31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again." 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
This passage is good for us to reflect upon as we ready ourselves for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We see Him as both the Lamb that was slain and the Victorious King over sin and death! Jesus was completely prepared for the Cross. It was not a surprise. He prayed to the Father to give Him the strength to endure and He prayed for His Disciples as well. He tried to inform them many times of what was to come in Jerusalem. But they didn't understand the painful gravity or the joyous, life-changing results of what lay ahead.
Is it possible that we, too, have become so familiar with "Easter" that we aren't fully understanding the wonder of it anymore? Perhaps it's because we know "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say. Or maybe it's because we have forgotten the deep, deep mercy and grace that we have received through Christ's suffering, death and resurrection. This is the one time during the year that we, as Christians, have the opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel and celebrate what it means for mankind. I imagine that most non-believers actually expect this of us and are not offended by it. So, as believers, what are we doing to prepare for this opportunity? Here are some ideas:
- Read the account of the Resurrection and the events leading up to it in the Gospels. You may have forgotten some of the details or have never before noticed something that may rekindle your anticipation of the Passion Week.
- Pray and ask God to prepare your heart. Also, pray for those of us who will be preparing the worship services during this time. Pray that God's Spirit will spur people on to receiving Christ or renewing their relationship with Him.
- Remember and meditate on the Gift of salvation that You have received.
- Consider who you might invite to join you at one of the services.
As a reminder, our Good Friday Service will be on Friday evening, April 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the Worship Center. It will be an intimate and introspective time of worship and consideration of Christ's sacrifice. Communion will be shared. Our time of teaching and music will be presented by Jeff Thomas and his family, as well as other members of our Worship Ministry.
On Resurrection Sunday, April 16, we will have TWO services, at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., also in the Worship Center. These services will feature our Bridge Chorale and soloists, our Worship Band, a testimony from one of our own about how God has worked in their life, and a clear Gospel message from Pastor Paul. We encourage you to COME early to whichever service you choose. This will give you plenty of time to park and find your seats. We will also enjoy a great time of fellowship at The Bridge Café which will be open between the two services.
Let's all set our minds and our hearts to PREPARE for this Glorious Celebration!