Category Archives: Holy Week

20 Years Later: Peter and John Reminisce About Jesus’s Resurrection

Enjoy this skit that takes us back to that first Easter Sunday!

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Celebrating Hope at Easter

(Reading time: approximately 4 minutes.) The first time I heard the quote (attributed to Dr. Johnson), “Men live in hope, die in despair,” I was not in English class but in the Student Union. I was playing ping-pong with my … Continue reading

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Behold You King (Palm Sunday 2022)

Today, we remember and celebrate what has come to be known as “The Triumphal Entry,” Jesus’s highly symbolic entrance into Jerusalem just days before he was betrayed and executed. We know the broad outlines of the story. Jesus rode into … Continue reading

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Wide Angle: The Place of the Skull

(For the background to this post, please read Mark 15 and click back to this post.) Sometime later, probably around eight in the morning, Jesus and two other prisoners were marched through the narrow streets of the city out to … Continue reading

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Wide Angle: The Exchange (Barabbas)

In or around 29 A.D., a man named Barabbas found himself in the most secure prison in the country, awaiting execution in the morning. The story is told in Luke 23 but, before we get into it, we need a … Continue reading

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The Sorrows of the Past Will Hurt Us No More

In this 28-minute narrative sermon, we learn that Jesus’s people get confused, sad, broken, and hurt. In this world we have trouble – just as Jesus promised. But Christ enters our trouble and meets us there – and that changes … Continue reading

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RISE (a narrative sermon on Jesus’s Resurrection)

On a Sunday morning just like this – in fact, it was this week, approximately 1990 years ago – a small group of men sat quietly on chairs and benches scattered around a large upstairs room. Their faces were dark, their clothing disheveled, and most looked like they had not slept for days. The few who tried to speak eventually fell silent, their words swallowed up in the gloom.

Just a week ago, things were completely different. Their eyes danced and their faces were bright. There was a constant din, and the clamor was unmistakably joyous. People were saying things like, “This is it.” At last!” “It will just be a few days now.”

They were happy, giddy even. And Jesus—they had never seen him like this – was magisterial, kingly, intimidating. Determination was written all over his face. They had entered the city at the head of a parade, with Jesus riding on a donkey’s colt. That was no accident! He had borrowed the colt to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy: “See, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” Jesus was announcing his intentions to rule God’s people. Continue reading

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Easter: So Much Bigger Than You Think

At Easter, Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and celebrate what his rising means for people and for the world. Too often, though, this vast hope has been so closely cropped that the only thing left is an expectation of a soulish celestial existence following death.

This is far too narrow a view, which is theologically unsupported and biblically unsound. Resurrection is not just about getting into heaven. It is the pivotal event in God’s plan to save creation. It is not simply a way for humans to live again after they die, but to live for the first time as God intended: joyously, vigorously, lovingly, justly, unendingly.

In the Bible, resurrection is viewed as the doorway into the age to come. Most people in first century Israel assumed this to be true. What surprised them was the Christian claim that the resurrection had already begun in Jesus. Their astonishing news was not just that people go on living after they die – most everyone in the first century already believed that – but that the new age had arrived when Jesus rose from the dead. Continue reading

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There Is Love: The Hope of the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19-28)

https://youtu.be/J8H7LpmRyes What are the implications of St. Paul’s teaching (and that of the entire biblical witness) on the resurrection? That is what this audaciously hopeful sermon explores. I invite you to join for the premier at 11:00 this morning or … Continue reading

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First Stone in an Avalanche

In the four Gospel accounts of the life and death of Jesus – this surprised me when I first realized it and it surprises me still – no one ever uses the word “resurrection” to describe Jesus’s return from death, neither the Gospel writers nor the people whose conversations they reported. They talk about how Jesus rose from the dead, but they never use the one word you would expect them to use: “resurrection.” It’s almost as if they were avoiding it.

That ought to raise a question in our minds: Why didn’t they use the word “resurrection?” The answer, I think, comes in two parts, the first of which is very straightforward: The Gospel writers did not use the word “resurrection” because the men and women whose story they were telling didn’t use the word. The fact that the writers refrained from using what is arguably the most important word in the vocabulary of the early church speaks volumes about their intention to faithfully recount what had happened. Continue reading

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