Summary: Easter Sermon 2004

Make Easter More than Just a Holiday

Matthew 28:1-10

Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004


Well, here we are ¡V Easter. The sun is shining, most of the time, the birds are singing, the buds are trying to bust out on the trees, and the days are getting longer.

We celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ with singing, and a word from the Bible.

These are good things, and I¡¦m grateful to God for them. But I¡¦ve never been satisfied with the status quo, particularly when it comes to Easter.

But I would like us to avoid what happened at another church last week. Let me read this news story, which is very true.

Easter Bunny Whipped by Pa. Church Group

Thursday, April 08, 2004

GLASSPORT, Pa. ¡X A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

People who attended Saturday’s performance at Glassport’s memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.

Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children.

"He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.

Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God (search), said the performance wasn’t meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence.

"The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus Christ," Bickerton said.

Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"It was very disturbing," Norelli-Burke said. "I could not believe what I saw. It wasn’t anything I was expecting." (

Wow, huh?

I can see trying to make a point, but that seems just a little off the scale, in my opinion.

While I want us to celebrate, I also want us to think about how we can take what the resurrection makes available to us, and make it part of our lives.

I doing that, I would ask that you open your Bibles to Matthew 28:1-10. If you¡¦re using the Bibles in the seats, this can be found on page 706 ¡V

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you."

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Today, in hoping to get us beyond the status quo, I want to give you three instructions for making Easter more than just another holiday, but rather a life-changing event. And guys, I know how much you hate instructions, but really ¡V this is actually worth checking out, okay? First¡K

1. Know the facts.

There are three main facts associated with Easter, and we must know them and acknowledge them if we want to fully appreciate what Easter is all about. The first fact we need to know is that¡K

„h He lived.

You know, Jesus has been called everything from phony, to God, and everything in between. But one thing everyone agrees on is that He existed on earth.

He lived and breathed here on the earth, just as you and I do now. And His life was the turning point of earth¡¦s history. H.G. Wells agreed when he wrote this:

"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history." (Contributed by: Jim Kane ¡V

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