As we head into the most important holiday related to our faith, I have been thinking about how to best prepare our hearts. Experience has taught me that in the shuffle of family traditions the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection can easily become lost. Instead, I want to intentionally prepare my heart so that I can enter in to worship fully this weekend – pouring out my praise and love onto the Lamb who is worthy. If that’s your desire as well, I have a few suggestions:
Draw a timeline and mark the events of the last days of Christ’s life. (John 18-19, Mark 14:32 – 15:47)
Spend a few moments reflecting on the trial outlined for us in John 18-19:16. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the travesty of this mock trial. Put yourself in the story and consider what you are seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling. Count how many times Jesus was whipped or beat. While we were in Israel this year, Steve and I had the privilege of visiting Caiphas’ house. It was one of the most moving sights I have ever seen. Our guide took us to the dungeon in the basement where prisoners where kept and whipped. We saw holes cut out of rocks over an archway. Jesus hands would have been tied there so that He would hang as the guards could whip him. (Mark 14:55)
Consider and reflect on the crucifixion. Imagine how abandoned Jesus must have felt when His Father turned away? Reflect on the curtain of the temple being torn in two. What does this tell us about the access we now have to god the Father? Someone suggested to me recently that this was an act of mourning on the part of God the Father. What do you think? Write about your reflections in a journal.
Read and meditate on the Resurrection. (John 20:1-18) Imagine you are seeing Jesus for the first time after His resurrection. How would you praise Him? Spend some time at His feet, pouring out your love and adoration for all He has done.
Listen to some of the traditional hymns of the faith or current worship songs. Allow the music to prompt your praise. Consider waking up early this Easter Sunday. Before you attend a church service, while it is still dark, prepare your heart by worshipping Him in your own home. Above all rejoice – don’t allow anything to steal your joy – for He is risen!