When we attend church this coming Sunday, let's remember that Easter has a context. It doesn't just happen out of thin air. The week before the resurrection Jesus enters into Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey, and the common people gather palm branches to wave before Him and place on the ground. It puts the authorities on notice: here comes your King! It was a seditious act (listen to my sermon for April 1). Furthermore, this riding into Jerusalem was only the introductory event of Easter Week - we call it Palm Sunday. So what's next? Answer: read the gospels. John devotes approximately half of his gospel to Easter Week and the others devote a significant amount of space to the week as well.
Nevertheless, I want to speak briefly about the next event that John records after Christ enters Jerusalem. It's the request of the Greeks:
John 12,20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
They have a simple request: "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." What's John's point? Well, Jesus' ministry has been to Israel, not to the Gentile (non-Jew) world. Yet now we see that the world, as represented by these Greeks, is seeking Jesus Christ. This search is precisely the search of every human heart. All of humanity is filled only in the person of Christ. The world seeks Him and the world must seek Him, for without Him human beings remain empty. Without Him human beings are many miles from their point of origin (they were created by Christ) and many miles from their true home (their destination is supposed to be with Him).
So what happens? Jesus says,
John 12, 23 . . . “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."
In other words, Jesus is going to the cross. He's going to die for you and me. Easter week must go through that moment - the time of Jesus' death. Easter is not only about chocolates. Easter is not only about families. Rather, Easter remembers Christ's death. We pause . . . stop . . . and think about these things . . . and we call that day Good Friday. Yes, Jesus did die. He died a very bloody, pain-filled death. Why? In part so that you would remember. In part so you would know that He would do, and did do, anything for you. Why? Because He loves you.
Think on these things. Maybe even read the second half of John's gospel! In so doing, you will be more prepared for Easter.