Summary: This message helps us prepare to celebrate the greatest week of the year, Holy Week. Three stages of Christ’s life are reviewed: His Life, HIs Death and His Victory in the resurrection
Prepare for Easter with Three Words
A denominational leader was also serving as pastor. One of his jobs was to travel to little rural communities where they didn’t have churches and conduct funeral services. He would go out with a funeral director and they would drive to the service in the director’s hearse.
One time, they were on their way back from a funeral and the pastor was feeling very tired. He decided he would take a nap. Since they were in a hearse, he thought, “Well, I’ll just lie down in the back of the hearse.” (True story)
The funeral director who was driving the hearse pulled into a service station, because he was running low on gas. The service station attendant was filling up the tank and he nearly freaked out when he looked in the back of the hearse and saw a body stretched out lying down.
While the station attendant was filling the gas tank, the pastor woke up, opened his eyes, knocked on the window and waved at the attendant. The pastor never saw anybody run so fast in his whole life.
When people see life where they were expecting death, they start running.
After Jesus was crucified he rose again on the third day. He appeared to his disciples and declared, “I’m alive.” When people saw Jesus they started running and telling the news to all who would listen.
May the “Good News” of the resurrection of Jesus set your feet to running to tell your friends, relatives, neighbors and associates the story of God’s love and the “Good News” that Jesus is alive.
As we prepare to celebrate the greatest week of the year, Holy Week, I want to review the Life, Death and Victory of Jesus.
Life – Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
Holy Week begins with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. I’m referring to this day as a day when the people were living on the bright side of life. They were singing out: “Let the good times roll.”
As Jesus entered Jerusalem the people shouted: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38
On Palm Sunday, Jesus led the parade on a young donkey. People following Jesus were filled with enthusiasm and positive outlook on life.
Years ago when I was a student at Central Christian College of Kansas I played forward on the College Basket ball team. During the Christmas Holiday we traveled to L.A. to participate in a basketball tournament at Los Angeles Pacific College. On New Years Day we attended the Rose Bowl Parade. Coming from the small town of Gypsum, Kansas the parade of flowers and floats were a highlight of my life that year.
When watching a parade you forget all about your troubles. If only we could spend our time watching a parade or enjoying the sights and rides around Disney Land.
The people marching in the parade into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday were in high spirits. All seemed well with the world. In united voice they sang out: “Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed is (He) the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 19:38
Jesus wasn’t celebrating. Jesus knew His destiny. He knew the painful future he was facing. He was marching into a city living outside of God’s will. A city that in the future would be in constant conflict and turmoil. When Jesus looked out over the city of Jerusalem He wept. Luke 19:41
The shouting crowd tried to make Jesus into a super star, but Jesus did not come as a superstar. Jesus came as a servant with His mission to serve. Jesus didn’t come to seek popularity. Philippians 2:6-7, “Jesus, being in the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant.”
Jesus said he came to give us life and that life more abundantly. (John 10:10b) Abundant life begins when you come to a place in your life that you humble yourself and follow Jesus not joining the crowd shouting out words of praise, but following Jesus as His servant and obeying Him as your Master.
The praise and exaltations of the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday soon turned to cries of “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”
The Scriptures are clear. Jesus came on a mission of mercy to die in our place so we can have forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God. The death of Jesus portrayed what God thinks of sin and the penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 3:23
The prophet Isaiah wrote about God’s Suffering Servant 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah described in graphic terms what the Messiah would endure: