21 May, 2024

What Is This Year’s Easter Message?


by | 1 March, 2023 | 1 comment

Veteran Preachers Share Plans for Their 2023 Resurrection Sermons 

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Compiled by Justin Horey 

In many parts of the United States and Canada, Easter Sunday draws more people to worship services than any other day. The number of people who will hear the message, and the importance of the message itself, are difficult to overestimate. Easter is one of our greatest annual evangelistic opportunities. 

For two millennia, Christian preachers have shared the gospel message and the hope of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. This year is no different. In fact, with churches fully reopened and so many more of them livestreaming their services, 2023 may provide the largest audience yet for preachers delivering Easter sermons. 

This year, as we approached the season leading up to Easter, Christian Standard asked church leaders from around the country one question as they prepared to preach:  

What do you most want to communicate to your congregation about Jesus’ resurrection in your 2023 Easter message? 

The preachers’ answers revealed their steadfast commitment to the biblical, historical account of the resurrection—along with a passion for cultural relevance and clear communication. We hope these thoughts encourage and inspire you, whether you will preach to thousands or share your faith and hope with a single friend or family member this Easter. 

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(From left) Ben Cachiaras, Dr. Steven A. Crane, Chris Reed, and DeWayne Reeves

Ben Cachiaras, Mountain Christian Church (Joppa, Maryland) 

A mixture of faithful disciples, cultural Christians, and cautiously curious but earnest inquirers gather on Easter. I tremble with holy fear and excitement at the responsibility to shock people with the startling relevance of the resurrection of Christ. Most don’t get it . . . at all. But if I can persuade even one to see it’s a historical event that connects to real life today, it’s a win.  

I’m with Paul: If it didn’t happen, we’re a bunch of fools, all dressed up with no place to go . . . we have no hope and should stop playing religious games. But if the resurrection did happen . . . well, it changes everything. I want people to see they are not fools for believing God raised Jesus from the dead—because it’s the ending to the story we all want to believe if we dared to believe it could be true.  

Easter isn’t just about Jesus’ resurrection, but our resurrection, too. In fact, it’s about the restoration of all things, nothing less than God’s ability to bring a new earth and a new start, beginning today. In a word, I want people to walk away with hope—it’s the one thing in shortest supply today, and the lack of it explains the malaise suffocating us like a heavy blanket of despair.  

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Dr. Steven A. Crane, Eagle Christian Church (Eagle, Idaho) 

This Easter, I want our family at Eagle Christian Church to really know Jesus Christ. I will be preaching from Philippians 3:10-11, where Paul said his primary goal was to know Christ and the power of his resurrection that he may share in Christ’s sufferings. Grammatically, Paul used the infinitive “to know,” stressing a personal, experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ. He didn’t just want to “know about” Jesus, he wanted to truly “know Jesus.”  

We might be tempted to ask, “But didn’t Paul already know Jesus? He met him on the road to Damascus; he had many visions; he wrote a great portion of the New Testament. Paul knew as much about Jesus as anyone.” Yes! But to really “know Jesus” is a lifelong pursuit. Knowledge of Jesus Christ is inexhaustible. We must pursue our relationship with Jesus more deeply every day.  

I hope to lead ECC in the essentials of Christian living, which means to truly know Christ and to share in the fellowship of his sufferings. Again, Paul knew about suffering for Christ, but he also wanted to continue to die to self in order to live for Jesus. The crux of Paul’s argument seems to be that we cannot truly know the victory of the resurrection without first applying the crucifixion.  

My prayer this Resurrection Sunday is that we can be changed by the power of Jesus Christ; that we can die to our old self and be formed into the image of Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us and was raised again. I want, along with my church family, to experience true resurrected life and really know Jesus Christ. 

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Chris Reed, Christ’s Church of Flagstaff (Flagstaff, Arizona) 

This year, my Easter message will be part one of a two-part message. In the past we have often used Easter to launch a new series that would be of interest to our target audience in the hopes folks would return for the next three or four weeks. This year we are going to propose that the “Empty Tomb Is the Key to a Full Life” during those two weeks.  

Most people seek a meaningful life, connection with others, and connection with something beyond themselves. In our pluralistic, post-Christian community, not many choose Jesus as their Savior or Lord. We want our friends to consider letting Jesus be their guide or wise sage this Easter, and along the way we will help them encounter and embrace him as the one who saves them. In January and February, we preached on relational evangelism, and we will be praying for our friends and neighbors to join us during the Easter celebrations!  

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DeWayne Reeves, Casting Christian Church (Farmington, Arkansas) 

What I most want to communicate about the resurrection of Jesus this Easter is that he made the choice to step down from Heaven and become fully human, live among his creation, and die by their hands so that we could live in relationship with him. He made that choice to be in relationship with us. If the creator of all things made that choice, then why wouldn’t we choose to follow him with our life in totality? 

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(From left) Brett Andrews, Mike Hickerson, and Cam Huxford

Brett Andrews, New Life Christian Church (Chantilly, Virginia) 

When I was in college, I remember David Roadcup saying that the most important question to ask about each sermon is, “What is the most important message God wants to deliver to these people this week?”  

We are living in a confused moment in history because people don’t know how to answer life’s most important questions: Who am I? What is moral? What is loving? How do I deal with guilt? What gives my life meaning? What happens when I die? 

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ offer sufficient answers to life’s most important questions. 

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Mike Hickerson, Mission Church (Ventura, California) 

Easter means there is “Hope for Everyone.” Hope is that confident expectation that God is willing and able to accomplish everything he has promised to do. The reality of the resurrection means my past can be forgiven, my present can have purpose, and my future is secure. 

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Cam Huxford, Compassion Christian Church (Savannah, Georgia) 

Our faith in Jesus is not about theology, it’s about history! Easter is a celebration of a miraculous, historic event that happened in a specific place at a specific time. It has been corroborated by eyewitnesses and others who were both followers of Jesus and voices of the secular culture. The resurrection really happened! Consequently, because he conquered death out of love for us, there is no problem his love cannot help solve, no conflict his love cannot overcome, no trial his love cannot support us through, and nobody his love cannot save. Easter is for everyone! 

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What do you want to communicate to your congregation this Easter? Join the conversation on social media or at ChristianStandard.com

Justin Horey is a writer, musician, and the founder of Livingstone Marketing. He lives in Southern California. 

Justin Horey

Justin Horey is a writer, musician, and the founder of Livingstone Marketing. He lives in Southern California.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Swaney

    Thanks, Justin, for this great article. I love the creative ideas by all these pastors. Sometimes one sentence, or a turn of phrase, is all it takes for us to be off and running for preparing a good Easter message!

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