Is Easter Fading?

Maybe you saw this report from The Religion News Service. They reported that less than half of U.S. adults link Easter directly to the Resurrection of Jesus, even though most describe Easter as a religious holiday. According to a Barna Group survey, seven in 10 respondents mentioned religion or spirituality in their response to an open-ended question about how they describe what Easter means to them personally. But just 42 percent tied Easter to the Resurrection. At 73 percent, baby boomers (ages 45 to 63) were the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday, compared to two-thirds of those ages 26 to 44 and Americans 64 and older. The youngest group of adults (ages 18 to 25) were least likely, at 58 percent, to use that kind of description. “The Easter holiday in particular still has a distinctly religious connection for people but … the specifics of it are really fading in a lot of people’s minds,” said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group.

That one phrase “the specifics are really fading” really got me. The greatest event in the history of the world is fading away?

As Disciples we must continue to share with people our hope in Christ. Acts 4:33 says, “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

This week let’s re-live what Jesus did for us and let’s talk it up so people know why we have Easter. Don’t let it fade away! Remember 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Here is an outline of the events to use in your prayer time.

HOLY WEEK

“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day, he will be raised to life'” (Matt. 20:17-19).

PALM SUNDAY — Triumph

Jesus enters Jerusalem (Mark 11:8-10, Luke 19:92-40) and returns to Bethany (Mark 11:27-33, Luke 19:45, 48) — but not before he predicts the demise of the Holy City.

MONDAY — Power

He chased the moneychangers out of the temple (Mark 11:12-17) and taught a lesson over a cursed fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19).

TUESDAY — Confrontation

Judas will betray his teacher (Luke 22:3-6); Jesus will be in conflict with the Herodians, the scribes and the Pharisees (Matt. 24:3-25); and the conspiracy against Christ will continue (Mark 14:1,2).

WEDNESDAY — Together

Jesus’ words test His followers’ faith (Mark 13:3-14).

THURSDAY — Passion

This is the busiest day of all — from the preparation for the Passover (Luke 22:7-23), to the last meal they would share (Matt. 26:21-24), to the garden where Judas denied Jesus (John 18:3-12), to the arrest, Peter’s denial (Luke 22:60-62) and then to the appearance of our Lord before the high priest (Matt. 26:57-66).

FRIDAY — Suffering

In Mark 15, Luke 23 and Matt. 27, we follow Christ from early morning through the evening: from Pilate, to the cross, and then to the tomb. The film, The Passion of the Christ, makes this day come alive.

SATURDAY — Where? What? Why?

The body of Jesus requested by Joseph (Mark 15:42).

SUNDAY — ALIVE FOREVERMORE!!

The women visit the tomb (Luke 24:1-8), the disciples gather (John 20:2-10) and the resurrected Lord appears (Matt. 28:5-10). HE IS RISEN!!

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