I love the week leading into Easter Sunday for many reasons, not the least of which is that I know how the story ends! Truly, it is a joy to serve a risen Savior and to celebrate His resurrection.
New Testament churches celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every Sunday as they gather to worship, but there’s something special about Easter Sunday when we give added focus to Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the grave.
The first disciples didn’t know this joy until after they had experienced the events that led up to Christ’s resurrection. Can you imagine what it would be like to watch Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and burial not knowing of the triumph that was just three days away?
The disciples didn’t grasp the gospel or the power of it until after that first Easter Sunday. This explains their reactions in the week prior. Not knowing the power of the resurrection, they spent the week before jockeying for position (Luke 22:24), sleeping when they should be praying (Matthew 26:40), fearful of suffering (Mark 14:50), and sorrowing in loss (John 20:2).
Too often, the disciples reactions before the resurrection is how Christians today live after the resurrection—pridefully seeking position among other Christians, spiritually neglectful, fearful of the world, or hopeless for the future.
We, in 2022, can take a page from the disciples’ post-resurrection playbook as we prepare for this coming Sunday.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:16–20)
Regular readers of this blog already know that I love and frequently quote the Great Commission. But as familiar as this passage is, sometimes we miss the context. This took place shortly after the resurrection. The disciples’ response and Jesus’ instructions should shape our response to Jesus’ resurrection as well.
“And when they saw him, they worshipped him….” The disciples’ first response to the resurrected Savior was not to work for Him, but to worship Him.The disciples’ first response to the resurrected Savior was not to work for Him, but to worship Him. Click To Tweet
Could I encourage you as you approach Easter Sunday to set aside some time to worship Christ?
Sometimes in all the efforts leading into Easter, Christians become so busy that they miss engaging in wonder of worship.
Perhaps during this coming week, you would want to center your daily Bible reading on Christ’s final week before the crucifixion all the way through the resurrection. Here is a suggested schedule. (This schedule does not perfectly align with the daily events of the week leading into the resurrection, but it includes these events and focuses on reading the account of the betrayal to the resurrection in all four Gospels.)
- Palm Sunday: Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–10
- Monday: Matthew 26:1–35, Mark 14:1–33
- Tuesday: Luke 22:1–38, John 13–17
- Wednesday: Matthew 26:36–27:65
- Thursday: Mark 14:32–15:47
- Friday: Luke 22:39–23:54
- Saturday: John 18–19
- Easter Sunday: Matthew 28:1–8, Mark 16:1–8, Luke 24:1–12, John 20
It’s too easy for us to lose the awe and the wonder of the power and majesty of Christ and of the greatness of His love and sacrifice for us. Spend time this week near the cross. Draw near to your Savior, and worship Him for His sacrifice for you.Spend time this week near the cross. Click To Tweet
What was Christ’s instruction to His disciples? “Go ye therefore…”! They were to be His witnesses, bringing the gospel into all the world.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
There is no time like the week leading into Easter Sunday for sharing the gospel. And I believe that this Easter, in particular, could be a significant moment. All around our communities there are people who have been affected by Covid-19 and many who are ready to reengage—especially where they are invited and welcomed to a message of hope through Christ!All around our communities there are people who have been affected by Covid-19 and are ready to reengage where they are invited and welcomed to a message of hope through Christ! Click To Tweet
So, invite your unsaved family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to come to church. Engage in every outreach opportunity you can this year.
Share invitations on social media for family and friends to join you in person or online for church services. Our church has even created an entire set of graphics for sharing across various social media platforms.
As Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, it didn’t end with the instruction to preach the gospel, but with the instruction to baptize new converts and disciple them in the faith.
I’ve always believed that special events like Easter Sunday should be treated by churches as the beginning of our outreach work, not the the end of it.Special events like Easter Sunday should be treated by churches as the beginning of our outreach work, not the the end of it. Click To Tweet
I pray that many people come to Lancaster Baptist Church this Easter, hear the gospel, and trust Christ as their Savior!
Each person who trusts Christ deserves to have a church family who cares enough to follow up with them, invite them to follow Christ in baptism, and offer to come alongside as they grow in their faith. And each person who comes but isn’t quite ready to place their faith in Christ deserves to have a church that cares enough to follow up to see what questions they may have, pray for them, and keep pointing them to the gospel.
So let’s be faithful to obey the entire Great Commission as we preach the gospel as well as baptizing and discipling new believers.
We in 2022 have the privilege of knowing and serving Christ while the rest of the world is caught in confusion, disarray, and despair. Let’s take time to worship Him. And let’s bring the rest of the world the message they most need to hear—Jesus died and rose for their sins. As we head into Easter Sunday, let’s serve Christ like the disciples did after Easter.