A. Last Sunday was Easter Sunday, a very special day to us as we celebrated once again the resurrection of Jesus, our Savior & our Lord.

But if Easter Sunday is special to us, the world has made Easter Sunday a rather special day, too.

ILL. Those of us who are old enough to feel waves of nostalgia probably can remember that old song about "The Easter Parade." Part of its refrain goes like this, "In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, youíll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade." It also says, "On the Avenue, 5th Avenue, the photographers will snap us, & youíll find that you are in the rotogravure. Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet...Iíll be the proudest feller in the Easter Parade."

The Easter Parade on 5th Ave. is really something to see, too. Maybe you saw a little part of it on TV last Sunday. Men & women were adorned in the most lavish & elaborate of clothing. Some were wearing hats & dresses that must have cost thousands of dollars. One lady said that she had spent nearly a full year making the dress that she was wearing.

But there is something that bothers me. Even though all of this was going on outside St. Patrickís Cathedral on an Easter Sunday morning, it was obvious that most of the crowd had come to parade, & not to worship.

ILL. For some churches, though, Easter Sunday is the biggest day in the year. I get a number of church papers from all across the country, & it is amazing to note the attendance in some churches last Sunday.

One church that usually has around 400 present, had 861 last Sunday. Another one that usually has around 1000, had over 2000. One that usually has around 1500, had over 3300 in attendance. And one of our churches in our state that normally has around 2100, had 4774! As far as the attendance in some congregations goes, Easter is obviously a very special day!

B. Now letís go back to that first Easter, the day Jesus rose from the dead. It certainly was a very special day!

ILL. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of David & Goliath. The odds are overwhelmingly lop-sided. Hereís Goliath, 9 feet tall, wearing his helmet, his breastplate, his shield & sword. He is chomping at the bit, eager & spoiling for a fight.

There stands David, with no armor, no sword, no shield. All he has is this little rawhide sling & a few rocks in his hand.

Now if you were taking bets on that, what kind of odds would you give? At least 100 to 1 in favor of Goliath, right? Only fools are going to bet on David. And yet, wonder of wonders, David wins the victory!

APPL. Like David, Jesus didnít stand a chance. The powers of the world were all against Him. The Roman Empire was against Him. The Jewish religious system was against Him. The citizens of Jerusalem were against Him. Hundreds, maybe thousands of voices were crying, "Crucify