The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

What do you look for in an Easter sermon?

This is the week…Easter…The celebration of the resurrection.  More people will attend church services this week than any other time of the year.  As one who is in the midst of preparing a sermon for this occasion I feel the pressure.  What am I supposed to say?  Do I speak to the faithful attender or the prodigal coming home?  Do I try to speak to the one who has heard the resurrection story a thousand times or the one who really hasn’t heard at all?

Help me out…What do you look for in an easter sermon? 
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Jeffrey Martin

posted March 28, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Is God your steering wheel or your spare tire.

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posted March 28, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I like to hear how after the resurrection Jesus still walks with us (His work on the cross for us was finished) – He could have gone home to Abba but he stayed and walked with the Emmaus Disciples, He even will come and eat with us [Luke 24:13-35]. But we are so busy in our minds, in our business, in our trying to figure things out, that we don’t get that He’s here until for a split second “our eyes are opened” and our hearts burn within us…This message can speak to those prodigals because they too go throughout their lives with burning hearts and also to those faithful every weekenders because we often times get so used to the flame burning inside of us that we take for granted the fanning of it, to set it ablaze, have the gift stirred up because He did eventually ascend into heaven but still wlaks, talks, and eats with us even by His Spirit (the stirrer of the gift), the writer of the etude, the progression of the cords that are within us to recognize.

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Doug Newman

posted March 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm

I am doing a 1-year Bible reading program right now and I notice a lot of repetition. Why is the Bible so repetitive? Because humans – He calls us sheep for a reason – constantly need reminding.
Hence, I come down on the side of “one who really hasn’t heard at all.”

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Luke Parrott

posted March 29, 2010 at 12:23 am

I agree with Doug. But I think both sides can receive the “one who really hasn’t heard at all” effect. What if you presented Easter from the disciples viewpoint? They never saw Jesus’ death and resurrection coming. If we (both long time followers and the unbelieving) could see Easter from the eyes of a disciple, it would give us the same surprise, awe, wonder that it gave all the eyewitnesses.
It would be great to see you surprise everyone’s (believer and non) expectations about what a typical Easter sermon should be. I’m sure the jazz theologian will compose something fresh and new. Praying for guidance!

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posted March 29, 2010 at 9:03 am

Sacrifice, redemption & forgiveness

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Mike Johnson

posted March 29, 2010 at 10:09 am

I’m asking the same question myself right now. I’m thinking, “somewhat simple and as clear as possible” message on Easter. I think it needs to be an encourager for the believer and hope for those who are at one of the “seeking” stages on the Engel Scale. However, I think my biggest focus is not only the message this weekend, but that the entire service isn’t so overblown that should an Easter attender return the next week that they won’t find a bait-and-switch. Whatever we do, it the service needs to have some normalcy to it.

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Brian Felker

posted March 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

I like Luke Parrot’s idea — comparing the Disciples in the Bible (literally walking with the Lord) to today’s Disciples (in our spiritual walk with the Lord).
Or how about this… When we first move to Colorado and see the mountain range for the first time. “WOW”. We keep looking West and talk about how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful state. But as life goes on, we get distracted or just used to them and pretty soon we don’t see them anymore, even tho we’re still living in Colorado! We haven’t moved, we’ve just changed our depth of focus. Thankfully, we have times when we “see them again for the first time” and we realize how stunning they are and how fortunate we are!

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Alan Baumbach

posted March 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I want the Easter sermon to be an evangelical call to people in the congregation that rarely attend church. But for all who hear the sermon, I want it to be one that fills us with wonder and awe at the grace of our God.

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posted March 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm

For God SO loved (he loved in this manner) . . . he gave.

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posted March 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I think you have to talk to the Christmas and Easter crowd… :-)

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posted March 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

This is the Super Bowl. Do teams go with what they are good at, or do they change the game plan? I’m sure the coach will fill the quarterback in on what to say.

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posted March 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I’d like to hear just how the death of a person who lived 2,000 years ago “saves” people today. I think we Christians are just so used to saying phrases to non-believers like, “Christ died for our sins to save us” or something like that, but I know people who don’t understand why people need to be “saved”- Especially through the shedding of blood. I would love to hear how or why the shedding of blood by an innocent man a long time ago is significant to people still today. Why does blood need to be shed at all? God could have saved us with a thought, why the need for blood?
I also think that the non-believer needs to be reminded of the uniqueness of Christ in History. Maybe some points on how Christ is unique. Maybe some evidences for the Resurrection? For example, why would he first appear to the women when the testimony of women was not valued?? If the writers of the Gospels wanted to invent the story, they would have had Jesus appear to the men, who had more credibility at that time. I think preaching to “the skeptic” is a good way to go with new comers that only come to church on Easter. Incorporating an apologetics, I think is best with people who have perhaps heard the story, but not some of the defenses for the authenticity of the story.
Thank you. You do such a great job!

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posted March 31, 2010 at 12:06 am

I’m with Louis in asking why blood. I am reading the Bible in a year through a reading plan on, and I finished Leviticus a few weeks ago. As I read that book, I kept thinking, why? Why does God require blood as an atonement?

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posted April 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I’m so glad you posted this! Preparing to preach Easter is always perplexing for me. And many of the comments were really good. Glad I stumbled onto this site. I was convicted by Louis’ remarks about the relevance of 2000 year old events. I think Christians are called to both “proclaim” and give an “apologia” for the basis of our hope. That’s a tall order for one sermon! Maybe it’s best just to get the skeptic to be willing to consider….and the conventional Christian to let Amazing Grace truly amaze again. God bless all of you as you remember the cross and the empty tomb….promises fulfilled and promises yet to be!

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