20 June, 2024

March Madness, Sadness, and Gladness

by | 25 March, 2024 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

Fans of college basketball look forward every year to the month of March, knowing that “March Madness” awaits: the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. The madness refers to the excitement that the tournament generates every year, often featuring upsets and thrilling, “buzzer-beating” finishes.  

As we consider what we call “Passion Week” for Jesus, the week began with Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem. He entered the city with Passover just a few days away, amid a cheering crowd whose shouts of Hosanna must have been deafening. Madness? Yes, the crowds were mad about, wild about Jesus. John’s Gospel says that the Pharisees, Jesus’ staunchest opponents, were saying to one another, “Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:19). Or so it must have seemed to them.  

As the week progressed, the madness took on another meaning. The religious leaders were mad at Jesus. Their hatred toward him grew as they watched Jesus’ popularity grow. Then came Judas with his offer of betrayal. The leaders gladly gave Judas 30 pieces of silver to carry out his act. 

At this point we move to sadness. After Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples and then established Communion as a new kind of memorial, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas led those who were to arrest Jesus and in just a few hours crucify him. We can’t imagine what it was like for people such as Jesus’ mother Mary to watch how he was treated. So many thought for certain he was the Messiah, the chosen one, and now this. Sadness beyond words. 

That sadness, however, was only temporary. The women who came to pay their respects to Jesus’ body heard the stunning words: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5-6). What appeared to be unbearable sadness was transformed into indescribable gladness . . . the “inexpressible and glorious joy” of which Peter writes (1 Peter 1:8). 

Easter Sunday is the day set aside for celebrating Jesus’ victory over death. But we also do that every Lord’s Day whenever we take these symbols of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said it: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). We remember his death, but we also remember that his death was not the period at the end of a sentence; it was just a comma, a pause, before something more—something far better. Let’s celebrate this year’s March Gladness: He is risen! 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Ministry Help Wanted

Recent postings: A director of campus ministry is needed at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Stillwater (Pa.) Christian Church is looking for both a lead pastor and a youth pastor. Lexington (Ohio) Church of Christ is seeking a full-time senior minister. Norwin Christian Church in North Huntingdon, Pa., needs a full-time worship minister. Lycoming Christian Church in Linden, Pa., is seeking a minister of children, youth, and young adults. Michigan City (Ind.) Christian Church needs a senior minister. And more . . .


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.