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Four Nontraditional Easter Texts

Share the Resurrection story in an unexpected way

Influence Magazine on February 28, 2019

With Easter approaching, pastors are focusing on making it a great service. Obviously, many churches will send out mailers and purchase advertising. Most will include a unique element in worship. But every pastor will also need to prepare a sermon that touches the hearts of unsaved people.

Attendees expect to hear the traditional passages covering Jesus’ passion and resurrection — and the truths we find there should be a part of every message. But it’s easy even for church people to overlook the fact that all of Scripture hinges on these events.

What if you centered your Easter message around a nontraditional text? Not only could this lesser-known passage increase interest, but it could also illustrate how the message of Easter is the key message of the entire Bible.

Below are four passages we seldom hear at Easter that nevertheless point to the Resurrection story. Perhaps you can use one this year. Or maybe they will spur your creativity to find a text that’s right for you audience.

Hebrews 12:1-3

What do we see at Easter? The writer of Hebrews invites us to consider all the great examples of faith from the past, but to fix our eyes on Jesus alone. His example of sacrifice should be our joy; His suffering should release us from shame. Fixing our eyes on the crucified and resurrected Lord at Easter, and every day, prepares us for whatever struggles we face.

Jesus’ example of sacrifice should be our joy; His suffering should release us from shame.

The Book of Jonah

The Pharisees and teachers of the Law wanted a sign from Jesus. But He denied their request. The only sign they would get would be the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-41). Of course, this is the testimony that Jesus spent three nights and days in the tomb, just as Jonah did in the belly of a fish. But it’s more than that. It’s a reminder of God’s faithfulness and mercy, in spite of our sin and rebellion.

A sermon from the Book of Jonah is unexpected at Easter, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Retelling that great story is a way to explain that God doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), and that He works in our lives to rescue, forgive and restore us.

Luke 2:34-35

A passage we normally associate with Christmas might initially seem out of place at Easter. Yet the prophetic words of Simeon were a foreshadowing of the cross. And Mary was apparently the only person who was present at both the birth and death of Jesus. Considering the Easter story from Mary’s perspective is a poignant reminder of the grief at the crucifixion scene — and the joy that followed.

Revelation 21:1-5

The resurrection of Jesus is a foretaste of our own resurrection. So a message from the Book of Revelation is certainly appropriate. But why stop at the resurrection of the dead? Why not keep going in the book and speak of our future glory in Christ? That’s where Revelation 21 takes us — with a promise of a new heaven and new earth, a place where God dwells with His people, beyond the reach of all sin and death.

Easter is not just about looking at the past. It’s also about looking forward to the day when Jesus makes all things new.

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