When I was growing up, my father was a chaplain in the U.S. Army. Each Sunday after my Dad preached, I proudly stood by his side at the door as he shook hands with people who were leaving. I would count how many people came out the door, and then give him a report when we got home. I'll never forget the count one Easter at an Army post in Germany. On Palm Sunday I counted 175, but on Easter Sunday I counted 500! Dad said, "the regular folks were lost amongst the visitors." Then the Sunday after Easter, I counted 175 again. I didn't understand it then, and even today as a 50-year-old preacher I still don't understand it-- if people really believe Jesus arose from the dead, then why don't they rise from the bed on more Sundays than just Easter to come to church?
A church had on its marquee the week before Palm Sunday: "Beat the Easter rush. Come to church this Sunday!"
I heard a story that makes the same point. It was Palm Sunday and, because of a sore throat, 5-year-old Johnny stayed home from church with a sitter. When the family returned home, they were carrying several palm branches. The boy asked what the branches were for.
"People held them over Jesus' head as He walked by," they explained.
"Wouldn't you know it," the boy fumed. "The one Sunday I don't go, He shows up!"
While this story is fictional, it teaches a truth. Jesus might just show up some Sunday when you least expect Him. Don't you want to be there when His presence is felt in power at your church?
The Bible says that one of the disciples, Thomas, was absent when Christ appeared to them on the evening of that first Easter, and Thomas missed seeing Jesus. Thankfully, he was there the next week when Christ appeared again, and he saw the Lord (John 20:19-29). So don't wait until Easter to worship; you never know who might show up this Sunday!
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers.