From Your Pastor, March 25

From Your Pastor, March 25

Jesus Marching Toward the Cross, the Grave, and Beyond
 

Last year in our sheltered-in-place phase, I sent a list of biblical passages to read to observe Jesus’ final days. Many friends associate special services during Holy Week with a sentimental holdover from Roman Catholicism. However, even for those who are greater Puritans than me, it can hardly be wrong to read closely the final chapters in the Gospels and focus—at this time or at any time—on the Wondrous Love of Christ.
 
Some of you, at some time, have sought to read through the Gospel accounts and harmonized such with the events of Jesus’ final days. In this respect, John’s Gospel is imbalanced—in a good way. The first half of John covers Jesus’ first three years of ministry; a bit over 50%, however, covers his final 10 days. Obviously, this inspired material wants us to hyper-focus on Jesus’ betrayal, passion, death, and resurrection.
 
Let’s do that as a church and as families again this year.
 
I believe God might use this to pull us closer to him and put some of this world’s preoccupations in perspective. We hope this Scripture reading guide will be a very meaningful tool for spiritual development and focus in your homes.
 
Below for you and your families’ use is a simple guide, using primarily the Gospel of John (with other parallel verses) and a relevant Old Testament passage each day. This does not take long, and it could help focus our minds in this coming week. Maybe print these and put them on your refrigerator or in some place where you may conveniently access these. As a church family, let’s be feeding on the same inspired Scripture.
 
Palm Sunday
            John 12:12-1
            Zechariah 9:9
 
Holy Monday
            John 12:20-50
            Psalm 110
 
Holy Tuesday
            Luke 20 and Mark 11:12-25
            Psalm 118:19-29
 
Spy Wednesday
            John 12:2-8 and John 14-15
            Psalm 69
 
Maundy Thursday
            John 13 and 17
            Isaiah 52:13-53:3
 
Good Friday
            John 18-19
            Psalm 22:1-18
 
Holy Saturday
            Luke 23:56 and Matthew 27:62-66; John 20:19
            Isaiah 53:4-12
 
Easter Sunday
            John 20:1-23
            Isaiah 52:7-10 and Zechariah 14
 
Reading these passages with an eye toward the time sequence may bolster your faith in the coming days. We always need that. Or as another church member told me recently, she is reading John 14-17 daily. That would be an excellent diet, too.
 
Most importantly, we are praying that these scriptures will plant in your hearts the hope of the Resurrection.
 
He is Risen, indeed! Let us prepare to praise.
 
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Lest any of us think this same message, year after year, about Christ’s death and resurrection grows stale, in preparing these sermons, I loved this quote by one of my favorite preachers, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who wrote in 1963: During these twenty-six years in my Westminster pulpit there have been times when in my utter folly I have wondered, or the Devil has suggested to me that there is nothing more for me to say, that I have preached it all. I thank God that I can now say that I feel I am only at the beginning of it. There is no end to this glorious message of the cross, for there is always something new and fresh and entrancing and moving and uplifting that one has never seen before.”

I say this every year, but it is a wonderful time to be a pastor-preacher! Thank you.
 
And do please join us for the next 3 special Holy Week services: Palm Sunday Worship, Maundy Thursday Communion, and the glorious celebration of our Lord’s resurrection on Easter, including an outdoor early service near the cemetery at 7:00 AM.
 
—Pastor David Hall, asking you to continue to pray for our services and to invite some of your friends to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in worship with us.