More than on any other day during the Church Year, our Easter Day message must be subjective and personal. The message that we share on Easter is not an objective, impersonal report of a historical incident or philosophical concept. Instead, it is a vitally important statement of our faith. The heart of our message must be “I believe!”
The texts selected for the observance of the Sixth Sunday in Lent as Passion Sunday each year obviously emphasize the suffering of those who are obedient to the Lord. In these Series A texts, the psalmist suffers scorn and ridicule even though the psalmist is obedient to the Lord.
As we become increasingly aware of the oppressive political and economic situation in which the Jesus of history and the other Jews of his time and place lived, we recognize that when Jesus called upon his fellow Jews to believe that soon the Lord God would be coming to them in some wonderful way, and that when the Lord God would come to rule over them (in the kingdom of God) the oppressive Romans would be gone, he became not only a religious leader but also a prominent political leader of his people and a significant political threat to the Roman occupational forces and to the small number among his fellow Jews who were cooperating fully with the Romans.
Probably the most important common factor in these four texts is the concept of restoration to life. Of course, each text depicts restoration to life in a specific situation, and the situation of each of us is unique and different from each of the situations in these biblical texts. Therefore, we have rich resources available for use in our proclamations this coming weekend of the message that God restores life also among us in our times.
In the Older Testament texts of Psalm 23 and of 1 Samuel 16:1-13 the Lord God overcomes the darkness of the “valley of the shadow of death” and provides hope for all of our days. In the Newer Testament texts of Ephesians 5:8-14 and John 9:1-42 the Lord Jesus overcomes basically the same “darkness” and provides the same “hope.”