Easter Week Schedule
We hope you will join us for Easter at MBCC! We will have a Maundy Thursday service and three services on Easter Sunday.
We also invite you to use our Holy Week Devotional as you walk through Holy Week. Hard copies of the devotional will be available in the foyer for you to pick up the end of March, and we will post an electronic version soon.
Maundy Thursday – April 6th
Nursery childcare (3 year old class and under) will be provided. All children PreK and up will attend the service.
Easter Sunday – April 9th
Services: 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 am
Nursery childcare (3 year old class and under) will be provided. All children PreK and up will attend the service.
We encourage you to attend the 8:00 service if possible, and please come in one vehicle to help with parking and traffic flow.
Holy Week Devotional
Our Holy Week devotional, written by our leadership staff, is now available digitally on this page. You can download a pdf of the devotional by clicking the orange box below. You can also read each day’s devotion by clicking the + sign next to each day below. Hard copies of the devotional will be available to pick up in the foyer beginning March 26th. The devotion begins on Palm Sunday, April 2nd.
Christians have long recognized the significance of the final week of Jesus’ life. We call it “Holy Week.” It is a week like no other.
During this week, Jesus proclaims that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). The fullness of time has arrived.
During this week, the Creator of the universe “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
During this week, the Promised Messiah “was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
During this week, God our Savior provides eternal salvation to all who trust in Him, “not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy” (Titus 3:5).
In other words, this week is all about the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan to save humanity. It is the week that gives us hope in our present circumstances and hope for all eternity.
Use this devotional as a tool to reflect on the greatness of our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Each day has a Scripture text from the Gospel of Luke and a devotional written by someone from our ministry team.
THREE WORDS OF INSTRUCTION:
1. Read the text each day aloud as we follow the story in the Gospel of Luke.
2. Read the devotional slowly to meditate on the Person and Work of Christ.
3. Take time to pray to and worship our Savior from this passage of Scripture.
It is our hope and prayer that this devotional will deepen your love, devotion and worship as you reflect on the great love that God demonstrates for us through Jesus Christ.
— Ben Telfair
Holy Week 2023
I DON’T LIKE OLIVES. I never have. I do, however, like olive oil. It’s a staple in the kitchen at home. There’s a lot that must take place in order to get oil out of olives. It’s a grueling process that transforms simple, tree-hanging fruit into an eloquent delicacy encased in a glass jar. In order to get oil from an olive, it must be pressed. It must be squeezed. It must be crushed.
This small fruit must undergo a painful process for the oil to flow, so it makes sense that Luke includes the Mount of Olives in Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem. It’s here, east of the city, that the weight of all our sin would crush Jesus. It’s in the olive-laden garden that the reality of His sacrifice would squeeze the blood out of His sweat glands. The olive must be destroyed in order for healing oil to flow.
This is the hymn of Holy Week. The devastation of a King leading to the deliverance of His people.
Jesus begins the week with a donkey ride into town, and in this passage, He has two interactions. The first being with His disciples. He tells them exactly what to do and what to say. And wouldn’t you know it – they obey.
Because of their obedience, Jesus fulfills the prophesy of Zechariah and the people worship Jesus with shouts of Psalm 118. Obedience leads to worship, and worship fuels our obedience.
The second interaction is with the Pharisees. While the people shouted praise, the Pharisees rebuked Jesus. Leave it up to the religious elite to interrupt a worship service in order for them to make their preferences known.
Lord, forgive us when we do this too.
Jesus then reminds us that He is worthy of worship no matter if the song rises from human lips or from the cracks of creation.
What does this mean for us? In this passage, Jesus gives us our instructions as we witness the olive become oil. He says to His beloved: “obey my commands” and “worship me.”
This week, we relive the miracle of Jesus’ rescue mission. It’s a true story unlike anything else in human history. And it’s good. Even though He is tortured, it’s good. Even though He’s murdered, it’s good. Even though olives are crushed, the oil is good.
So as we witness these events, what do we do? We obey Him, and we worship Him.
ON THE FIRST DAY AFTER THE GRAND ARRIVAL OF JESUS on Palm Sunday He continues His journey toward Jerusalem. As the gospel writer records “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and He wept over it” (Luke 19:41).
As we begin to consider the events that would take place at the temple on this Monday of Holy Week, I believe we must understand what motivated Jesus’ actions! As he stood looking over the city “He wept,” and not just shed a tear but a much deeper response as He considered the fate of His people and the purpose of His mission. I believe these two events need to be considered together in order for us to truly understand why God’s House of worship must be cleared.
At the core of all of Jesus’ life journey He was motivated by a deep abiding love for His people.
Jesus is in the process of fulfilling the promise of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.” This is the inspiration for Jesus’ march toward His destiny of sacrifice. Jesus loved His people more than His own life and He loves you just the same way, with the same intensity today.
Jesus was also moved by the hard heartedness of His people. As history indicates, God’s chosen people have had a unique ability to reject truth and the prophets that had come before to share God’s good news. Jesus looks down on Jerusalem with care and compassion and maybe just a little frustration at the fickleness of the people in Jerusalem knowing that the same fate awaits Him soon!
Jesus makes His way to the Temple, the place set aside for God’s people to come and worship, the place that was to stand as God’s house of His presence on earth. But the temple had become the place where God’s most vulnerable, the weak, poor and disenfranchised, were being taken advantage of! And Jesus just couldn’t stand for that in His house.
As we reflect on Jesus’ outburst, we must realize that the same passion that caused His tears now causes Him to drive these abusive moneychangers out of the Temple.
It is the Love of Jesus that unites these two scenes, and it is this same Love that unites us to God’s only Son.
May we see on this day that the love God has for all His people is expressed in the events of the life of Jesus.
MY COUSIN WHO SERVED AS A SHERIFF
once gave me a word of warning, “When an officer pulls you over and asks, ‘Do you know why I pulled you over?’ It’s a trap. By answering the question, you’re admitting there was a reason for why you were pulled over in the first place.” While it’s unwise to leave the question unanswered, there is no good response. It’s a difficult question with a revealing answer.
In Luke 20 Jesus finds Himself in a similar situation. The Pharisees have asked a complex question with only hazardous replies. When they ask if “it is lawful to give tribute to Caesar,” they are more so asking if Jesus submits to the God of Israel or to the political powers of the day. Will Jesus deny Yahweh as Lord or speak treason? Either answer leads to death. The Pharisees have seemingly found the perfect question to put an end to Jesus and His ministry.
But Jesus responds with an even craftier question—one that would reveal to whom the Pharisees submit. While they certainly say they serve the God of Israel, how they answer this question reveals the deeper truth. Jesus asks, “Whose image [likeness] and inscription does [the denarius] have?” Whomever’s image the
coin bears is the one to whom it belongs. What is Caesar’s? What is God’s? All who were there marveled at Jesus’ response.
I believe Jesus and Luke are using syntax meant to pull our mind back to the Genesis story. The story that tells us whose image we have. Because we bear the image of God, we all have intrinsic and inherent value. Because we are made in His image, the family of God incorporates every nation, tribe and tongue. We bear His likeness. Therefore, we belong to Him. This is even the hope of sanctification—if we are found in Christ we are to be His imagebearers. While we, like the Pharisees, are often concerned with which people to please and appease, Jesus is far more interested in to whom we belong—who is truly ruling our lives?
Whoever, or whatever, rules is the one to whom you render all things. Like Christ, in this story who is headed toward Calvary, do we render our preferences to His plans? Do we render our money to His good pleasure, or to our comforts? In all our striving, whose image do we truly bear? A difficult question with a revealing answer.
WEDNESDAY WAS QUIET. Eerily quiet.
With the previous three days filled with excitement and action—Sunday’s triumphal entry, Monday’s temple cleansing, and Tuesday’s temple controversies—now Wednesday comes like the calm before the storm.
During this Holy Week, Jesus was teaching daily in the temple and in the evening, He went to the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37). His teaching attracts crowds in the temple who want to listen to Him. But for now, the Jewish leaders, silenced by Jesus the day before, will leave Him be.
Out of sight they gather; planning, scheming. Today they will avoid public confrontation and instead plot in private. This Jesus of Nazareth must be done away with!
Jerusalem at Passover was anything but quiet. It was crowded with people celebrating the exodus from Egypt and Israel’s freedom from slavery. Thousands traveled to be in Jerusalem for the great celebration and Feast of Passover.
Away from the crowds and behind locked doors, Caiaphas, the high priest, gathers
the chief priests and scribes. They are now scheming how they might put Jesus to death– in secret, without opposition, hidden in the dark. By all means, this must be done without any public attention. These religious leaders were frightened of the people because Jesus was drawing huge crowds, and many people began to wonder if perhaps Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah. These religious leaders who say with their mouths that they fear God demonstrate with their actions that in reality their hearts are far from God. They fear man and public opinion. They love their position of prestige and can’t risk losing that. The people must never know.
Many refer to this day as “Spy Wednesday.” Dark conspiracy plotting against Jesus races ahead, quietly in sworn secrecy. It is this day when the key pieces come together in the plot for the greatest sin in all of history; the arrest and death sentence of our Savior, Jesus the Son of God. God the Son.
And more remarkable than this depth of dark depravity is the height of love Jesus will show. Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for his friends. Even when they have betrayed and forsaken Him.
AS WE COME TO THE TABLE to take the Lord’s Supper, what words do we read? “Do this in remembrance of me.” If you’ve ever shared a weekend with friends or family, you know how enjoyable remembering can be. In my family especially, it seems like we gravitate toward telling the same old stories—the ones that make us laugh or long for distant memories. Recalling our lives is a joyful thing, but for most of us memory involves pain too. There are a few things we would rather just forget, and places we would rather not return to, given the choice. Sorrow and joy. Celebration and pain. These are the holy emotions we experience in coming to take communion.
At a table in a small room in Jerusalem, Jesus took part in a final Passover feast with His disciples. And as they recalled the faithfulness of God in sustaining His people and leading them out of Egypt, Jesus instructed them to take and eat bread and drink wine that represented his body and blood. Why? To remember.
Even as the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, Jesus wanted them to remember Him say: “I am the true sacrificial lamb—the
Lamb of God—and I’m giving away my life freely for you.” Who knows if the disciples got the message? I’m sure we would have missed it. In fact, we still have a way of missing it. But despite our itching ears and wandering hearts, Jesus continues to offer us redemption through His body and blood over and over again.
It’s no coincidence, then, that we return to this meal in our worship together. In coming forward, we actively participate in receiving the free grace of God. Not only that, but in taking part in communion, we experience the hope of the cross—what a paradox! At the cross, Christ’s death means Life, not death. Hope, not despair. Victory, not defeat! Yes, that’s something we would do well to remember.
On this Maundy Thursday, stop, listen and remember. Listen to your life, and hear with fresh ears Jesus’ words of living hope at the communion table. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). No meal could satisfy more…no memory could be sweeter…no moment could be more holy.
WHAT A SCANDALOUS SCENE it must have been to bystanders…Roman soldiers leading a bloody and battered Jesus, the self-proclaimed Messiah, toward the site of executions; Simon of Cyrene bewildered by his sudden predicament and struggling under the weight of the cross he was forced to carry behind Jesus; a crowd openly weeping and mourning the fate of their leader as they followed helplessly behind the procession.
The jeers, the shouts, the wails that must have filled the air as Jesus was nailed to a cross and then erected between two criminals. Rather than protest or defend His innocence, Jesus’ first words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Even while suffering excruciating pain, Jesus’ concern was for the people rather than for Himself. And it was not just for His family and friends, or for the crowd in distress. He looked upon His mockers with mercy and His foes with forgiveness. His prayer, spoken aloud, gave validity to His teaching about loving one’s enemies (Luke 6:35). And surely those rulers and soldiers did not know the magnitude of their actions. For who would have willingly condemned “the Holy and Righteous One,” or put to death the “Author of life?” (Acts
3:14-15) Who would have urged the “Chosen One,” the Savior of all humanity, to reject His mission and instead save Himself? (Luke 23:35)
Despite the ignorance and evil of those who crucified Jesus, the horror that unfolded that day perfectly fulfilled God’s plan to secure our salvation. Every taunt meant to disprove Jesus’ claims would eventually strengthen His testimony. Every effort to bring Him shame only magnified His purity. Not one action or insult could hinder the work our Lord was accomplishing on that cross.
While witnesses to Christ’s torturous death would have called it anything but “good,” we’re reminded on this Good Friday that all hope and spiritual blessings are ours because Jesus gave His life on our behalf. In the brutal details of His crucifixion, may we see all the more clearly the depth of Jesus’ mercy, the power of His self-control, the love behind His sacrifice, the astonishing fulfillment of prophecies, the extravagant grace extended to the repentant criminal, the permanent removal of separation between God and His people and the wondrous assurance of a future Paradise. May we worship our Lord and Savior with renewed gratitude and adoration.
ARE LIGHT AND DARKNESS TRULY OPPOSITES, or could they be more similar than most assume? Doesn’t light conceal just as darkness does, and darkness reveal just as light? Think about it…can anyone see the clouds that float beyond the sun or adequately describe the ceiling tiles behind the dentist’s spotlight? Light, like darkness, can disable sight, and darkness, like light, can expose. As children, our fears were never more revealed than when we were left alone in the dark, and even now, the feelings that lie deep at our core are on full display when veiled in the darkest moments of our lives. Darkness reveals—light conceals.
On the Saturday in between Jesus’ death and resurrection, the darkness of the moment exposed the hearts of those who followed Him most closely. Eleven of the twelve disciples tucked tail and ran (Mark 14:50), making it abundantly clear that fear, not faith, claimed the majority of their hearts. As they hid in the darkness a day after their leader’s death (John 20:19), hoping that the darkness might spare them a similar fate, it provided a window into their souls. The darkness revealed their deepest fears…and they fled.
The darkness that faced Jesus, however, on the first Easter weekend was the very abyss towards which Jesus fled. The darkness of death was precisely the reason why He abandoned the radiant beauty of Heaven—the light of the world fleeing toward pitch-black finality. And, undoubtedly, He completed what He set out to accomplish—He died. He took up residence in the land from which no one returns, the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).
Yet…as he lay in utter defeat, the darkness revealed something of this man…that “even darkness is not dark to Him (Psalm 139:12).” This darkest moment of human history exposed the divinity of this Messiah, and became the very means by which He would blind the world with His radiant glory. Jesus claimed the enemy’s greatest tool, death itself, as His very own, and transformed it into the tool that would bring the light of salvation into the world. Death could not hold Him. Like the disciples, it fled before Him, ensuring that it can never shadow life’s final scene. The light of the world is risen…He is risen indeed, and we will eternally bask in the radiant glory of our risen Savior because He has conquered the darkness of death.
WILLIAM SANGSTER was a prominent British pastor in the 1940s and 50s. In 1958 he was diagnosed with an illness which gradually left him without a voice. He communicated with others by writing. On Easter morning, just a few weeks before his death, he wrote, “How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice to shout, ‘He is risen!’ But, far worse, to have a voice and have nothing about which to shout.”
Today, we join millions of others around the globe as we sing and shout, “He is risen!” This is the central proclamation of the greatest victory over the darkest enemy by the noblest hero for the loftiest cause in all history!
If there is anything in this broken world worth celebrating and worth shouting about, it’s this, “Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
C.H. Spurgeon once said, “The resurrection is the cornerstone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the keystone of the arch of our salvation.”
Professor Darrell Bock adds, “Without resurrection, Christianity is just another human approach to reach God; it is emptied of transforming power and hope. Without a
resurrected Jesus, Christianity has nothing to offer; for a dead savior is no savior at all.”
In other words, Christianity without the resurrection is not just Christianity without the final chapter, it’s not Christianity at all!
Christ’s resurrection is described as “first fruits,” an agricultural term which means the first harvest of many more to come.
Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live.”
Author/theologian, Frederick Buechner wrote, “Because of Easter, the worst thing is never the last thing.” Why? Death has been defeated; the grave has lost its grip; sins are forgiven; faith is validated; shame is removed and hope soars!
As the song declares:
“Then came the morning
that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory!”
Worship Times: Sundays at 8:30 and 11:00 am, Community Groups at 9:45 am.