Getting ready for approach of Easter

Published 7:49 am Friday, March 30, 2018

By Pastor James Groleau

St. John’s Lutheran Church

The gloom of winter is fading. Birds are beginning to sing. It won’t be long before green starts to grow and flowers flourish. All this as Lent’s end approaches. The 40 days of Lent are nearly complete. Alleluia!

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What has this season of Lent meant to you? For some it has been a time of reflection. For some, a time to renew their walk with God. For some it has not been much of anything. Still, Easter is coming and getting ready for that high and holy day is not a bad thing to do.

At St. John’s we will spend some time remembering the day our Savior died. We do that on Good Friday. One might wonder why we would call the day Jesus died “good.” That’s because it was the day He fixed our mess. We often think about how our sins weighed Jesus down and killed Him on that cross. It is true He died for our sins but there is so much more. If I could prompt you to pick up your Bible and take a look at Psalm 22, there you will discover some of the wonder of the “fullness of Scripture.”

Psalm 22 is a song about the Messiah to come, written over 600 years before Jesus was born. It is the song He quoted from the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46] Jesus said, quoting verse one of Psalm 22. Certainly the Father’s wrath was against Jesus who became sin for us. [2 Corinthians 5:21].

The next thing Jesus said was, “I thirst.” [John 19:28] Take a look at the middle of Psalm 22. Verses 14 and 15 describe a man suffering from dehydration.

Finally Jesus says, “It is finished.” [John 19:30] What does the last verse of Psalm 22 say? “He has finished it.”

There is the wonder of our God. There is the marvel that is our Savior. The full force of the Father’s wrath, the complete contempt of all Creation, and that harrowing hatred of Hell all pointed at one place in time and space. Pointed at One who hangs on a cross. All that exists, gave the worst they had, and Jesus took it all. Even then, even in that horror, He is still so deeply concerned for you that He is quoting a song telling you “Messiah has come and His name is Jesus.” No greater love could anyone show than God showed to you on that Friday we call Good.

Is that all there is? Just that Jesus died? No. On Saturday we will wait for Easter with an Easter vigil. A time of anticipation, because if you’ve read the book you know what happens. Not to give away the ending but Jesus will walk out of that tomb.

That is the glory of Easter and the central point and teaching of the holy Christian faith. The Bible says, “If Christ hasn’t come back to life, our message has no meaning and your faith also has no meaning.” [1 Corinthians 15:14] The meaning and reason for the true Christian faith is that Jesus the Holy Christ of God has come back to life.

It is on Easter Sunday that we will celebrate all of that wonder and excitement together as we sing out, “Alleluia! Christ has risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” Praise be to God!!

By the way, have you ever found yourself wondering what “Alleluia” means and why we say it so much at Easter? It is an ancient Hebrew word. It means, “Praise be to God.” What else could we do?

If you’re looking for a church home, or just a place to join the faithful as Easter approaches stop in at St. John’s. Easter is not a time to be alone. We would enjoy your good company.

Easter Celebration

•Good Friday:  6:30 p.m., March 30.

•Holy Saturday: 6 p.m. March 31

•Easter Sunday Celebration: 9 a.m., April 1.