Now I do want to welcome each of you this morning. This has become a tradition, having a breakfast on Good Friday. And as I was preparing, I thought, you know, a good place to start is to ask each of you to stop and think of this question. When you think of God, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? In other words, when you think of the attributes of God, what do you think of? Here in the south I think the first thing we think of is that He is a loving God, that He is a merciful God, He is a forgiving God He is an all-powerful God, He is a just God, He is a fair God, and that’s true. That’s what you see. You see those descriptions in the Scripture of Who God is. And this is what the theologians call the theology of glory. These are descriptions that make us feel good about God and Who He is.
The problem is when Easter rolls around and we get to today, Good Friday, we hear a lot of different words. We hear words like sin and the cross and the crucifixion, God’s wrath, and God’s judgment, the sacrifice He made and the spilling of the blood of His Son, Jesus. And these are words theologians call the theology of the cross. And for many people, this isn’t really pleasant. It’s kind of like a lot of people feel about Good Friday, they say, I’d just as soon forget about Good Friday and move on to Easter.
But the problem is, guys, is that the heart of the Christian faith starts at the cross. In fact, without it, the Biblical story of redemption makes no sense. And so, what I want to do today is briefly walk you through the events of Good Friday and make four important points that I think will be very helpful to you, particularly as you go through the day and as you go through this weekend. Then I’m going to close and spend just a few minutes talking about the Resurrection.
Now I think most everybody in this room knows something about Jesus’ birth. We talk about it a lot during Christmas, and there’s this assumption that the first 30 years of His life, He lived at home with His family. He was a carpenter, worked with his dad. And then at the age of 30, He began his ministry, which was primarily teaching and healing in this little, small area of Palestine in the vast Roman Empire.
And as most of you know, over time, He developed quite a following. I mean, 5,000 people would go out and hear Him out on the countryside. And though He had a great following, He also had a lot of opposition. But the big question that kept making the circles, that people kept asking the question, could this be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah? Could this be their long-awaited king? The problem is the Jewish leaders were so threatened by Him, they realized we have got to figure out a way to get rid of this guy, because if we don’t, we’re going to lose all of the favor, all of the power that we’ve gained with the Romans who rule over our land.
You know what the problem is? They just couldn’t figure a way to pull the trigger. They were looking for ways to get rid of Him and they couldn’t figure it out until one day, Jesus stood before a tomb where a man had been buried for four days, Lazarus. And he comes before that tomb, and He says, I want you to remove the stone. They objected because they said his body is probably smelling now as it’s decomposing. And He said, remove the stone, which they did. And He yells out Lazarus come forth and out walked Lazarus.
Now you can imagine what, there was a crowd there, this was not done in a vacuum, there was a crowd of people there witnessing it. And as you can imagine, what it did to that place. And many of them who saw it went to the religious leaders, and said, you’re not going to believe what we’ve just seen. And guys, that was the moment of truth for them. They realize He has got to go. And so, at that point, they plotted with Judas and on that Thursday night, Maundy Thursday, which was last night, they came in the dark of night and they arrested Him, and they took Him before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and He was declared guilty of blasphemy, of stirring up the people, but they couldn’t execute Him because they didn’t have the authority. They had to take him to Pilate, which is really kind of where I want to pick up on the talk this morning.
Listen to these words from John 18.
“Pilate therefore entered again into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to Him, are you the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, are you saying this on your own initiative or did others tell you about Me? Pilot answered, I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priest delivered You to me. What have You done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting that I might not be delivered up to the Jews. But as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. Pilate therefore said to Him, so, You are a king. Jesus answered, you say correctly that I’m a king. For this, I’ve been born and for this I’ve come into the world,” listen to this, this is crucial, “to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. And Pilate said to Him, what is truth? And walks off.”
Now a crucial statement that Jesus made is “anyone who is of the truth”. Now, what does that mean? Well, if you go and read it in The Amplified Bible, it means those who are basically, who belong to the truth. But ultimately, you know what it means? Those who love the truth will hear My voice.
You know, as human beings, guys, we have a strange relationship with the truth. We like it when it leads us in a direction that we’re comfortable with, that makes us feel good about the direction we’re going, but we turn our backs on it when it leads us in a direction that we do not want to go.
Last week, I was listening to the radio, and I heard one of the old songs that I love by Simon and Garfunkel, and I realize some of you don’t even know who that is. But some of you do and they had a song that was a top hit. It was called “The Boxer”. And I heard these words, listen to these words, “a man sees what he wants to see, and then he disregards the rest.” “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.”
You know, twelve years ago, when I spoke here at the BCC, I delivered a talk called “The Key to a Healthy Life”. And I’m not sure whether you were there or not, but some of you might have been, but in that talk, I concluded that the key to being a truly healthy person, is that you have to love the truth. You have to love the truth. And I got this from two different people. One was a Dr. George Graham, who was a philosophy professor. He taught for years at Wake Forest, then he was here at UAB, and now he teaches over in Atlanta at Georgia State. But he made this observation. He says, “it takes a tremendous amount of courage to face the truth in life. People who have the habit of not facing the truth, have a habit of having trouble living in every aspect of their lives, particularly in their jobs and in their personal relationships.” And then he says this, “being centered on the truth is crucial to a healthy, vital human life.”
And then the second person that I got the same idea from was Dr. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled, who says “our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. And if the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are and if we’ve decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. But if we live with a false map, we will find it inaccurate and we will generally be lost in this life, and our lives will eventually end up in the ditch.”
You know what? One of the characteristics that I found of people who really love the truth is they do not deny problems when they arise in their lives, but they run straight at their problems. They don’t run away from them. They run straight to their problems. They’re not afraid to look reality in the eye and it makes all the difference in their life.
Now, let me give you a couple of examples of this. You know, where this is really true and has real application is in your marriage, in your marriage.
You know, I’ve been blessed. I have a great marriage, but I give all the credit to my wife, and you know why? She loves the truth. She speaks the truth into my life. She lets me know when things are a mess in our relationship because you know what? I have the tendency to let things just kind of slide. Early in our marriage, where we had real issues, which I didn’t want to admit, she insisted that we go to counseling. I said, we don’t need to go to counseling, we just need to work harder on our marriage. Guess who won that battle? You know, to her credit, we talk through the issues that come up, whether it’s with our children or the relationship that we have. In other words, we confront the truth because I think I, like so many men, are like Simon and Garfunkel. A man sees what he wants to see and then he just disregards the rest.
This has significant application in your work. You know, back twelve years ago, when I gave that talk, I had just finished reading Jack Welch’s new book. He had just retired from GE. If you don’t know who Jack Welch is, he’s considered one of the great CEOs that have ever led a company in our country. He turned GE around, made it one of the great corporations and he has a section in the book called “Building a Business Philosophy”. And in it he says, “The core of the philosophy is pretty simple. It’s facing reality.” He says, “Facing reality, facing the truth sounds simple, but it’s not. I found it hard, very hard to get people to see a situation for what it is and not what it was in the past or what they had hoped for it would be in the future.” Then he said, “Self-delusion can grip an organization and lead the people to false conclusions, and it can lead to the demise of a business.” He says, “You have got to love the truth and confront the truth in your work.”
But you know where this has the greatest application and I think that’s what Jesus is saying to Pilate. This has the greatest application in your spiritual life. C.S. Lewis said, “When it comes to spiritual truth, people respond to it as unreasoning animals. Because what happens is, too many people seek a religion that makes them feel good, that is comforting, that is socially useful, but when you’re considering religious truth claims, there is one ultimate criteria. And that ultimate criterion is, is the truth claim true?” And then he says, “If it’s true, then the big question is, are you willing to submit your life to it?”
The person who’s written more about this than anybody is probably Blaise Pascal, brilliant French mathematician and philosopher and he was so frustrated because he lived among the wealthy in France. And he said, I had all these wealthy intellectual friends who had no interest in spiritual truth. And he said, truth is so obscured nowadays and lives so well-established that unless you love the truth, you’ll never recognize it. You know really what he’s saying is loving the truth is a necessary condition for knowing the truth. And he came up with that famous phrase that I think is so apt and so applicable. He says, “We are, as human beings, we are fugitives from reality.” He says, “We fill our lives with all types of diversions to keep us from having to think about God and death and eternity.” And then he says this “Between us and Heaven and hell, there’s only this life. And we all know, this life is the most fragile thing in the world. And therefore, the fragility of life should force us to become seekers of truth and not drive us deeper into the busyness and diversions of life.”
What a great picture of us as men not wanting to think about the serious issues of life but look for ways to divert the mind through busyness and activities and work.
Now, before we move on, there’s one verse I want to read to you from The New Testament, it’s an obscure verse, in that I don’t know that many people notice it because it’s in a little obscure letter of Paul’s, Second Thessalonians. But man, listen to what he says. He talks about people who are spiritually perishing. And then he says why. He says, because, and I quote, “They refuse the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
To refuse the love of the truth. Guys, this is a huge issue. And that’s why Jesus says, if you really love the truth, you’ll hear My voice.
Now, Pilate did not think that Jesus was guilty of anything. He wanted to let Him go, but the people kept shouting, crucify Him. Crucify Him. He said, He’s done nothing wrong. And then they, I think this is what got to Pilate, they said, if you’re not willing to crucify Him, you’re no friend of Caesar. And I think that kind of got him. And he gave in to the demands of the people. And so, Jesus and two other criminals were marched to the top of a hill outside of Jerusalem. And they were crucified, one on Jesus’s left and one on his right at 9:00 AM in the morning. And you know, the thing about crucifixion, not only was it torture physically, but most people don’t realize this. It was humiliating. They stripped you naked as you hung on that cross. Remember when they gambled for his clothes and they’re hanging on the cross, dying men, three dying men. And while they hang on that cross, they have this brief interchange. I want you to listen to what they say.
This is from Luke 23. “One of the criminals who were hanging there was hurling abuse at him saying, are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. But the other answered in rebuking him said, do you not even fear God, since you were under the same sentence of condemnation, and we indeed, justly for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. And he turned and said to Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, truly, I say to you today, you shall be with Me in paradise.”
Now this first guy, he hears the crowd mocking Jesus saying, you’re the Christ, save Yourself. And this first criminal turns to me and says, yeah, if you’re the Christ, save yourself. And while you’re at it, save us too.
You know, it’s kind of like, you could almost see this first criminal trying to make a deal with Christ. If you’ll get me off, I’ll change my ways. It makes me wonder if you’ve ever done that. God, if you can just get me out of this fix, I’ll be a new man.
You know, the first criminal, when he gets right down to it, though, he just wants, you know what he wants. He wants a change in his circumstances. He has no interest in a change in his heart. He doesn’t want to change what his life has been centered on. Just help me out here. What really strikes me is the second criminal is more concerned about his soul instead of saving his skin. I mean, he’s clearly more concerned about his eternal well-being than anything else, but very sadly, this first guy, this first criminal, has no interest in his soul. He has no interest in what he is getting ready to face. I think he is a great example of Pascal’s “fugitive from reality”. But the beauty of this, the second thief gets it. He says because of our wickedness, because of our sin, we deserve to be abandoned by God. We deserve to die. And then he looks to Jesus, I think in real humility, and says, Jesus, remember me. He looks to Christ and says, remember me. And the only reason that Jesus could say to him today you’ll be with me in paradise is because Jesus was bearing this man’s sin on the cross just as He bore the sins of all the world.
But it strikes me, guys, that these two criminals almost represent somewhat of a parable because what you have here is two dying men. And if you think about it, we’re all done. We are. You remember what apostle Paul says? Every one of us, he says, every day our bodies are wasting away, and you know that to be true. All you have to do is look at yourself and you realize your body is wasting away.
But which of these two men do we really relate to? You know, that the first who sees Jesus as nothing more than a means to an end, get me what I want versus the second guy who saw Jesus as the end, who says, I want to be with you. Remember me when You go to Your kingdom. And then about 12 o’clock, they started at nine, at 12 o’clock, it says in the very next verse, it was about the sixth hour. It was about noon and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 3:00 PM. It says because the sun was obscured.
Now that had to be strange, 12 o’clock noon, I’m not sure what it means, the sun was obscured, but it got almost pitch-black dark for three hours. And the significance of this is that this was when God, and I’m going to underscore this word, supernaturally poured the condemnation and the damnation for the sins of the world upon Jesus. The Bible describes it in various ways. He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. My servant will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities. He being God made him Jesus, who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf.
Now guys, this is what’s really interesting. When I was preparing this, I learned something very enlightening from Dr. Tim Keller. He says that when you go to the Old Testament, whenever you go to the Old Testament, he says, every time it speaks of the judgment of God, he refers to it often as the day of vengeance or the day of judgment. And he says, every time you see this reference in the Old Testament of this day of judgment on sin and evil, he says, it’s always called a day of darkness.
For instance, in Joel 2:31, it says the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. Amos 8:9 says, “Then it will come about in that day, declares the Lord, that I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight”, and goes on and describes the judgment of God.
Then Zephaniah 1:15, a day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness. Guys, do you realize what the significance of this is? He’s saying the darkness is coming down on Jesus because God’s eternal wrath is actually coming down upon Him. The judgment that eradicates and demolishes evil is coming down on Christ. And of course, you know, why would God do this? Well, it’s pretty simple. The wrath and judgment of God had to come down on Him so that it wouldn’t come down on us that we would not have to experience it ourselves.
And therefore guys, it struck me that those three hours of darkness, while Christ hung on the cross changed all of eternity for us. Unbelievably significant. You see, this is why Jesus had to come into the world. You know, several times He says, I must do this. I must die, because you think about it. He had to be a man because He had to be a man so that He could actually go to the cross and shed his blood. But He had to be God, fully God, because only God was capable of bearing the sins of the world. And then it became light, just before three and Jesus yelled out, it’s finished. It’s finished.
Now the word that he uses in the Greek is a very interesting word. When he says it is finished, give me one second to lay this out. You know, back in Biblical times, and just like today, people borrowed money, they incurred debt. There’s something about us as human beings that liked to borrow money and when you borrowed money back then they wrote up what was called a certificate of debt. And the certificate of debt had the terms and conditions of the loan. And if you could not replay your loan based on the terms and conditions of the agreement, there were two options which were up to the creditor. He could throw you into debtor’s prison. You would pay your debt, in one sense, to society, by going to prison. The alternative was you could go and work for him for a period of time and work it off. There were no bankruptcy laws. I mean, if they had these laws, it’d be interesting to see what would happen to debt today. But you go work it off for a period of time because in essence, the creditor owns your labor.
Now I share this because this is basically, the Bible says, this is the situation we find ourselves in with God. Because of our sin, we have incurred a debt that we can never repay. But let’s go back to this idea of incurring debt back in Biblical times. You know what happened when you finally paid your debt off, whether you gave the money back, you went to prison or you worked it off? Once it was complete, they would take the certificate of debt and they would stamp it and they stamped it with the word “Teleo” and Teleo meant paid in full.
Now I share all of this with you because when Jesus hung on the cross, when He yelled It is finished, the word that He yelled out was Teleo, paid in full. You see, Christ died so that the certificate of debt, which is consistent of all of our sins could once and for all be paid in full.
The apostle Paul even says it in Colossians 2:13-14, he says that God has forgiven us of our sins having canceled out the certificate of debt by nailing it to the cross. So, Jesus, in essence, yells paid in full. And then He says Father into Thy hands, I commit my spirit and He breathes His last breath and he died.
Now I know that the curtain of the temple tore, and I just don’t have time to go there. But you know, historians all agree. I did this massive study, historians all agree that Jesus died on the cross, and they all agree that He was taken down, and He was put into a tomb, and they all agree, they do agree that His bodies turned up missing, but they don’t all agree on what happened to Him. And that’s a pretty big point. What did happen to Him? I mean, did He really rise from the dead? Did that really happen? And if it did really happen, this is the question, what would it mean to the world if Jesus truly rose from the dead? What would it mean? What would it mean to you, to men who are dying, and we are dying? What would that mean to us? Well guys, it means everything. I mean, it’s the ultimate proof of the existence of God. It’s the ultimate proof that Jesus was the son of God. And he said that, this is the proof that I’ll give you. Ultimately, you know what it means? It would be the defining moment in all of history.
And this is why, in my opinion, any great quest for spiritual truth should always start with Jesus in the Resurrection. Did it happen? Was it truly a historical event? If you can come to grips with that answer to that question, you solved a lot of problems.
Now in the work that I do, I have the opportunity to speak to a lot of skeptics. It’s just kind of the nature of the work. And when I do my real objective of course, is to demonstrate to them that Jesus is the Christ and that He did rise from the dead. And I do it because the evidence is quite compelling. But the big problem, let tell you the big problem I run into with a skeptic, that’s usually not where they want to go. See, I try to focus, this is kind of simple, where we want to start. They want to go out here, out on the periphery, have all kind of questions they want to talk about. What about all the pain and suffering and evil in the world? What about all the other religions of the world? What about those people who’ve never heard of Jesus? By the way, all very legitimate questions, but they want to start way out here. And my approach to them is let’s take a different approach because what they want to do is start way out here and then eventually work down here. But I say, let’s take a different approach, let’s start down here at the central issue. And then we’ll be much better able to answer these questions out here. They’ll make so much more sense.
And I tell them once you answer these questions, these central questions, you’ll be shocked at how these other questions just kind of, everything falls into place. And this is where I want you to start. Let’s start right here. Did Jesus rise from the dead? And that’s pretty simple guys. You know why? Because there’s either He did, or He didn’t. Either He did or He didn’t.
I’m meeting with a guy right now. First time I met with him, I can’t tell you the number of questions and they were out, way out, and I calmly chatted with him, but we weren’t making a whole lot of progress. I said, I got an idea. I really was, I was about to say, you know, we probably need to quit meeting. I said, but listen, before we do, let me take a different approach. Why don’t we do this? Let’s start with Jesus and look at the evidence for the Resurrection, which is very powerful. Let’s start there and move out. Well, it changed everything. I think this guy will tell you it has helped tremendously. He’s not there yet, but he is on the road.
I don’t know how many, did any of y’all attend the debate, I’m curious down at UAB with Richard Dawkins and John Lennox, any of y’all go to that years ago, really an unbelievable debate between this famous atheist Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. Well, about a year later, Larry Taunton, who many of you know who had sponsored the debate, happened to be in Oxford, which is where both of them lived. And they got together for, in just kind of a nice friendly setting. I think it was at Dawkins’ house or maybe his office and it was just the two of them and Larry and they had a much more friendly kind of civil conversation and Larry recorded it, and they gave him permission to record it and he let me listen to it.
And one of the things that I’ll never forget about this conversation that they had was Dr. Lennox wanted to talk about Christ and the Resurrection. And Dawkins clearly says, I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to even discuss it. Isn’t that interesting? You see, he wanted to stay out here. Now he’s a man of science and maybe part of the problem is this, you know, when it comes to the Resurrection. You can’t prove it by science. You can’t prove it by philosophy. It’s an issue of history. You have to look at the historical record and Dawkins didn’t want to go there. And it also made me wonder, this is just speculation on my part. Does Richard Dawkins really have a love of the truth, or does he just see what he wants to see?
That’s the problem when it comes to truth. We have a strange relationship with truth. Let me just say this guys. If you can get a skeptic to look seriously at the evidence of the Resurrection and they have just an inkling of a love of the truth, they’re in big trouble. I kid you not. They’re in big trouble. It’s kind of like the great philosopher, Dallas Willard says, “The historical evidence for the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus is very convincing, but most modern people are ignorant of the facts. Over the years, I’ve noticed that many a skeptic has confidently set out to disprove the claims of the Christian faith only to change their minds and become Christians.” Willard points out that, “In their quest, this is what happens. They are forced to examine the historical record and facts. They are forced to think clearly and look reality, look the truth, right in the eye.”
And therefore, if you combine that with the love of the truth, Jesus says, you will hear My voice. You will find Me.
Now, all of the different people that Willard refers to, there are many of them. You see, what people have learned is what the apostle Paul says, if you can prove that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity is dead in the water. And so, a lot of confident scholars have attempted to do that. Guys like the famous attorney, Frank Morrison, Jay N. Anderson, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Sir William Ramsey, even our own Frank Limehouse. And so, as I wind this down, I want to look at one of these men, Frank Morrison, atheist, brilliant scholar, great legal mind. He set out to write a book. He already had the title, even though he hadn’t done the research, this was the title: Disproving the Resurrection of Christ. And when he finished his research, he wrote a completely different book, which has become a classic, called Who Moved the Stone. And what he attempted to do was to demonstrate through the rules of evidence in a court of law, about the evidence of the resurrection. And I want to read to you real briefly, this is how he opens the book. These are his words.
“This study is, in some way, so unusual and provocative that the writer thinks it’s desirable to state here, very briefly, how this book came to take its present form. In one sense, it could have taken no other, for it is essentially a confession, the inner story of a man who originally set out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write quite another. It’s not that the facts themselves altered, for they were recorded imperishably in the monuments and the pages of human history, but the interpretation to be put upon the facts underwent a change. Somehow the perspective shifted, not suddenly, as in a flash of insight or inspiration, but slowly, almost imperceptibly, by the very stubbornness of the facts themselves.”
You know, guys, Christianity has never suggested that we just take a blind leap into the darkness. We’re told to step out into the light that we have been given. You know, the Christian Gospel is not a message that revels in ignorance, instead it is rooted in historical revelation, two men in the person of Jesus Christ.
And this is why I try to challenge men to be honest, to answer this question is Jesus real? Did he rise from the dead and most significantly, is He alive today?
And so, I’ll leave you with this thought, thinking about everything I’ve said, the one thing you need to know is when it comes to this person, Jesus, you can’t be neutral towards Him, which is what I wanted to be a good bit of my life. Just neutral towards Him. He makes it hard on us, because you know what He says, either you’re with Me or you’re against Me. He says, you have to choose for Me or against Me.
You know, at a certain point in his ministry, Jesus even confronted his own disciples with this question. It’s in the sixth chapter of John, you know, many of Jesus’ followers, it says they begin to abandon Him. They didn’t like what He was saying. And He’s standing there. All these people have kind of drifted off and He’s standing there with the twelve. And He says, do you not want to go with them? Do you not want to abandon Me as well? Then I love what Peter said. He said, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have believed and come to know that You are the holy one of God. Isn’t that powerful? He says, if we don’t put our faith in You, Jesus, who will we look to for eternal life?
And you know, guys, that’s a great question every single one of us should ask. Because in the Old Testament, the literal meaning of the word truth meant something that can be relied on or someone you can trust. And so, remember this, we’re all dying men and as we consider eternity and life after death, we all need to ask the question, who can I rely on? And who can I really trust?
Tim Keller boils this down into simple and logical terms, which I’ll end with. He says this. “If the claims of Christ are not true, then you should have nothing to do with Him because He is a wicked lunatic. But if He did rise from the dead, His claims are true and therefore, we should take everything in our lives and put them at His feet. We should build everything in our lives around Him. Everything.”
Let me close in prayer. Father, how blessed we are to live in Birmingham, Alabama, and to be here in this really nice place, eating a nice breakfast and listening to words of truth. What I pray is that we, as we leave here this morning, that these words would resound in each of our hearts. And if we’re not going to look to You, who in the world are we going to look to? Lord, we thank You. We thank You so much for taking our judgment upon Yourself. And then we thank You for that glorious Resurrection that gives us great hope as we recognize that we truly are men who are dying and yet how great it is that we do not have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone. You promised to walk with us. We do thank You. And I pray that Lord, you would bless each man here, each family, each marriage represented here and that You would bless this weekend as we celebrate Easter, for it’s in Christ’s name, that we pray. Amen.