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Posts Tagged ‘crucifixion’

I hope you were able to celebrate the true meaning of Easter today. We love the Easter bunny (especially the chocolate kind), egg hunts, jelly beans, family dinners and baskets filled with goodies…but Easter isn’t really about those things.

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Pastor Don McGarvey, Troy Mills Christian Church

Easter is about our risen Savior Jesus Christ who was crucified, buried, and raised to new life. My husband preached a great sermon this morning (yes – I’m biased) on the Odds of Easter.

He related the story of Dylan McWilliams who, in three separate incidents in three separate years, survived a rattlesnake bite, a bear attack and a shark attack. Some math geek somewhere figured the odds of all three incidents happening to one man is 893.35 quadrillion to one. In case you don’t know, a quadrillion is a 1 followed by 15 zeroes….it looks like 1,000,000,000,000,000.

By comparison, The odds of being struck by lightning is 1 in 5,000; the odds of being bitten by a venomous snake in the U.S. is estimated at 1 in 37,500; attacked by a shark, 1 in 11.5 million and attacked by a bear, 1 in 2.1 million. Some say Dylan was a very unlucky guy. If I believed in luck (I don’t), I’d say Dylan was a very LUCKY guy.  He told a British reporter that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But compare Dylan’s adventure to the odds of Easter. The Old Testament is full of prophecies concerning Jesus…his crucifixion (Isaiah 53:6, 10), his scourging (Isaiah 50:6), the piercing of his hands and feet (Psalm 22:16); the piercing of his side (Zechariah 12:10), the disfigurement of his appearance (Isaiah 52:14); that none of his bones were broken (Exodus 12:46), his burial place (Isaiah 53:9) and his resurrection (Psalm 30:3). The odds that all eight of these prophecies would be fulfilled by one man in the course of three days are 1 in 10 to the 17th power…100,000,000,000,000,000. Unlucky? No – supernatural.

There are 48 prophecies concerning Jesus’ life in the Old Testament – and the odds of all 48 prophecies being fulfilled by one man, Jesus, are 1 in 10 to the 157th power. Too many zeroes for me to type out. A 1 followed by 157 zeroes!

e52ac01a-3514-4f75-b4b6-e5aca107a96bJesus, Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, betrayed by his Judas, unjustly tried in a bogus court, scourged and crucified, buried in a borrowed tomb, but raised to life on Easter Sunday morning. He wasn’t a good man. He was God in flesh, sent to take our sins upon himself so that we would not have to bear them. It wasn’t luck or lack of luck. It was love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9

 

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Holidays are more than dates on a calendar. They are usually markers on a memory timeline and most families have at least one tradition for each major holiday. With Easter Sunday less than a week away, you have time to create a new memory, a special new tradition, to mark this very unique holiday.

Some families research and observe some or all of Holy Week, the eight days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. You can google any one of the days of the week and find the unique observances surrounding each one. For instance, did you know that the Wednesday of Holy Week is often called “Spy Wednesday?” This day is observed by many Eastern Orthodox believers as the day Jesus was visiting Simon at his home in Bethany. While there, Mary anointed Jesus’ head and feet with costly perfume. Jesus’ disciples were indignant at the waste of money. Tradition says this was when Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:1-10).

Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. The word “maundy” is Latin and refers to the part of the evening when Jesus’ washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). The night concludes with a meal, which provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist or Last Supper (Luke 22:7-23).

Good Friday always seemed a misnomer to me. It is the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary (Matthew 27). In many areas of the world it is a legal holiday, including 12 U.S. states. Why is it called “good?” There are disagreements about the exact meaning, but many believe the “good” simply meant “pious” or “holy.”

Johnny Hart, Good Friday 2

Most Protestants don’t observe it, but Catholics often refer to the next day of the week as “Black Saturday.” There are unique traditions for both western and eastern Christian religions for this day.

Of course, the celebrations abound on Easter, beginning with sunrise services in many churches. New clothes, egg hunts, baskets filled with gifts and candy, joyful hymns declaring Jesus is alive! He is risen from the dead! (Matthew 28:1-15)

What a great season to start a new tradition in your family. Observe a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday service in a different church than what you are used to…Give Easter baskets to a women’s shelter or orphanage…send Easter cards to servicemen and women…Read the scriptural accounts of Holy Week to your kids, celebrating each day as Jesus may have…Have a foot-washing service with your small group…Participate in communion on Thursday night.

Enjoy this spring time holiday as you never have before ~ create something fresh and new or resurrect a family tradition from your own past. Either way, make a memory to last a lifetime.

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