From Jeff Purswell, Dean of our Pastors College and an Elder at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (originally posted here):
In the busy-ness of everyday life, it’s easy to let Easter sneak up on us without much thought, preparation, or meditation. Despite its centrality, we can sometimes treat it as an after thought or just another Sunday. But whether we recognize it or not and whether we prepare for it or not, the fact remains that the events we remember during the Easter season are of pre-eminent importance for the Christian (I Corinthians 15:3). As we meditate and celebrate this week, we join a community of saints around the world and throughout the ages who have been saved and radically transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The resources you’ll find below are here to serve you as you seek to glory in our great Redeemer both this week and always. This content is specifically designed to help us all infuse an element of intentionality into our journey through Holy Week. More than just for the accumulation of knowledge, these resources are intended to help us worship our crucified and risen King Jesus.
Read the events of Holy Week in the gospels. The most important way to prepare ourselves for Easter is through reading and meditating on Scripture. This chart lists the events of Jesus’ final week along with the gospel texts that record them. This is ideal for helping one read through the relevant gospel passages during Holy Week.
Devotional materials on the cross. Here are a few resources that will assist you in reflecting upon the cross:
- Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, ed. Nancy Guthrie. This book contains a number of short, rich reflections on Christ’s sacrifice for us from theologians and pastors throughout church history. A wonderful devotional resource for Holy Week.
- Love to the Uttermost, John Piper. In this free e-book, Dr. Piper provides a week’s worth of devotions for Holy Week.
Going Deeper. For those wanting careful theological reflection on the atonement (which hopefully includes all of us!), this collection of important essays by J.I. Packer and Mark Dever is highly recommended. Bonus: the book also contains an invaluable bibliography of books on the cross, compiled by Ligon Duncan.
Especially for Good Friday. This 23 minute recording by Rick Gamache, senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Bloomington, MN, provides a powerful, imaginative narrative of Jesus’ final hour.
Be alert to evangelistic opportunities. Among the many good evangelistic resources available, this little book by John Piper is both a rich exploration of the cross for believers, and a very useful evangelistic tool to give to non-Christians, especially around Easter.