Certain events are so important you can mark time by them. For instance:
- If you are a television fan, your favorite shows growing up all had game changing moments. When Roger replaced Richie on “Happy Days,” things were never the same. When Colonel Potter replaced Henry Blake on “M*A*S*H,” the show did not die, but it certainly was different. When Michael Scott quit the regional manager position at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton “Office,” two mostly forgettable seasons followed. In your favorite show, there was probably a pivotal moment or cast change that divided the show into distinct sections.
- In my lifetime, the terror attacks of 9/11 were truly watershed events. How long it takes to board an airplane, the price of a tank of gas, and the number of U.S. soldiers killed or wounded on foreign soil all went UP that day. The twin towers, our feeling of security, and right to privacy all went DOWN that day. In a sense, our world today can be divided into “pre-9/11” and “post-9/11” eras.
- In our personal life there have also been huge events that have defined time for us. Marriage, the birth of our son, starting a new job, and going through a kidney transplant have all been events that forever changed our family. I have friends who mark time by the amount of time since their last drink, or since their divorce, or since the death of a beloved family member.
Because of the impact of certain events varies from person to person, in a sense, we are all living on different calendars. While Kimberly and I measure time pre and post transplant, you probably don’t . . . and even if you did, it would not be measured off of Kimberly’s transplant . . . it would be someone in your family. Further, even though some events impact all of us in some ways, the same event does not impact all of us equally. 9/11 has an even greater weight in the life of a family who lost a loved one on United Airlines Flight #93 than it does on me.
However, there is a single event in history that equally impacts all mankind. Truly our calendars count years up to and away from this significant event. It is the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These events are the most critical in history, dividing the world into “B.C.” and “A.D.” epochs. Though the vernacular has changed today to talk of “B.C.E.” and “C.E.,” the events that hinge history remain the same, and remain centered around the person of Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament Gospels that detail and recount for us the earthly life of Christ, they all build to a crescendo around the pivotal events of the last week of the life of Christ. Don’t believe me? Check the evidence:
- 25% of Matthew deals with the last week of the life of Christ.
- 33% of Mark focus on the period of time between Palm and Resurrection Sundays.
- 62% of Luke is spent with Jesus “setting His face to go to Jerusalem” where He would die on the cross (see Luke 9:51-ff.)
- 43% of John zeroes in on Holy week events
- Every major sermon in the book of Acts expounds upon the crucifixion/resurrection.
- Paul even makes the statement in 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 that our “faith is in vain” if Christ is not raised from the dead.
- When Jesus appears in the book of Revelation, He appears as the Lamb that was slain . . . a picture back to the events of His last week on the earth.
The crucifixion/resurrection of Christ are THE KEY events in history, and they impact all humanity. At first glance, it may seem that they impact only Christian people. Certainly the Easter events mean so much to me . . . I trusted Christ as Savior on Easter Sunday 1990. However, a deeper gaze at the cross helps us see that the events of holy week impact all in an intense way.
On the cross, the innocent/perfect Son of God died. As He died, God poured out His wrath concerning sin on Jesus, making His death even more horrific spiritually than physically (if that is possible.) Any who place their faith in Jesus Christ will see their sins forgiven and paid for by Jesus atoning work, while any who reject Him must face the same spiritual punishment Jesus endured after their death. In this way, all humanity hinges on the cross . . . not just for this temporal calendar but for eternity. What you do in response to this critical event is the single most important thing about you.
This weekend at Wildwood Community Church, I will be leading two different worship services: A single Good Friday service tonight at 6:30 PM and then our Resurrection Sunday worship services at 9:30 and 10:50 AM (these two services are identical). In these services we will be reflecting on the most important events in the history of the world. I hope you will make plans to join us.
Personally, I am very excited for this weekend as it will be the first time in my life that I have preached on Easter Sunday morning. I cannot wait to open up God’s Word with His people and celebrate together the blessed news of Mark 16:1-8.
Come tonight and reflect on the death of Christ around the communion table, then join us Sunday morning to celebrate the fact that He is Risen! See you this weekend. . .