Tag Archive: Easter


New Beginnings (4 Perspectives)

scrren-one

Perspective 1- Laura Rath

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished…”

The courage of Peter.

Peter, who denied knowing Jesus three times before his death, now can’t stop himself from standing in front of the elders and rulers proclaiming that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. Oh, and by the way guys, you remember Jesus, right? He’s the man from Nazareth, whom you crucified!

So, what’s changed in Peter? How do you go from fearing for your life to boldly confronting the very men who put Jesus to death?

Peter is no longer acting on his own. Jesus had commanded him to wait with the other apostles, for God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. And when filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was a new man—a courageous man who wasn’t afraid to speak boldly of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus knew what Peter was capable of on his own, but even better, He knew what Peter would do through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows us too—what we try to do on our own, but even better, what we can do through His power and strength.

Perspective 2- Pastor Ron

Twice in this chapter Peter stands up fearlessly to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus.  This is the same Peter, you may recall, that swore up and down that he did not know him when Jesus was on trial. Now he defies even the religious authority of his day to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. What gives? The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit gives confidence. He gives words and persuasive arguments. He gives inspiration and courage. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and it was Peter, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, who addressed the crowd. The next time we read about the Holy Spirit filling Peter is when he is before the High Priest and his family. This would be like the royal family in the religious world of the Jews. After healing a lame man Peter and John are hauled off to prison. The next day they are in court. The writer of Acts makes sure that we know Peter and John are just ordinary people and not very well-educated. Yet, Peter gives the speech of his life—no really, he probably saved his and John’s life that day. Actually, it was not Peter, but the Holy Spirit who inspired him and gave him the words.

It is the same Holy Spirit today as it was back then. I know this from personal experience—every time I give a message. I know it is the Holy Spirit who is using me, and I really cannot take any credit. If you think about it, you know the activity of the Holy Spirit in your life, as well. Have you ever been with a friend who was hurting deeply, with no idea what to say, and then the words just came? That would be the Holy Spirit. Have you ever said nothing and just listened? That would be the Holy Spirit. He is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow, just as the Father and the Son.

Perspective 3- Barb Miles

In this chapter, we read where Jesus returned to earth to teach the disciples to be his witnesses.  After Jesus’ suffering and resurrection he returned to earth for forty days before he ascended into heaven.  He spoke numerous times to the apostles he had chosen and taught them the Kingdom of God was for whomever believed.  Jesus prepared the apostles for going out to profess their faith in the one true Lord and to perform miracles.  There were situations through this time that caused tribulation and celebration.   Stephen and Saul were both apostles who came to share God’s word but one was stoned to death for his witness and one was allowed to witness after first loosing his eyesight.

This story is truly amazing to me.  With this small group of followers before Jesus’ persecution that heard Jesus say that he would fulfill the Old Testament prophesy, that he would be arrested, killed and in three days rise, we celebrate the glories of Easter.  Jesus returned to earth to empower the apostles to teach and witness!  Jesus did not give up on them!  Jesus has not given up on anyone.

Perspective 4- Dan Petrak

Easter Traditions

Easter

What Easter traditions do you have?

As we approach Easter I thought I would post a couple of items that adults could use to teach about the great day of the resurrection. You may already have traditions but these could be used in addition to what is currently done. I will talk about four in particular that you can use.

Resurrection Eggs

Resurrection eggs teach the story of Christ’s resurrection with homemade eggs.  You can purchase a set for around $15 if you choose, but the homemade eggs will work fine. You will need a dozen colorful fill-yourself plastic Easter eggs that will eventually fit into an empty egg carton for safe keeping.

Number your eggs 1 through 12 with a Sharpie permanent marker. Place an item and the corresponding Scripture reference (written on a small piece of paper) into each egg.

Ideally, you would begin 12 days before Easter Sunday.  However, since it is only a few days to Easter, open multiple eggs per day.  Starting with egg #1, discuss the object in the egg.  Read the message and Scripture, then discuss it with your child.  If your child is old enough, have him or her find the Scripture in their Bible and read it.  Leave each egg open in the carton to recall its contents.  The next day quiz your child on the previous items before opening the next egg.  On the last day, egg #12 is empty, like Jesus’ tomb!

Egg #1 

Message:  Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people waved palm branches.

Scripture:  Matt. 21:1-11

Item:  A small plastic leaf, a piece of palm branch, or a blade of grass.  An alternate item is a clipart picture of a donkey.

 

Egg #7

 

Message:  Soldiers divided up Jesus’ clothes and cast lots for them.Scripture:  Mark 15:24-25Item:  A die (or two dice).

 

Egg #2Message:  Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples.

Scripture:  Matt. 27:17-19

Item:  A small piece of cracker to represent the Passover bread.  An oyster cracker or the newest miniature saltine crackers work very well.

 

Egg #8Message:  Jesus was nailed to the cross and they pierced his side.

Scripture:  John 19:18, and 33-37

Item:  A nail

Egg #3Message:  Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Scripture:  Matt. 27:3

Item:  A dime or two, or plastic “silver” coins.

 

Egg #9Message:  They gave Jesus vinegar to drink on a sponge.

Scripture:  Matt. 27:34

Item:  A small piece of sponge.

Egg #4Message:  They scourged Jesus.

Scripture:  John 19:1

Item:  A small piece of rope or thick string.

 

Egg #10Message:  They used spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.

Scripture:  John 19:38-40

Item:  A few whole cloves, allspice or other whole spices and/or a piece of linen cloth.

 

Egg #5Message:  They mocked Jesus as the King of the Jews.

Scripture:  Mark 15:16-20

Item:  A small piece of purple cloth.

 

Egg #11Message:  The angels rolled the stone away that covered Jesus’ tomb.

Scripture:  Mark 15:46-16:4

Item:  A small rock.

Egg #6Message:  Jesus carried His cross.

Scripture:  John 19:17

Item:  A thin popsicle stick that is cut and glued into the shape of a cross, or a cross from a necklace or earring.

 

Egg #12Message:  He is risen!  The tomb is empty!

Scripture:  Mark 16:5-6, or John 20:1-18

Item:  None.  The tomb is empty.  As an alternative, you can use a piece of linen cloth to represent the burial clothes that were left empty.

Resurrection Cinnamon “Tombs”

1 can Grands biscuits (OR frozen bread dough, thawed)

Melted butter or margarine

Cinnamon / sugar mixture

1 large marshmallow per “tomb”

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Have each child flatten a biscuit until it is about 5”  across.  Then brush melted butter on it, and sprinkle some cinnamon/sugar mixture on it.  Explain that the spices represent the spices used to anoint Jesus’ body for His burial.

Then give each child a large marshmallow to place in the center of the flattened biscuit.  Fold the sides of the dough around the marshmallow to form a “tomb.”  Pinch the sides of the tomb closed and place it seam side down on a baking sheet.  The marshmallow represents Jesus.  It is white because it represents His purity and sinlessness.  Then you may brush more butter and sprinkle more cinnamon-sugar on the outside of the tomb.  Discuss with your child the sweet taste of the spices and how Jesus gave us the sweetest gift we will ever receive.

Bake the buns until golden brown, according to the package directions.  Allow them to cool awhile before eating.  The children will be surprised to bite into the “tomb” and discover the center is empty.  The marshmallow has melted.  When the children discover the empty tomb, say together, “He is not here; He is risen!”

Easter Story Cookies

This is BEST done on Saturday night before Easter morning!

1 c pecans (halves or whole; NOT chopped)

1 t vinegar                               1 c sugar

3 egg whites                            Zipper baggie

Pinch salt                                 Wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place pecans in the zipper bag and beat with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.  Teach your children that Jesus was beaten after He was arrested by the Roman soldiers.  Read John 19:1-3.

Let everyone smell the vinegar before placing it in a medium mixing bowl.  Explain that Jesus was given vinegar on the cross to drink when He was thirsty.  Read Jn. 19:28-30.

Add the egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Jesus gave His life to give us life.  Read Jn. 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt into each child’s hand.  Let them taste it before brushing the rest into the bowl.  This represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ disciples, and the bitterness of our own sin.  Read Luke 23:27.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.  The sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us and wants us to belong to Him.  Read Ps. 34:8 and Jn. 3:16.

Beat the mixture on high for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.  The color white represents the purity of those whose sins have been paid for (forgiven) by Jesus.  Read Isa. 1:18 and Jn. 3:1-3.

Fold in the broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Each mound represents the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.  Read Matt. 27:57-60.  Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the door like Jesus’ tomb was sealed.  Read Matt. 27:65-66.

Go to bed!  Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies overnight.  Jesus’ followers were also sad when the tomb was sealed.  Read Jn. 16:20, 22.  On Easter morning, unseal the oven and give everyone a cookie.  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were surprised to find the empty tomb.  Read Matt. 28:1-9.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Legend has it that the coloring of Easter eggs originated from Mary of Magdala who presumably brought eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Christ.  When she saw the Lord, the eggs in her basket turned bright red.  Thus, the true meaning of dyeing eggs is to show the miraculous transformation of the whole world by the resurrection of Christ.

Consider dyeing eggs the old-fashioned way – with natural substances rather than store-bought kits.  Except for spices and juice, place a handful of dye material in a saucepan (more for more intense color).  Use liquids as is.  Cover with water to at least an inch above the dyeing material.  Bring the water to boil and reduce to a slow simmer for about 15 minutes, longer for deeper color.  Remove from heat and pour the liquid into a measuring cup.  Add 2–3 teaspoons of vinegar for each cup of the colored liquid.  Pour into a bowl deep enough to immerse your eggs.  Lower your eggs into the hot liquid and leave them till they reach the color you like.  Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and dry on a rack or strainer.  For a textured look, dab the wet egg with a sponge.

Blue

red cabbage leaves OR purple grape juice

Green

spinach leaves

Light Yellow

orange or lemon peels; OR carrot tops

Golden Yellow

ground tumeric

Red

lots of red onion skins; or canned cherries w/ syrup; or pomegranate juice

Purple

small amount of red onion skins; or red wine

Pink

beets; or cranberry juice; or red grape juice

Orange

carrots; or yellow onion skins

Enjoy these great recipes with children, grandchildren or anyone that might enjoy hearing and learning about Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Let us know if you have traditions you have found to be meaningful for you and your family.

Happy Easter!

Day 6 and the final day of reading through the Gospel of Mark. If you have not read the last chapter of Mark please do that. Watch the video above of Pastor Ron, even though he doesn’t share too much about the passage because he will be preaching on it this weekend. You will be able to hear that message by going to our website http://www.gloriadeionline.com and then go to the sermon section where it will be listed.

After reading the last chapter of Mark, what were your reflections?

After reading through the Gospel this week, what has been your overall reaction? What have you learned that you didn’t know? What was your biggest take away from this discipline?

My reflections on Mark 16:

From the darkness of Good Friday to the very beginnings of the light of the Resurrection. The women came sad and left trembling and astonished. Could it possibly be that he is no longer in the tomb? What happened to him? Did someone take his body?Full of questions but different questions and feelings than what they came with.

Take note here that most Bibles have a little note after verse 8. It reads, “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20.” Do not allow this to cause you alarm or throw you into a tailspin. Some people believe Mark ended his book at verse 8. At a later time some of Mark’s disciples added in verses 9-20 with what they heard him speak. I tend to be on the side that believes Mark meant to leave the last part off. With the fast pace nature of the book and the intent of showing Jesus to be the Son of God, he accomplished what he wanted and would have been happy for the book to end with people knowing the tomb was empty. He knew that someone else would pick up where he left off.

An example: Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” received many harsh judgements because at the end of the movie there wasn’t a huge resurrection scene. Jesus simply gets up, the linens are folded and he walks out into the light. That is the story he wanted to tell. He showed who Jesus was by what he said and what he did. To show that it was complete, he shows Jesus coming out of the tomb. What else do you need? You have a death and you have a resurrection; which is the story and the reason we have forgiveness and victory!

There is some good stuff that happens in verses 9-16 (and some stuff that has been distorted, like the poison and snake handling) but I like the book ending with trembling and astonishment. What do you think? Did Mark intend for the book to continue? Or do you think from your reading that he would have wanted it to end at the empty tomb? It is okay either way, just wanted to see what you thought.

These are my reactions, what are yours?

Have a blessed Easter celebration wherever you are at!

Pastor Ron Burcham challenged the people of Gloria Dei to prepare their hearts this passion week by reading through the Gospel of Mark. Three chapters a day will get you to the place where we can be prepared for the Easter resurrection. This challenge is not just for the people of Gloria Dei. Please feel free to join us wherever you are. We will be updating this page daily throughout Holy Week, so check back here to hear thoughts concerning the Gospel.

This is day one of the challenge. Listen to the video above and hear from Pastor Ron about his thoughts concerning the first three chapters. If you haven’t had the chance to read the first three chapters do that. Then add your thoughts either on this page or on our Facebook page.

Feel free to add any other ways in which you prepare for the passion week. We would love to hear from you.

Blessings on the Holy Week ahead!

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