March 23rd, 2018 — IGNITE

Palm Sunday is happening this Sunday and Holy Week and Resurrection Day are right around the corner. There’s going to be a celebration, though not like a birthday party or a family reunion, but a celebration of life. And then what?

You’ll probably get all dressed up and the kids or the grandkids will get all dressed up in those nice spring colors and then what?

You’ll probably color some hard boiled eggs and maybe have an Easter egg hunt and cook a great big meal for the family and then what?

You’ll probably have an awesome experience with big worship and a powerful Easter message and then what?

You’ll hear those seven last words of Jesus on the cross… you’ll hear about the beat down He received… you’ll hear about them mocking Him and spitting on Him… you’ll hear about nails being pounded through His hands and feet… you’ll hear about them giving Him some sour wine and how they took Him down from the cross and buried Him in a borrowed tomb, because He didn’t have one of His own. You’ll hear all that and then what?

Will you get all dressed up and be in worship the next Sunday? Will you explain to the kids that eggs and rabbits really don’t have any significance at all to the real reason for Resurrection Sunday?

Sometime along the way here, this Gospel message has got to get real. It got real for the soldiers the day they crucified Jesus. It was all fun and games for them beating on Him and making a spectacle of Him. Wasn’t that just fun! But when He was on the cross, and the sky grew dark, and when He breathed His last, and earth groaned with an earthquake, they snapped to attention immediately and said out loud, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54

Oh yeah, everything got real right then! There was no more hooting and hollering – no more sarcastic remarks and joking around. No, this got serious real quick. They sobered up right now.

Our baskets might be filled with candy but I’ve got to tell you, there was nothing sweet about what Jesus went through. It’s not about the nice clothes and all the accessories. All Jesus had was a crown of thorns. It’s not about the colored eggs or the candy or the ham. All Jesus had was some bad wine.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I purposefully did this message early so that you had time to reflect and prepare to be a part of the greatest story ever told. Get your hearts and minds wrapped around what is about to happen again. Don’t miss it. Get real with it and keep it real. Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, came to this earth… walked where we walked… died a wicked death undeservingly for you and for me… and rose again. It’s very real!

Help me prepare myself to live the story. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen