Introduction music: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Tell Me The Story Of Jesus”.

On this bright sunny day, Jesus of Nazareth, the Miracle worker from Galilee, entered the Holy City of Jerusalem to the happy shouts of a multitude who hailed Him as the rightful King of Israel.  They strawed His path with palm branches, and even their own cloaks.  Jesus finally received the measure of the praise that He deserved as the Virgin Born Son of God.

But the joyful reception of His triumphal entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem quickly faded away as the crowds became tired of waiting for Jesus to claim for Himself the throne of David, and they all drifted away to find other interests.

So, it was a subdued group that gathered together to observe the Passover, on what was to be the last night of His earthly life.  And after that feast, Jesus led His small band of disciples through the dark and deserted streets of the city and up the shallow slope of the Mount of Olives where there was a small garden called Gethsemane.

There, while the disciples slept, He went of a ways by Himself, and He began to agonize over the horrible ordeal that He knew was close before Him now.  He knew He would be beaten by the self-righteous priests and the Roman soldiers.  He knew that He would be flogged with the scourge until the flesh was flayed from His body.  He knew that He would be nailed to The Cross and left there to die alone and in shame and in agony.  He knew all this.  And He knew it was necessary because only a perfect sacrifice could satisfy the Father’s demand for the payment of sin.  And He knew that only He, Who held the whole of the Godhead within the His human body, was able to provide that perfect sacrifice because He was, and always had been, the perfect Lamb of God, born to take away the sins of the whole world…

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Worthy Is The Lamb”

And Jesus said, “The hour has come.  Behold the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”  And immediately while He was speaking, a great multitude with swords and clubs came from the chief priests and they laid their hands on Him, and took Him, and led Jesus away to the high priest.  And the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none!

And again the high priest asked Him saying “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed”?  And Jesus said, “I am.  And you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of Heaven.”  And the high priest tore his clothes and they all condemned Him to be worthy of death.

And they began to spit upon Him, and to blindfold Him and to beat Him with their fists.  He was the Virgin Born Son of God.  He held all the power of God Himself.  Why would He allow Himself to be mistreated so, by wicked men?  Why?  Because He loves you!

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus”

As the Jews were not allowed by Roman law to sentence anyone to death, they took Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Now Jesus stood before the governor and the governor asked him saying, “Are you the King of the Jews”?  And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say”.  Then Pilate said to the people, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ”?  They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified”!  When he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Then the soldiers took Jesus and twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him saying “Hail, King of the Jews”!  Then they spat upon Him and took the reed and struck Him on the head and led Him away.  When they came to the place called Golgotha, that is to say, “the place of the skull”, there they crucified Him.

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”

The barbaric practice of crucifixion, of nailing a person to a wooden cross so they cannot move their hands and feet and lifting them up to hang there in agony as their life slowly drifts away…that has been called the most inhumane method of execution ever devised by the mind of sinful man.  The joints tear apart.  The lungs are compressed.  The nerves scream out for relief.  But the agony goes on hour after hour.

And bystanders add to the torture by hurling taunts and insults at the condemned.  The body goes into shock.  Delirium sets in.  The pain is unbearable.  Minutes feel like hours.  Hours crawl away like years.  And still the agony continues until death, when it finally arrives, becomes the most blessed of relief.

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed”

The sky was darkened like night in the middle of the day.  Earthquakes tore the land.  The great veil of the temple ripped in two from the top down as Jesus consigned His Spirit into the Hands of God and breathed His last.

Tenderly His ravaged Body was taken down from the cruel Cross, and hastily laid away in a borrowed tomb, sealed away in the cold dark of the grave, and a stone was rolled across the door.  The only perfect Man who had ever lived, had been humiliated and brutalized and murdered at the whim of men who had been called and set apart by God to lead in His worship but who had instead used their exalted positions only to enrich themselves.  And God knew this would happen.  The Son of God knew this would happen.  Why did He allow it?  Because that’s how much He loves you!

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Oh, How He Loves You And Me”

But, that was Friday…and Sunday is coming.  Resurrection Sunday.  And very early on that morning, while it was yet dark on the first day of the week, Mary and some of the other women came to the tomb bearing spices which they had prepared.  But they found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, and they went in, and did not find the body of the Lord.

And it happened while they were greatly perplexed about this that behold two men stood by them in shining garments.  They said to the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!  Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee saying the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise again.”  And they remembered His words.

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Up From The Grave He Arose”

Jesus died so that we may live.  And He rose from the dead so we would never have to die.  And He gave us a promise.  He said, “Because I live you may live also”.  And He said, “Whosoever believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”  He has conquered death.  He has defeated sin.  He’s alive!  Christ the Lord is risen today!

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”

We gather together, not to mourn a dead God, but to worship a Risen Savior!  Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, has opened the doors of Heaven for anyone who wants to live forever in peace, and joy and love.  Because He died, our sin debt to God has been paid in full.  And because He lives, the gates of glory are opened to anyone who believes.  Because He lives, we have a mansion waiting in Heaven.  Because He lives, all fear is gone.  Because He lives, anyone who truly believes in His perfect life, His substitutionary death and His glorious resurrection can become a child of God and claim Heaven as your home!

Beloved is that you today?  Have you accepted the precious gift of salvation that Jesus died to secure for you?  You can, right now.  I’m inviting you to come this morning, come to Him, because He lives!

MUSIC: Amphi Bible Church choir sings…“Because He Lives”

So your invitation this morning is…do you know him as YOUR Savior?  Have you ever come to the place where you realized that you needed a Savior and that God has already provided for Him?  Have you accepted the gift that Jesus died to secure for you?

If you have never given your life to Jesus there will never be a better time than right now.  But if you ARE His, and you know you’re His, will you take the precious gift that God has given you out into the world and share it with somebody else?

We’re getting SO close to the end of this age, the end of the church age.  The opportunity that you have now of coming to Heaven through the Blood of Christ will one day end!  And when it ends, horrible tribulation is going to break forth on this Earth.

Make very sure that you belong to Him, and that you WILL take that gift, and share it with somebody this week!