"But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." - Matthew 28:25
He is risen indeed!
We rejoice in this Easter season, because in Jesus, we have hope. It's very clear by just looking around us that everything is not as it should be. Our world is filled with violence, greed, and pride. We look after ourselves and work to destroy anyone who gets in our way, no matter how small they might be.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," - Romans 5:8. As bad as we are, His goodness out weighs it all. The sacrifice God made in sending His Son to take our punishment on Himself can, if we'll accept it, erase our guilt before Him. What we celebrate is freedom ... freedom from the chains of our own sin.
Below you will find three Easter stories: one about the redemption we've received from Christ, another regarding perhaps the least thought of member of the Easter story, and another on why we call it "Good" Friday. We have also listed the verses that correspond with each day of Easter week - from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday that you can read together with family and friends.
Join us in celebrating. During this Easter time, there are no Republicans, no Democrats, no Libertarians or any other political parties. There's just us -- sinners in need of a Savior. He died for all of us, from the greatest to the least. Learn more here.
Easter and the Promise of Redemption
In this Easter season I have been thinking about the importance of redemption. Over the years, by virtue of circulation in political circles, I have known personally some people involved in public scandals. The world watches as the media follows them relentlessly for days, weeks, or even months and then evaporates, leaving behind a scene of complete and utter self-inflicted personal destruction. Some of these folks are often distraught to the point of suicide.
What the cameras don’t show is what happens after the hoopla dies down. Sometimes these folks turn inward and become bitter and permanently broken, but not always. The untold stories are the others, the ones who are open to healing and saving grace.
Once Upon a Donkey
My title might suggest a fairytale, but the story I’m about to tell you is absolutely true — and amazing. It is Luke’s account of the triumphal entry.
Jesus has just told the parable of the 10 mina (or talents) in an effort to cue people in to the fact that He’s not planning to be the military messiah for which some are searching. Many of the Jews wanted a messiah who would free them from the rule of the Romans, but Jesus was there, of course, to free them from the oppression of a greater and more terrible ruler.
Have you ever wondered why it’s called “Good Friday”? I used to.
I knew that it was a remembrance of that Friday when Jesus was crucified. But I didn’t understand what was “good” about evil men nailing to a cross the most wonderful Man who had ever lived.
From ages 10-13 I went to church because I wanted to. I was there Sunday mornings and evenings, mid-week and vacation Bible school. I memorized verses and was baptized but nobody ever explained what the Gospel meant for me personally.
I believed that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the Cross. The resurrection wasn’t a problem for me because death can’t conquer God. I couldn’t understand why God would allow His Son to die such a terrible death. I thought He must have been very angry at the human race, and me in particular.
As an adult, I would spend Good Friday afternoons in a bar. Why would I go to church and confront an angry God?
Easter Week Devotional - Click here to read a condensed version of this devotional.
The Triumphal Entry, Jerusalem, Sunday –
Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11: 1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree, Monday –
Matthew 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14
Jesus Cleanses the Temple, Monday –
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18
The Authority of Jesus Questioned, Tuesday –
Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
Jesus Teaches in the Temple, Tuesday –
Matthew 21:28-23:39; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4
Jesus Anointed, Bethany, Tuesday –
Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:2-11
The Plot Against Jesus, Wednesday –
Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6
The Last Supper, Thursday –
Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-38
Jesus Comforts the Disciples, Thursday –
Gethsemane, Thursday –
Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46
Jesus’ Arrest and Trial, Thursday Night and Friday –
Matthew 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16
Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death, Golgotha, Friday –
Matthew 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
The Burial of Jesus, Joseph’s Tomb, Friday –
Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42
Low in the Grave He Lay, Saturday –
The Empty Tomb, Jerusalem, Sunday –
Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10
Mary Magdalene Sees Jesus in the Garden, Jerusalem, Sunday –
Matthew 16:9-11; John 20:11-18
Jesus Appears to the Two Going to Emmaus, Sunday –
Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35
Jesus Appears to 10 Disciples, Jerusalem, Sunday –
Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25