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Preparing for Good Friday & Easter - Part 1: The Fall

During Sunday’s worship services, we started a series of “Shadow Readings” to help us prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection.  If you missed Sunday’s reading or would like to reflect on it further, we are publishing the readings on Friedens’ blog each week. 



Each year leading up to Christmas, many churches observe a season called Advent.  Advent includes readings about Jesus, and candles are lit to represent the approaching celebration of Jesus’ birth. 


This year, in the month leading up to Good Friday and Easter, we are doing something new.  To help us prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection, we will have a series of readings, similar to Advent.  Also like Advent, we will use candles.  But rather than lighting candles, we will extinguish candles as we approach Good Friday.


The Bible’s first hint of Jesus’ death is in Genesis 3.  God created the world to be good and humanity to be noble.  Unfortunately, after being deceived by a serpent, Adam and Eve rebelled against God, causing sin to enter the world.  From that point on, everything became broken and tarnished compared to God’s original design. 


But God’s grace was already at work. 


In Genesis 3:15, as God described consequences for rebelling against Him, He declared to the serpent: “I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.  He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  Theologians call this “the first Gospel.”  It is a declaration that even though humanity sinned, God’s grace is greater than all our sin.  It’s a declaration that God will send a Savior into the world – born of a woman – who will crush Satan and defeat sin, evil, and death.  Yes, Jesus will suffer – which is referenced by the serpent striking His heel – but Jesus will win the ultimate victory!


Today, we extinguish a candle to represent the shadow that was hanging over Jesus’ life, even from humanity’s first sin in the Garden of Eden.


Let’s pray.  Father, thank you that even when we turn away from you, you remain faithful and gracious.  Through this next month, please open our hearts and minds to the greatness of your grace, which you lavished on us through Jesus.  We pray these things in His name, Amen.


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