It is Easter week and I know that you are in the midst of preparing for the biggest weekend of the year. Patty and I are praying that God blesses you and your church during this special season.
Through the years, I have always enjoyed using a little bit of humor in our weekend services to help break down some barriers that some people may have when they walk into the auditorium.
Several years ago, I heard John Ortberg tell Ken Davis’ story about a rabbit buried in the back yard. Here it is:
Did you hear about the woman who was looking out the window and noticed that her German shepherd was shaking the life out of the neighbor’s rabbit? Her family had been quarreling with these neighbors for some time. This was certainly going to make matters worse. She grabbed a broom and ran outside, and started hitting the dog until he dropped the rabbit. Now the rabbit is covered with dog spit—and extremely dead.
She knew that she had to act fast to cover up the crime so she lifted the rabbit with the end of the broom and brought it into the house. She dumped its lifeless body into the bathtub and turned on the shower.
After she cleaned him up, she found her hairdryer and blew the rabbit dry. Using an old comb, she groomed the rabbit until he looked pretty good. Then, when the neighbor wasn’t looking, she hopped over the fence, snuck across the backyard, and propped him up in his cage. There was no way she was taking the blame for this thing.
About an hour later, she heard screams coming from the neighbor’s yard. She ran outside, pretending she didn’t know what was going on and said, “What’s happened?”
Her neighbor came running to the fence. All the blood had drained from her face. Our rabbit, our rabbit! She blubbered. He died two weeks ago, we buried him—and now he’s back!
Two thousand years ago, a group of people put all their hope in a man named Jesus. He was killed. When He died, their hope died with Him. They thought it was the end and they groaned—until they heard this screaming from over the fence.
A bunch of Roman soldiers said: This rabbi, this rabbi—we arrested him, we tried him, convicted him, sentenced him, stripped him, mocked him, whipped him, beat him, hung him on a cross to crucify him. He died two days ago, we buried him—and now he’s back!!!
And that’s why we are here today.
If you have used that story, then here’s another one.
I heard a story about a man who went on a vacation to Israel with his wife and his very difficult-to-deal with, ever nagging mother-in-law. While they were there, sadly, the mother-in-law passed away. So, the man was trying to figure out what to do with the body, where to bury her, so he went to a local undertaker and asked about it.
The man said, “Well, sir, it will cost you five thousand dollars to ship her body back to the states, but you could actually bury her, right here in the Holy Land for one hundred and fifty dollars. So, the man thought about it for a few moments and said, “I am going to go ahead and ship her back to America.”
The undertaker said, “Sir, did you hear what I said? You could bury her here in the Holy Land for one hundred and fifty dollars. Why would you want to spend five thousand dollars to ship her back?” The man said, “Well, a long time ago, a man was buried here and three days later, he rose again from the dead. I cannot take that chance.”
Two thousand years ago, a group of people put all their hope in a man named Jesus. They had never heard anyone speak like He spoke; they had never seen anyone perform the miracles that he did. They invested their futures into His hands, and then, He was killed. When He died, their hope died with Him.
They thought it was over until they heard a bunch of Roman soldiers screaming: This rabbi, this rabbi—we arrested him, we tried him, convicted him, sentenced him, stripped him, mocked him, whipped him, beat him, hung him on a cross to crucify him. He died. We buried him—and now he has risen!
Jesus Christ rose from the dead and this resurrection changed the world. It is the single most important event in all of human history. That’s why this weekend over a billion people will celebrate Easter. But here’s what you may not know … that same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available for you.
The Easter story is a message of hope.