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Summary: A different kind of Palm Sunday message, one that looks forward to Easter

How to Prepare for Easter

Scripture: Luke 19:28-44, Matthew 21:1-11

We all prepare for things

in our own ways.

For example,

Gary Manka exercises 6 days a week

for about ninety minutes.

His routine starts with prayer,

followed by a lengthy set of stretching exercises. He says sometimes it feels like it takes longer to prepare for exercise than to actually exercise.

Jon Montani,

when he prepares to fly a plane,

performs a series of different checks

and rechecks

and overchecks and underchecks

and Rice Chex and Corn Chex.

Lynette Holzworth,

well, let me just say you better not talk to her

in the morning

until sometime AFTER her second cup of coffee.

That helps her prepare for her day.

We all have different ways we prepare for different things.

But this morning,

I want to talk about how to prepare for Easter.

Now, maybe you haven’t given that much thought.

After all, we all lead busy lives.

Alexa Holzworth has a demanding cheerleading schedule.

Phil Schreiber has nearly an hour commute each way to work in Milford.

Lois Jarvi has to raise three rambunctious boys while her husband Rich watches Oprah.

But still,

we’ve got nowhere to go for the next half hour,

so we might as well give a little thought

to the coming week,

and ask a question few people--

even devoted Christ-followers--

ask these days:

How should I prepare for Easter?

I mean, for crying out loud,

we do a good job of preparing for Christmas.

There are signs everywhere that something special is going to happen.

We hang wreaths,

light candles,

trim the tree,

wrap gifts,

and string enough electrical lights

all around our houses to keep

the man in the moon up at night.

But Easter.

Whaddya do?

If you’re a real fanatic,

you dye a few eggs and buy a new outfit and BAM! You’re done. All set. Finito.

But to Christians,

Easter is the most important day of the year. . .

or it should be.

It’s the day we celebrate the central event

of history,

the day Jesus rose from the dead

in order to make eternal life possible

for you, and me.

So maybe we can give

at least 20 minutes or so of thought

to what we can do this coming week

to prepare for Easter.

Of course,

for centuries,

Christians have prepared for Easter by observing Lent,

a period that begins on Ash Wednesday

(which this year was February 13th)

and concludes with Easter.

Traditionally, many people prepare for Easter

by making this a period of repentance,

denying themselves a particular pleasure


or convenience

or taking on a new task of service during this time.

For example,

a person might forgo one meal a day,

or do without meat on Fridays,

or volunteer one day a week at a homeless shelter to indicate their repentant spirit

and prepare themselves in heart and mind for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday!

But we don’t do that much anymore,

and I think we’re worse off because of it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s too late

for po’ folk like you and me.

Good morning. My name is Bob Hostetler,

and I want to welcome you all

to Cobblestone Community Church,

an all-volunteer,




outward-focused church.

So let me ask you, if you would,

to pull from your programs the little insert

which on one side has an outline of our

discussion this morning,

and on the other side

the Palm Sunday story,

harmonized from all four accounts

in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,

taken from a wonderful resource I use often,

called The Narrated Bible.

If you’d like to refer to the passages

in your own Bible,

you’ll want to refer mostly to Luke 19

and Matthew 21,

as I share with you this morning,

three ways you and I can

most effectively and meaningfully

prepare for Easter.

The first of these three suggestions

is found in the example of the disciples,

and it’s this:

1. Do what Jesus says (Luke 19:29-40)

Look at the first part of the Palm Sunday story,

as it’s printed in that program insert:

As Jesus approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to the Daughter of Zion,

‘See, your king comes to you,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Jesus sent two of his disciples

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Glen Madsen

commented on Mar 29, 2007

Bob, thanks for sharing such a creative approach to Palm Sunday with us! I was personally challenged and blest by your "annointed words". I praise God for you and your willingness to share freely from your heart!

Samuel Wilder

commented on Apr 1, 2009

This fits perfectly with where my heart has been concerning the poor and the vulnerable, something I shared with them the week before Palm Sunday. Thanks for your casual yet sincere tone, too.

James Lipscomb

commented on Apr 4, 2009

Wonderful alternative insight, I was deeply blessed by this message.

Pete Peterson

commented on Apr 11, 2011

I just could not let the flocks I serve miss out on this. What great insight! Thank you and may God bless you.

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