Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Sermon (four days left)

I've been up since four. Slept on my office couch and staggered down to the auditorium to pray. Mostly spent time at the place where I preach and at the cross praying for the hundreds of prayer requests there. At this point, I'm asking myself, "what does the resurrection say to this need, to this hurt, to this fear, to this family, to this marriage, to this lost person?" The auditorium is quiet now, and the stage decorations for Easter Sunday cast eerie shadows, but it is a peaceful place. Many prayers are rising up before the father for God to move among us and I add mine to them.

By quarter til five I'm sitting in my office with some coffee and a cold pop tart reading John 11 for the hundredth time (not really, but it feels like it). It is a powerful word...I shuffle through my notes, read some more commentaries on the passage, search a couple of key words on one of my preaching resources online, and pray: "God help me to point to the resurrection as the life that people need right now. Help someone believe on Sunday."

Now I've got an outline on my computer screen and I'm putting flesh to the major thoughts. My mind is theological mush - but I feel the prayers of those who are praying for me and I'm pressing on.


Anonymous said...

I do not belong to your church but I just wanted to ask a you believe that Christ atoned for our sins in The Garden as well as on The Cross?

I have this belief because I think He bled from every pore in the garden. (Luke 22:39-46) So the thing that helps me, when I am feeling hurt, afraid, sad, etc. Is that *I* think when Christ atoned in the Garden, He felt all of those feelings, so He knows EXACTLY how I feel during those times. He is the ONLY ONE who can understand.

I like this verse found in John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good Cheer, I have overcome the world."

This helps me know that He understands and He wants us to enjoy life even during our trials.

Thanks for listening to me and good luck with your sermon.

Mike Baker said...

thanks for sharing. i do believe that the garden does reveal a very human side of suffering and Jesus' understanding of ours. however, the predominant Bible teaching about where our sins were paid for was at the cross where he died.

Nancy said...

Mike and Anonymous,

Just this past Sunday, I had the awesome opportunity to hear a message on the importance of remembering Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). I agree with Mike in that the atonement for our sins actually occurred on the Cross.

The importance of "The Garden" is about Christ's willingness to do the will of The Father. Jesus had to choose and battle with his human side (in relation to us as humans) which is, as Mike points out, Jesus' understanding of our suffering. Can you imagine the thought of taking on the sin of the world? The weight of that is so beyond my comprehension.

So when I think of Christ in 'The Garden', I have to ask myself... am I willing to sacrifice my life for others? Am I willing to sacrifice my own selfishness in order to glorify God? When we say "Yes" to Jesus, our answer should be "Yes" to the other two. Sometimes I'm still a work in progress....

Anonymous said...

We are so blessed to have you leading us in this journey. We love you Mike.

Jim and Kelly