Today is Holy Saturday also known as Black Saturday. The Sabbath was a day of rest, a legal and moral obligation for the Jews. Some Christians believe Jesus was other places doing other things during that period of time; I will not get into whether or not he literally descended into hell and preached to the condemned. Tomorrow is Resurrection Day, Easter Sunday to many although not everyone agrees on that title. If you are in the Calhoun, GA area the Gordon County Christian Ministerial Alliance is having a Sunrise Service at BB&T Park in downtown that begins at 7 AM. We will have prayer, two or three songs everybody knows and a 15 or 20 minute sermon. At 36 degrees I will remind our speaker the shorter the better. Hopefully 2020 taught us not to take so many things for granted, including worshiping together and visiting family.
Every adult Christian probably has memories of Easter outfits and eggs hunts from when they were kids, and a list of traditions they carry on with their kids and grandkids. Easter probably involves sunrise service, some special breakfast, new suits or dresses, pictures with family, Easter egg hunts, and so forth. Church choirs perform cantatas and perhaps put on passion plays. We used to go to one in London, KY that was very well done.
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Resurrection Sunday (also known as Easter). I have been blogging since 2008 and have posted many times on the events of Holy Week. On the one hand I don’t wish to keep writing and posted material that is already here. On the other hand there are constantly new friends discovering The Master’s Table and following that have not read those previous posts. And we are talking about the greatest story ever told; it is central to our identity as Christians and never gets old. Continue reading →
Easter is coming up. The last Sunday in March (there are five this year) is Palm Sunday and the first Sunday in April is Easter. The dates are March 29th and April 5th. Those of you that observed Ash Wednesday and/or the season of Lent are aware of these dates already, as well as anyone planning church activities and worship services. And it is those individuals – pastors, preachers, minsters and directors of music, all worship leaders – that I wish to address.
I spent several years in a ministry that included a daily chapel service. Not only did we observe Palm Sunday and Easter but we had the opportunity to celebrate each day of Holy Week. We could talk about the Triumphal Entry on Sunday and focus on the different aspects of Jesus’ final teachings with the Apostles each day that week. We could give a full day to the Last Supper, another to the arrest and false trial, and spend Good Friday detailing the events of the crucifixion. With all of that said and done the focus of Easter Sunday was entirely on celebrating the resurrection. Continue reading →
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24 ESV)
Genesis 22 tells the story of the sacrifice of Issac. Well, Isaac wasn’t really sacrificed but it was a close call. The point of the story is that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, thus passing his test of faith. As they were going up the mountain, Isaac notices they have wood and fire and actually asks his dad about not having a lamb. Abraham says “God will provide himself the lamb.” (Gen 22:8) After he was stopped – at the last possible moment – from sacrificing his son, he saw a ram caught by the horns in a thicket. That lamb was slain as an offering of thanksgiving. But did Abraham really know? He reasoned that Isaac’s birth had itself been a miracle, and if God chose he could restore Isaac to life. Now think about Jesus on the cross, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Recall Abraham’s words: God will provide himself the lamb. Truer words were never spoken. Continue reading →