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Matthew 26:32, 28:1-7, Mark 16:3, John 20:19, Revelation 22:20

For Children’s Church this Easter Sunday, we brought a colorful bag with chocolate crosses.  We sang, “Hear the Bells Ringing” and I read the verse that goes with the hymn, Matthew 28:6.  The verse says, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.”

Let’s take a closer look at the above verse and other related Scripture.  The “angel of the Lord” came from Heaven to roll the stone of Jesus’ tomb back.  Why did the angel move the stone?  It certainly wasn’t for Jesus.  In John 20:19, Jesus unexpectedly greeted the disciples after going through a locked door.  No, a large stone wouldn’t stop Jesus.  The women going to Jesus’ tomb, however, were concerned about the stone obstacle.  The angel moved the stone for them.

With the appearance of the angel came not only the moving of the stone but an earthquake.  The tomb guards were shaking “and became like dead men.”  When we think of the deceased, we know that they are not standing, but lying down.  The fearful guards were probably lying down on the ground in front of the tomb.

The angel dealt with the stone and the guards and sat on the stone.  I picture the women possibly struggling to keep walking with the earthquake (if it wasn’t just around the tomb), being afraid yet pleasantly surprised to see the guards out of commission, feeling a new fear and maybe gasping greatly as they witnessed the intimidating appearance of the angel of the Lord.  The angel knocked out two obstacles before the women arrived, and so apparently knew they were coming.  When they saw the angel, the angel said, “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.”  By saying this, the angel revealed he knew the words Jesus spoke while on Earth and expected Jesus’ words to come true.  To me, “as He said” could show a little irritation that people on Earth didn’t remember what Jesus said in Matthew 26:32, and they appeared not to believe what Jesus said would happen.

What did Jesus say in Matthew 26:32?  He said, “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  After the angel told the women, “as He said,” he spoke, “Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples:  ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.  ‘Now I have told you.”

The angel believed that whatever Jesus said would happen would come to pass.  Jesus said He would rise from the dead and He did.  In Revelation, Jesus said He’s coming.  I believe Him!


John 12:12-19

Mark 11:1-11

I hope that someday in Heaven, the scene is recreated of Jesus going into Jerusalem on an unridden colt surrounded by a crowd wielding palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!”  As you read this account you can feel the excitement.  I wonder if the new colt tossed its head in reaction to the frenzied crowd.

As I went shopping this afternoon for palm branches, I wasn’t feeling the world’s excitement.  I went to three different stores and although there were plenty of pink rabbit planters and neon-colored polka dot plastic eggs for Easter, there were no palm branches.  I came home empty-handed except for a bag of popcorn that looked good.  I was surprised since Palm Sunday is this upcoming Sunday and Easter is the week after that.

As I got in the car, I turned on a Christian radio station and heard the words of Sidewalk Prophets’ song, “Help Me Find It.”   I had to smile.

Luke 2:8-20, 6:12, 9:10-17, 13:10-17

On Good Friday night, my family watched the movie, Jesus (1979).  We had watched it several times before, but this time I took notes.  This movie is based on the book of Luke and is careful to adhere to Scripture.  Still, I wanted to analyze how the movie helped enrich our understanding of what Jesus and others might have experienced.

In Luke 2:8-20, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, shepherds reside in fields at night, guarding flocks from whatever lurked in the dark.  They would surely have been prepared for any predators.  What they didn’t expect was an angel.  The Bible lets us know that the shepherds were frightened.  The movie did well showing shepherds initially doing their job with one shepherd even playing a flute-like instrument.  But when the angel arrived, the flute playing stopped and you see one shepherd stop petting a lamb, get up, stagger, and stare.  It felt realistic.

In Luke 6:12, it’s mentioned that Jesus spent the whole night praying.  There was a convincing scene for that.  Imagine staying up the entire night praying!  That’s amazing!

In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish.  Everyone ate until they were full.  The movie added cheering people when the food was being distributed, which I thought was a nice touch.  It could have happened-Who doesn’t want a free all you can eat buffet?

In Luke 13:10-17, A woman who must have had kyphosis, praised God after Jesus healed her.  In the movie, the elderly actress spoke heartfelt dialogue as she moved to frame Jesus’ face with her hands saying, “Praise to the Lord!  God keep you Rabbi.”  I got teary with her believable lines.

Jesus is a good movie.  It prepared our hearts for Easter Sunday.   The movie makes me think of a framed quote in my dentist’s office that says, “It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross but rather his love for us.”


Hosea 8:1,5, 10:7-8

I saw a shirt on a women’s Halloween rack yesterday that said something like, “The only time of year I can be me.”  Do you think the phrase is referring to being pure?  No, its likely meaning is being impure.  In full, the phrase probably means, “Halloween is the only time of year I can feel good about being impure.”  As you know, Halloween isn’t a holiday to celebrate Jesus.  What holidays celebrate Jesus?  Christmas does, yes, as does Easter.

In Hosea, the people rebel against God’s law which makes Him angry.  He laments, “How long will they be incapable of purity?”

God hasn’t changed.  If people look forward to being impure, they can be sure they’re not pleasing God.  If people can show God they are capable of purity with the help of Jesus, how He will draw near to them and show them His great love.


Luke 2:11, John 18:37, Luke 24:6-7

My family goes on frequent walks in the neighborhood.  There is one house that has kept a nativity scene up all year.  However, I noticed that on this Easter day, the nativity scene had been removed.  If they were embarrassed they just got their Christmas decorations put away, they shouldn’t be.  Christmas is about Easter.

Christians celebrate our Savior’s birth at Christmas.  Easter is the fulfillment of Christmas.  Jesus came to bear witness to the truth, to be crucified, and to rise again.  He is risen!


Mark 16:14-20, Luke 19:28-40

Why do people clap?  Isn’t it partly because they respect certain people, like Billy Graham, or they like something, perhaps a symphony orchestra piece?

Chances are you’ve seen many people clap.  I don’t know if anyone clapped for Jesus while He was on earth.  I’m pretty sure though you’ll feel like clapping for Him after listening to this beautifully done sermon, entitled The Kingship of Jesus.

As you celebrate Easter, remember Palm Sunday.  Jesus rose from the dead and He is King!  Jesus deserves a standing ovation!

Luke 22:14-15   Luke 22:39-46

What was the last thing you dreaded?  Maybe it was some sort of test, going to work on a Monday, or something else.

In reading Jesus’ Easter story, we know He dreaded the upcoming suffering, yet He endured it for us.  Thank you, Jesus!

2 Thessalonians 3:16, 1 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 3:16, James 3:16, 1 Peter 3:16, 2 Peter 3:16, 1 John 3:16, Revelation 3:16

In reviewing the remainder of the New Testament books that contained at least three chapters and sixteen verses, I saw that 1 John 3:16 had a very similar message to John 3:16.  John 3:16 of course speaks of God’s love for us and giving his Son.  1 John 3:16 is written by the same author and is about Jesus showing love by dying for us.

If up until now you weren’t sure if Jesus loves you, hopefully you know now that he definitely does!  What more could He do to show you He loves you?  Jesus DIED for YOU!

Matthew 3:16, Mark 3:16, Luke 3:16, John 3:16, Acts 3:16, Romans 3:16, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 3:16, Galatians 3:16, Ephesians 3:16, Philippians 3:16, Colossians 3:16

Today is Easter and many are thinking about John 3:16, a very important salvation verse.  John 3:16 is referred to so much and rightly so, as it is a deep concept.  I decided to take a closer look at the New Testament to see if the books there contained a similar message in the third chapter and sixteenth verse (if those chapters and verses were available due to length of the book, etc.).  Here’s what I have found so far:

Matthew 3:16 – Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, heaven was opened, and the Spirit of God was like a dove lighting on Him.

Mark 3:16 – Jesus chose 12 disciples and the list starts with Peter.

Luke 3:16 – John the Baptist said he baptized with water but the one to come (Jesus) would baptize with the Holy Spirit.

John 3:16– Whoever believes in Jesus shall have eternal life.

Acts 3:16 – A crippled beggar had faith in the name of Jesus as Peter healed him.

Romans 3:16 – This verse is under the section, “No One Is Righteous” and speaks of ruin and misery.

1 Corinthians 3:16 – We are God’s temple.

2 Corinthians 3:16 – This is about turning to God.

Galatians 3:16 – This verse is under the section, “The Law and the Promise” and is about the one seed who is Jesus.

Ephesians 3:16 – This falls under the section, “A Prayer for the Ephesians” and is about strengthening with power through God’s Spirit.  (The next verse is about Jesus living in their hearts.)

Philippians 3:16 -This is under the section, “Pressing on Toward the Goal”.  Paul mentioned living up to what was already attained.

Colossians 3:16 – This is under the section, “Rules for Holy Living.”  Paul spoke of Jesus’ words dwelling in them as they taught and sang with thankful hearts to God.  (I never stopped to think about Paul singing, but he must have.)

Next week I plan to look at the rest of the New Testament books (that can be included in this study).  I know there is at least one striking similarity to John 3:16 in one of the remaining books.

John 17-20

In school, most of us were asked many times for the main idea of a story.

What is the main idea of the Easter story?

a. Jesus died for our sins, rose from the dead, and gave us hope for eternal life with Him.

b. Chocolate Carrots are on sale, two for $7.00.

c. Liquid Jelly Beans are on sale for $1.00.

I hope this was the easiest multiple choice test question you’ve ever answered.  Of course the answer is a.  If you’ve seen grocery ads and been out shopping like I have though, you can’t deny that it looks like Easter isn’t about Jesus.  I have to give credit to one store (not a Christian store) that had religious stickers and some prayer books.  That’s a start, but still the ratio is all wrong.  Think about the extremely painful sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.  Without saying anything, we communicate to businesses what we want by how we spend our money.  If you happen to be a fan of chocolate carrots, consider instead looking harder and finding a chocolate cross or something similar.  I’ve bought chocolate crosses before so hopefully they’re still out there.  Please help to get religious items at Easter time off of the endangered list.  In most businesses, it appears Palm Sunday items are already extinct.