The Sunday before Easter gives us an opportunity to deal with the dark themes related to our faith.
In order to deal with salvation, we MUST deal with death.
Jesus told his first followers about his death three times before it occurred. Three time he also shared about his resurrection on the third day. Three times they heard him but never believed the resurrection part. Resurrection sounded too good to be true.
Because Jesus’ disciples didn’t know what to make of his talk about resurrection, they were all the more surprised on the first Easter Sunday morning, bright and early, when the women came to report that Jesus was gone from the tomb.
Surprise turns into worship. When God reveals he is greater than death, we can’t help but to worship.
We don’t have the luxury of being surprised like the first followers were. But we can walk through the themes they had to wade through in order to get to that glorious first Easter.
They had to deal with Jesus’ death: the dark theme that is our focus for the Sunday before Easter.
What To Expect
- We’ve done some elaborate things on the Sunday before Easter in years’ past, but not this year. I want us to give all of our attention to the words of Christ.
- We are wrapping up our sermon series, “I Dare You To Believe,” this Sunday. I dare you to believe this statement: God is Greater Than Death.
- We’re reading from John 12, with a focus for the teaching part of the service coming from verses 23-33.
- We’ll have some special scripture reading times included in Sunday’s worship. The Gospel of John devotes about a third of his book to the last week of Jesus’ life. I think that’s good counsel for us to give more time to reading about the meaning of Christ’s cross.
How To Prepare
- Be Present–There are some blessing you can only know through participation. Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, makes Easter Sunday better just as the Dark before the Dawn makes the sunlight seem brighter. To experience the contrast between these two Sundays is what makes us appreciate, all the more, what Jesus did for us.
- Be Prayerful–Our hearts are the target for God’s message. When we’ve dressed our hearts through prayer, we are made fit to be addressed by God in worship. You know the difference between those Sundays when you came into the Lord’s House, prayed up and tuned into what God might reveal to you, and those other Sundays where the distractions of the world and the worries of this life divided your attention. Prayer that seeks to connect us to God makes being present to God a powerful resource for our lives.
- Be Reverent–There is an enigmatic saying in the the book of Ecclesiastes: It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. The somber times are the fertile soil for the salvation we celebrate. If every day were a festival day, then no day would seem festive at all. We willingly walk through the sad moments, with Christ, to be delivered to the glorious moments. Reverence is the best attire for the Sunday we deal with Jesus’ death.
- Share–We shouldn’t keep Christ’s sacrifice a secret. Learning about what his death means might be the key to understanding all that Christianity means for someone on the outside. I hope you’ll find someone to share an invitation with.
The reason we are able to deal with death this Sunday is because we believe “Death Gives Way To Victory…. Because He Lives“. Death is our last and ultimate enemy, but it has been defeated. Remembering how Christ conquered the grave by surrendering to it helps us to celebrate our salvation.
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!
I sure hope you can join us, but if you can’t, follow along here to keep in touch with what’s going on during this season of Resurrection.