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Exploring Easter’s Treasures

Title: Exploring Easter’s Treasures
Artwork by: Zach Stuef (@stuefcreative) and YMI
Description: 
It can be easy to think of Easter as simply being made up of hot cross buns, Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, and long weekends. However, Easter is about reminding ourselves of what Jesus had done at the cross, where He laid His life down for us. The reason for our existence is found at the cross. His death was the crux of salvation, and His resurrection is the assured hope of that salvation.

Follow us on this journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday as we explore the significance of each day. Each day’s artwork is also available for download as lockscreens (simply click on the image).

 


PALM SUNDAY | He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him

Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem was not a social call. When he entered Jerusalem, he was on a mission to fulfil God’s perfect plan – to die in Jerusalem for our sake. Jesus embodies his Father’s love for sinners, and he knew the time had come for him to lay his life down on the cross for us. The walk to Calvary would have been hard, yet Jesus was steadfast as he set his face on Jerusalem. His act reminds us as believers that our Christian-walk may not always be an easy one, but we are called to carry our cross and follow him. Like Jesus, we are to set our eyes on the cross, even if we are buffeted by life’s daily troubles. Staying the course can be difficult, so let us encourage one another as we press our way forward to follow the King of Kings on the road to Calvary.

 

 


 

MAUNDY THURSDAY | Anticipating the return of Jesus

Jesus dined with his disciples on the night before his execution on the cross. This is known as the Last Supper, or Communion, and as his disciples shared on unleavened bread and wine, they were doing it in remembrance of Christ. Jesus then surprised his disciples by washing their feet, thus setting an example of how we are to lead our Christian lives. We are called to serve one another in love and in humility. It is not a command that is always easy to follow, but with Christ as our example, let us find ways to fulfil this commandment.

 

 


 

GOOD FRIDAY | The power of the Cross 

How do we view the cross? Do we see it as an instrument of torture, or as a symbol of hope, love, and redemption? Jesus was crucified for our sins so we can spend eternity with him. It is also at the cross where we can lay bare our brokenness, sin and shame, in exchange for fullness, joy and a cleansed heart –  this is the beauty of the cross. What areas of our lives that we are finding hard to crucify? Whatever it is that you may be struggling with, bring them all to Jesus, call on to him, and he will draw near to you.

 

 


EASTER SUNDAY | Jesus holds our eternity in his hands

Jesus defeated death when he rose again on the third day, and his resurrection is the crux of the Christian faith. Jesus’ resurrection displayed both his power and glory, and with it comes the promise of eternal hope, life, and a glorious inheritance which awaits us at the end of our Christian race. And did you know, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is also available to us believers? But do we fully understand the power of God, and how aware are we of its working in our lives and the lives of others?

 

 

Remembering Easter And The Day I Lost My Dad

Written By Amanda Lim, Singapore 

“You must have wished this was just a cruel April Fool’s joke,” my father’s friend finally said to me, still in disbelief at the sight of the white coffin lying serenely in front of him, with a photograph of my father in front of it.

He was the first to pay his respects at the wake, though it was purely by coincidence: he had just happened to pass by my block of flats while on his way home. Struggling to string his sentences together, he expressed shock and bewilderment at my father’s sudden passing, sharing how he had just seen my father running in the park just a week or two ago.

He was not the only one to have been taken unawares; none of us had seen it coming.

It was Good Friday, a few years ago. My church mates and I had just finished distributing evangelistic tracts and were headed for lunch when my handphone rang. It was my sister. “Amanda, can you take a cab down to the hospital? We think Daddy’s got a mild stroke, he’s very weak and his speech is slurred.”

But we soon discovered that it was no mild stroke. My dad had suffered a massive brain haemorrhage.

What followed was a whirlwind of events: my father slipping into a coma and being rushed for an operation, sombre and tear-stained faces arriving at the hospital one after another, and doctors on duty taking turns to repeat the same thing to my family as sensitively as they could: He isn’t going to make it.

A day later, nothing had changed. Aware of the significance of the next day, Easter, one of my uncles tried to raise some hope, saying, “Maybe he’d be like Jesus and wake up tomorrow.” Though it seemed humanly impossible that that might happen, I secretly hoped he was right and prayed with all my might that God would perform a miracle.

But my uncle was wrong. Though my father made it through Easter Sunday, he didn’t wake up.

On Monday, my family was gently reminded for the umpteeth time that we had the option to take him off the ventilator (only if we wanted to) and of the need to get an undertaker to prepare for a funeral service. Our prayers had changed. God, please take him home on Your own.

God answered our prayers that night. That evening, my dad passed away peacefully. The date was 1 April.

Today marks my father’s death anniversary. The irony has not been lost on me that it falls on Easter Sunday this year. And to be honest, I cannot be more glad.

Because the significance of Jesus’ resurrection is the biggest comfort I can ever ask for on a day like this.

As I look back on the timing of my dad’s passing, it seems as though God was giving my family a taste of the grief and sorrow He felt when Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday—and, at the same time, the certainty and comfort that just as Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, so would my father.

My uncle was not wrong at all. Precisely because of Jesus’ resurrection, my dad would “wake up” and live again. (John 11:25-26)

I can’t put it better than evangelist Billy Graham, who passed away recently and who once said, Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Today, my father is more alive than ever because of Easter. And I live each day with hope and joy, knowing that I’d see him again.

Palm Sunday To Easter Sunday

Title: Palm Sunday To Easter Sunday
Materials: Hand-lettering

YMI-Palm Sunday

“The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting” (Matthew 21:6-9)

This was a truly unusual way for a triumphant king to enter a city. Conquering rulers normally rode on mighty stallions. But Jesus wasn’t riding a warhorse. This reveals what kind of King Jesus is. He came in meekness and lowliness. Jesus came, not for war, but to establish peace between God and us (Acts 10:36; Colossians 1:20-21).

What kind of king is Jesus to you today? How can you honor Him as your King?

YMI-Good Friday

Some days, I’m in awe of you. Other days, I’m overwhelmed by life’s challenges.
But despite my consistent inconsistency, you love me the same.
Thank you Jesus for your constancy. For dying on the cross for an undeserving sinner like me.
For your abounding grace and unending mercy.
Once again, I ask for your forgiveness for the times I’ve sinned.
Once again, I give my life to you. Use it Lord, for your sake.

 

YMI-Easter Sunday

E – nter God’s presence with thanks and praise
A – llow Him to give us His embrace
S – ubmit to God out of love and respect
T – reasure His goodness lest we forget
E – ndure pain and sufferings like Christ
R – eady to take risks and pay the price

S – eek God’s kingdom and His righteousness
U – ntil they are added unto us
N – ever deny Christ as our Savior
D – aily commune with Him in prayer
A – lways the same is Christ, our Brother
Y – esterday, today, and forever

– Bernard (Gideon) Lim Kean Hyn, Malaysia (ODJ Contributor)

 

ODJ: April Fool

April 1, 2016 

READ: John 20:1-31 

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him” (v.15).

April Fool’s Day began in the late 16th century when the Gregorian calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. Those who kept the old tradition were called fools, which began a new tradition of pulling pranks. A recent prank I’m aware of was the releasing of three pigs into a school building (but not before numbering them 1, 2, and 4). What a surprise for those looking for pig number 3!

April Fool’s Day often falls around Easter. This is fitting, because the Easter story contains the best and most shocking surprise of all time. Imagine the happy laughter when Mary Magdalene told her story to John:

So I’m outside the tomb, having a conversation with two men. They must have been angels, though my tears made it hard to see. I tell them I’m looking for the body of Jesus, and since He’s not there, I turn to leave. That’s when I see who I think is the gardener. He asks me why I’m crying and who I’m looking for. I ask him if he’s taken the body away. Just tell me, and I’ll go get Him. Then He says, “Mary!” It was Jesus! Alive! I hugged Him and cried “Teacher, it’s You!” Can you believe it? I’ve seen the Lord! (John 20:11—18 paraphrased).

The Easter story includes this happy event—one that is truly no joke. There was an empty tomb. God, by His amazing power, made the resurrection of Jesus something not only possible, but a reality. As Peter wrote, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3).

As we believe by faith the miracle that changed everything—Jesus’ resurrection—we too can laugh with joy!

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: 1 Samuel 25:1-42

MORE
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12—34 to learn why the resurrection of Jesus is absolutely necessary. 
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Are you feeling sad today? How does the resurrection free you to experience the joy found in Jesus? 

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