! He is risen!”
Easter comes just in time to bring a moment of inspiration. Spring bursts forth on Easter because Christ burst forth from the grave. We celebrate the empty tomb, and the new life Jesus brings. We rejoice that death is conquered and eternal life is available to all who believe and receive God’s gift.
Before we join the Easter parade, plan to reflect on the other procession that preceded resurrection Sunday. Palm Sunday marked Jesus’ royal entry into Jerusalem. The surging Passover crowd saw Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, and spontaneously recognized Him as the Messiah King. They threw their garments in the street and waved at Him with palm branches. They cheered and blessed and cried out for salvation.
Someone outlined the events of Holy Week this way:
Sunday A Day of Triumph Mark 11:1-11
Monday A Day of Cleansing Mark 11:15-19
Tuesday A Day of Preaching Mark 11:27
Wednesday A Day of Preparation Mark 14:1-11
Thursday A Day of Communion Mark 14:12-26
Friday A Day of Suffering Mark 15
Saturday A Day of Silence (Nothing is recorded)
Sunday A Day of Resurrection Mark 16:1-10
How did people respond to Jesus during the days before His crucifixion on the cross? Some cheered Him, some mocked and ridiculed, one betrayed Him, some tortured Him, some denied, and a few stood with Him. How do we respond to Jesus as we think through the events of Holy Week?
I invite you to join a journey through Holy Week as you prepare for the celebration of Easter. Take advantage of Holy Week services in local churches. Read moving books such as Max Lucado’s The Final Week of Jesus. Take time to meditate. Watch The Passion of the Christ movie, which gives a graphic depiction of what Jesus endured in our place.
Here is a suggested list of Bible readings you could use beginning on Palm Sunday:
April 10 Matthew 20:17-34; 21:1-17
April 11 Matthew 21:18-46
April 12 Matthew 22:1-23:39
April 13 Matthew 24:1-25:46
April 14 Matthew 26:1-75
April 15 Matthew 27:1-56
April 16 Matthew 27:57-66
April 17 Matthew 28:1-20
Make the most of Holy Week not only to prepare for a meaningful Easter, but also to draw closer to Jesus. Then join hundreds of other worshippers worldwide on Easter Sunday as we affirm Christ arose!
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them this Sunday for worship at 10 a.m. and Bible study at 11:10 a.m. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for online viewing options and more information.
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