Summary: This is a short sermon looking at the images we create around Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. It is intended to help us focus on those that bring comfort, peace, love and joy.
Theme: Creating Pictures
This is a short sermon looking at the images we create around Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. It is intended to help us focus on those that bring comfort, peace, love and joy.
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I want to talk to you today about creating pictures.
We all create pictures in our minds of different things. When we hear certain words we have certain images or pictures that come into our minds. For example, when I say a word, just focus on the picture or image that comes into your mind:
Now, don’t focus too much on all those pictures for the rest of our sermon this morning, but when we hear certain words we have a tendency to have certain images come into our minds.
But are they always the right or best images? Are they images that speak about that person or that thing with clarity and honesty?
I know people that when they think of the word mom/mother it is not a pleasant image that first comes to their minds and the same can be true of the word father/dad. Other people’s experiences are just the opposite. When they think of the words mom or dad the image they have is of this angel in human garb or a person who is high up on some type of human pedestal.
Most of the time when we really think about things like mom or dad, we have multiple images in mind. Images that are hopefully more positive than negative.
Now, let’s think of a few more words and the images that first come into our minds:
+Easter – or Resurrection Sunday
There are some images that over the years have crept into the ideas of Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday. Images that if we are not careful tend to down play the significance of what actually happened. Other images have crept in that tend to focus more on the negative aspects that surround Holy Week and Easter. Images that tend to cause us to lessen our celebration of this amazing spiritual transforming week.
Let’s look at three images that over the last 20 years have risen in popularity and then let’s look quickly at four images that I believe that we need to focus on more when we think of Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday.
1. Images that have taken center stage recently
A. Jesus Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane
There are a host of churches that have the scene of Gethsemane in their church; either as a banner, a picture or even a stain glass window.
Now, that is not a bad thing.
Let me reiterate that again; that is not a bad thing.
However, we must be careful to always put what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane into its proper perspective. The hour or two that Jesus spends in the Garden was very important. In fact, it shows us the depth of sin’s cost, the reality of Jesus’ humanness and ultimately the depth of Jesus’ surrender, commitment and obedience.
Those are great things to look at and study in detail.
However, far too often people spend more time looking at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and forget to focus on the totality of Jesus’ life here on earth. They focus more on the struggle that Jesus endured here rather than look at His whole life. They forget to focus on the wonder of His conception, the victory He experienced over the temptations in the wilderness and the amazing adventures He shared with His disciples as they shared the Good News all over the land of Israel.
B. Jesus’ painful words on the Cross
Again there is nothing wrong spending some quality time on Jesus’ words on the cross. Especially, when Jesus says the words:
“My God, My God why hast thou forsaken Me?”
We all have probably heard a number of sermons that have focused on these words. They are good words.
They are words that come out of Psalm 22.
What people fail to do is to look at the rest of Psalm 22. When Jesus quoted Psalm 22 it was not out of context. The people who heard His words that day would have then thought of the rest of the words of Psalm 22.
Psalm 22 is not a psalm of negativity or defeat. It is not psalm blaming God for forsaking a person. It is a psalm of commitment, of honesty, of pain and ultimately of praise. It is a psalm of David’s that reflects his struggles, his angst and his pain and yet in the midst of those things David understands the power and the mercy of God. David understands that God has not forsaken him. Just the opposite; God is and will always be with him.