Not since the height of the Second World War, when Australia was advancing on Japanese lines in the Pacific in April 1943, has Easter and ANZAC Day come so close. So rare an event, they won’t collide again for nearly 30 years.
It is regular practice for churches to celebrate the sacrifice of Christ at Easter and the sacrifice of servicemen and women on ANZAC Day, but is ok to compare the two and celebrate them together in the house of God?
Some churches have decided to celebrate them both in the same service and even go as far as comparing the two sacrifices. This week, an Anglican church in Sydney posted a card to residents inviting them to attend an Easter/ANZAC service stating that both “remind us of [the] selfless sacrifice of others willing to give their lives to bring peace to this world”.
The Anglicans are not alone. One Catholic diocese in New South Wales suggests Christian worshipers do everything they can, not to disconnect the two remembrance events. The Most Reverend Peter Ingham, Bishop of Wollongong, says “the reason why I say do not disconnect Anzac Day from Easter is because both celebrations are about sacrifice and the fruits of sacrifice.
This week, as we celebrate Palm Sunday and look ahead to Good Friday and the Easter weekend our focus is on the reason for Easter. Why did Christ have to die? Was there no other way? Click on the link to answer these questions and more as you access a week of Easter devotions and resources, like the devotion and video below as you Travel the Road to the Resurrection.
Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.—Matthew 26:13
As you read the New Testament, you can’t help but notice how little it says about the major events of world history. You might think Scripture would mention Rome and all its mighty conquests. But it doesn’t. Instead, God brings out nuances that are entirely different.
Here in Matthew 26, for example, we find a unique story that God wants us never to forget (see verse 13). It was the incredible sacrifice that a woman made for Jesus. What was it that she did that so impressed the Lord? Was it a miracle or some great teaching? No. It was a heartfelt act. There in the home of a man named Simon, this woman took a jar of expensive perfume and anointed Jesus with it. Why is this so significant? Her actions are memorable because she seemed to recognize that Jesus needed to be anointed for His burial (see verse 12). So with complete abandon, she gave Him everything she had.
Mark’s Gospel tells us her perfume cost more than 300 denarii (see Mark 14:5). In these times, 300 denarii was the equivalent of nearly a year’s wages. But it wasn’t the gift that mattered. It was her heart behind the gift. It was her motives that touched Jesus, because He knew she sacrificed nearly everything for Him.
Are you doing all that you can for the Lord? Some people, like many of the dutiful Pharisees, will only give what is required. They will try to get by with the bare minimum. In many ways, we can be like that too.
Today, won’t you commit to serving the Lord above and beyond what is required—like this woman did?
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the