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Christ is Risen!

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s promised Messiah! Listen to and watch the Easter account from the Gospel of Luke:

You can read the story of Easter in Luke 24:1-8 (NIV) (as well as in the other three Gospels). Here’s Luke’s account:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words. — Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

All of us at Bible Gateway wish you a peaceful, and reflective Easter. Hallelujah—Christ is risen!

Also see the follow video reading of the Easter account from

Browse the Easter section in the Bible Gateway Store.

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Holy Week and Easter: The People, Places, and Events

Easter is the most significant event in the Christian church calendar. In fact, it’s fair to say that without the events of Easter, there wouldn’t be a Christian church, or a Christian faith. Easter is the reason the Christian church exists!

maundythursdayEaster commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his execution on a Roman cross. That moment of resurrection is the core of Easter—but the days leading up to Easter are key parts of the story, too. The interplay of prophecy, friendship, betrayal, and grace during the final days before Jesus’ crucifixion is full of insight into human nature—and God’s love.

Have you read the Easter story recently? You’ve probably heard or read many of the most famous episodes in the Easter account, but it’s truly a story meant to be read as a coherent whole. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to explore the Easter story.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Verses for Holy Week]

Where Can I Read the Easter Story?

The Easter story is told in four different places in the Bible. Each of the accounts (there’s one in each of the four Gospels) tells the same story but from a slightly different perspective. That means that you can get the Easter story from any one of these sources, but reading more than one (or all four) brings a lot of extra detail and nuance to light.

Here’s where you can find the Easter story in the Bible. Click any of the links below to read one of the Easter accounts:

There’s no single “best” Easter account in the Bible; each of the above accounts tells the complete story. (If you’re not sure where to start, go ahead and begin with Mark’s account.) All are short and easily readable—you can read any of them in a single setting.

Learn more about Easter with the resources of Bible Gateway Plus

How Can I Listen to the Easter Story?

Do you prefer to listen to the Easter story? Bible Gateway has a large library of audio Bibles and other resources—including several narrations and dramatizations of the Easter story. Here they are:

1. Easter in the Breathe Bible

The brand-new Breathe Bible Audio New Testament (Tyndale House, 2017) features an extremely high-quality dramatization of the Easter account as found in the book of Mark. With an all-star cast starring Kevin Sorbo, John Rhys-Davies, Josh Lucas, and others, the Breathe Bible audio experience is a great way to listen to this most famous of stories. Click to listen to the Easter story from Breathe Bible.

2. Witness the Bible: The Easter Story Dramatized

A radio theatre-style audio dramatization, with background music and different voices used for the various characters. It’s based on the 1599 Geneva Bible, with a rich vocabulary and a slightly nostalgic feel. Click to listen to the Easter story from Witness the Bible.

3. The Story of Jesus

The key moments of Jesus’ life and ministry into one audio presentation, with background music and sound effects which add to the cinematic effect. Click to listen to the Easter story from The Story of Jesus.

4. The Easter Story from The Message

This well-loved paraphrase of the Bible is one of the most listenable Bibles in our library. It’s a great choice for the Easter story. Click to listen to the Easter story from The Message.

These aren’t the only ways you can listen to the Easter story here at Bible Gateway. There are many audio Bibles in our library; browse through the available audio titles to see if your favorite Bible translation is available in audio. You can also access Bible audio while reading the Bible text itself—after looking up a Bible passage (for example, Mark 14-16), look for the audiobutton button above and to the right of the Bible text. If that button is present, then audio is available for the Bible you’re reading; simply click it to start the audio.

Lastly, you can also listen to these and other audio resources using the Bible Gateway App, available free for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. Click to get the App.

These are just some of the ways you can walk through the Easter story here at Bible Gateway. In the week to come, we’ll be talking in more detail about the individual events that together compromise the Easter narrative. But there’s no better way to prepare your heart and mind for the holiday than to simple read or listen through the Easter account using one of the links above.

Holy Week infographic from the NIV QuickView Bible, available in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

What Are the Major Events of Easter?

While hints, predictions, and echoes of Easter permeate all of the Bible, when most people talk about Easter, they are referring to the week—usually called Holy Week or Passion Week—that culminated with Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. Here are the key events of the Easter story, and where you can read them in the Bible.

You might find it helpful to refer to our timeline of Holy Week, which organizes the people and events of Easter into one chart. Click the image to enlarge it:

Click to enlarge this Holy Week timeline visualization

Palm Sunday

Read it in Matthew 21:1-11.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus arrived at Jerusalem riding on a donkey, where he was welcomed by cheering crowds. (The “Palm” in “Palm Sunday” refers to the tree branches that the crowds used to make a path for Jesus.) His arrival—often called the Triumphal Entry—fulfilled a prophecy by the Old Testament prophet Zechariah about the Messiah’s appearance in Jerusalem. To anyone with a knowledge of Jewish scripture, this identification of Jesus as the Messiah would have been clear.

Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday

Read it in Matthew 21:12-25:13.

On these two days, Jesus made a number of appearances and addresses, most famously to “cleanse” the temple of money changers and merchants who had set up business in God’s house. Jesus also appeared at the temple courts to debate the priests and community leaders.

Holy Wednesday

Read it in Matthew 26:14-16.

Also called Spy Wednesday, Great Wednesday, or Good Wednesday, this day is marked by the decision of Judas Iscariot—one of Jesus’ disciples—to betray Jesus to the authorities in exchange for thirty silver coins.

Maundy Thursday

Read it in Matthew 26:17-46.

This day saw the beginning of a sequence of rapidly-unfolding events that would lead to Jesus’ crucfixion. On this day, Jesus gathered with his disciples to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. During this celebration, commonly called the Last Supper because it was Jesus’ final meal before his arrest and death, Jesus established the practice of communion which churches around the world continue to celebrate today.

After this communal meal, Jesus and his disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. When his disciples were unable to stay awake, Jesus famously noted that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus himself prayed so intensely that he “sweat drops of blood.” This day closed with Jesus’ announcement to his disciples that his betrayal was at hand.

Good Friday

Read it in Matthew 26:14-27:66.

On the very eventful Good Friday, Jesus was betrayed by his disciple Judas and arrested, then hauled before several different authorities—first the Jewish religious leaders, then the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Sentenced to death, Jesus was crucified alongside two criminals. Upon his death, he was buried in a nearby tomb.

Easter Sunday

Read it in Matthew 28:1-10.

This is it—the culmination of all the drama of Holy Week. On Easter Sunday (appropriately known as Resurrection Sunday), Jesus rose from the dead and, in the days to come, appeared to his astonished followers to tell them the good news: the power of sin and death was broken, and all who believed could find forgiveness and be made right with God.

Questions About Easter

No doubt about it, the Bible’s Easter accounts make some bold assertions, and believers and skeptics alike have pored over its details for centuries. Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about Easter; click on the questions to read an in-depth answer to each.

  1. Is Easter based on a pagan holiday?
  2. Did the early Christian church make up the events of Easter?
  3. Was the story of Jesus’ resurrection stolen from mythology?
  4. Do the four gospel accounts of Easter in the Bible contradict each other?

Exploring Easter Further with Bible Gateway Plus

Learn more about Easter with the resources of Bible Gateway Plus

If you’ve upgraded to Bible Gateway Plus, you have access to many additional ways to study and explore the story of Easter! Here are four specific resources, available to Plus members, that will help you dig deeper into this remarkable account:

  1. Troubled by questions about the reliability of the Gospel accounts? The Case for Christ Study Bible asks and answers over a dozen tough apologetics questions about Matthew's account of the crucifixion.
  2. Why was Jesus offered "wine and gall" while he was on the cross? Why was "blood money" not allowed in the temple treasury? The NIV Quest Study Bible delves into all the little details of the Easter story.
  3. Do you know the entire cast of the Easter story? The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters has useful profiles of everyone involved, from Barabbas to Zebedee.
  4. Looking for the ultimate guide to the Easter account? The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary walks through every verse, with over 30 detailed entries on Matthew 27 alone.

Upgrading to Bible Gateway Plus unlocks these and dozens of other digital study Bibles, commentaries, and reference books, all of them seamlessly integrated into your online Bible reading! Try it free for 30 days and see what a difference it makes in your reading and study of God’s Word.

Watch These Video Discussions on the Importance and Ways of Feasting on the Scriptures

Institute for Bible Reading

The Institute for Bible Reading (IFBR) (@Read_Well) exists to provide tools and frameworks that fundamentally change the way people read the Bible so it can achieve its mission and become the story that defines abundant living.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Learning to Read the Bible Well: An Interview with Glenn Paauw]

During the last several weeks, Bible Gateway has partnered with IFBR on a series of brief Facebook Live video events intended to help you “Journey Toward Better Bible Reading.” If you missed seeing these discussions on Facebook, watch them here:

Discussion One: Why We Should Read Whole Books of the Bible

Why is it helpful to read the books of the Bible in their entirety, rather than reading only small snippets or single verses?

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post and watch the video, Two Simple Ways to Make Your Bible Reading Easier]

Discussion Two: Reading the Bible as One Story

The Bible is a collection of many different ancient texts, representing many different literary genres and historical contexts. Is it possible to read such a diverse book as a single, coherent story? How does doing so affect our understanding of God’s story?

[See the Bible reference resources available on Bible Gateway. Also learn about upgrading your Bible Gateway experience with Bible Gateway Plus.]

Discussion Three: Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center

What does it mean when we say that Jesus is at the “center” of the Bible? How do we go about recognizing the presence of Jesus as we read?

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog posts, The Jesus Storybook Bible: An Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones and The Jesus Bible Debuts at Passion 2017 Conference]

Discussion Four: Reading the Bible Together

Personal devotions & quiet times are relatively recent innovations in the practice of reading the Bible. What is the value in reading the Bible communally? What are the rewards of reading the Bible together with friends and family.

[See the Bible Engagement section on Bible Gateway]

Series Introduction

What are the practical, simple steps for you to take toward better Bible reading?

Buy your copy of Saving the Bible from Ourselves in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, Glenn Paauw’s book Saving the Bible from Ourselves: Learning to Read and Live the Bible Well (InterVarsity Press, 2016) is a natural next step. It goes into more detail about this and other topics related to healthy Bible reading. Many of the ideas in this video discussion series are inspired by Paauw’s book.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Learning to Read the Bible Well: An Interview with Glenn Paauw]

For future Facebook Live discussions, go to Bible Gateway’s Facebook page, then “Like” and “Follow” us. After that, do the same with the Institute for Bible Reading page. Make sure that underneath the Following tabs on both pages, Notifications are checked “On.”

If you believe Bible reading is important for your life and you’d like to do it better, upgrade your Bible Gateway experience by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus, where you’ll have access to many additional ways to study and explore the Bible. See what a difference it makes in your reading and study of God’s Word!


The Jesus Storybook Bible: An Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones

Sally Lloyd-JonesThe Jesus Storybook Bible has reached a milestone of two million copies sold. A Bible like no other, it invites children (and adults) to join in the greatest of all adventures: to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their own story too!

Bible Gateway interviewed New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones (@sallylloydjones) about her book, The Jesus Storybook Bible (Zonderkidz).

The The Jesus Storybook Bible is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. What made you decide to publish this award winning storybook Bible?

Buy your copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, Special Edition in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Sally Lloyd-Jones: I wanted children to know that God loves them—no matter what.

I grew up thinking the Bible was this book of rules to keep and heroes to copy. But I knew I wasn’t good enough to keep all the rules. And then those heroes—we used to sing that chorus, “Dare to be a Daniel!” But I knew I never could dare to be a Daniel—I was terrified of being thrown to lions. I couldn’t ever be that brave.

So it left me with the sense that God must not love me because I wasn’t being good enough (keeping the rules) or being brave enough (like Daniel or David).

Click to buy your copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible in the Bible Gateway Store

So I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible because I wanted children to know the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s about God and what he has done. It’s the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It’s a Love Story. It’s an Adventure Story. And at the center of the story is a baby—the child upon whom everything would depend. And every single story in the Bible whispers his name.

What makes The Jesus Storybook Bible unique?

Click to buy your copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition with CDs in the Bible Gateway Store

Sally Lloyd-Jones: The Jesus Storybook Bible captures the entire plot-line of the Bible. That’s something that can be hard—even as adults—to grasp.

We read the Bible piecemeal, we hear sermons, we study passages, but rarely do we sit down and hear the entire story of the Bible. And that seemed to be especially true of children’s Bible storybooks.

And when you lose the story that’s running like a golden stream underneath all the other stories, you’re left with the idea that the Bible is a collection of random-seeming stories about various Bible characters that we’re supposed to learn lessons from (almost like an Aesop’s Fables). And a book of rules that God wants us to keep so he will love us.

And we lose the glorious truth of the Bible that we were loved before even the beginning of time. That God had a plan. That no matter what, he would never stop loving us. And that one day long ago in Bethlehem, God stepped out of Heaven and came down to rescue us.

For individuals who’ve never read the Bible, what makes The Jesus Storybook Bible so approachable?

Click to buy your copy of Biblia Para Niños: Historias de Jesús, Bilingüe in the Bible Gateway Store

Sally Lloyd-Jones: The Jesus Storybook Bible is the story of the Bible in its most distilled form. The Bible is one story—it’s the story of God who loves his children and comes to rescue them. So by reading The Jesus Storybook Bible you’re getting a kind of road map. So that when you come to read the actual Bible you have a lay of the land. And you come to the Bible knowing that it’s not mostly a book about you and what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s most of all a story. It’s this wonderful love story—about a God who loves his children with a wonderful, never-stopping-never-giving-up-unbreaking-always-and-forever love.

The Jesus Storybook Bible was written for children, but adults love it just the same. Why do you think that is?

Click to buy your copy of Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit Handouts, Old Testament in the Bible Gateway Store

Sally Lloyd-Jones: If you write for children with respect and treat them with dignity—you’ll capture the adults as well. Children deserve nothing but our very best. Nothing but excellence will do for the young, because the responsibility is greater. We write up for children, never down.

C. S. Lewis said it best: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” He also said: “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”

Click to buy your copy of The Story of God's Love for You in the Bible Gateway Store

We all know this is true. The Chronicles of Narnia. Winnie-The-Pooh. They’re wonderful whatever age you are!

And, of course, Jesus himself treated children with great dignity and respect. When Jesus was teaching his disciples—who did he call to stand there to help him teach? He called a little child.

“Jesus called a little child to stand among them. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ’unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:2-4).

Buy your copy of Found: Psalm 23 in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

How has writing The Jesus Storybook Bible personally affected your life?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And it has brought some of the most tremendous, incredible blessings. So I’m so grateful.

When I was writing The Jesus Storybook Bible, it just so happened that I was writing the passion stories just exactly during Holy Week. That was profound. To have been building up to this moment as I wrote—I caught a glimpse of how all of history, all of the Old Testament, all of the generations, all of the waiting and longing of God’s children for their Rescuer—it was all culminating here, not on a throne or an army—but on the cross. A man dying in weakness—and rescuing the whole world.

Buy your copy of Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

It is so beautiful.

No wonder the Bible says even angels never tire of and long to gaze at this beautiful story of rescue (1 Peter 1:12).

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Cor 1:25).

Over the past 10 years, have you heard from readers who share stories about how The Jesus Storybook Bible has affected their spiritual lives and ministries?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: All kinds of people are reading the book we never imagined—pastors are using it to help them preach, parents and couples are using it as their devotions, college students are using it for their Bible studies, theologians are teaching from it (it’s even a set text at a college). It was used as the text for weekly Bible study for Japanese businessmen; by women in a high security prison. Autistic children love it. Alzheimer patients love it. It’s being used in old people’s homes. A charity gives it as a gift for parents with babies in the NICU. It’s wonderful to see the ways God is using this book.

You have an extensive musical background. How did this help you in writing The Jesus Storybook Bible?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: [Laughter] I actually don’t have a musical background (aside from learning piano as a child)—but I do have many very gifted musician friends and so I get to seem as if I do! (And right now I’m touring around with Ellie Holcomb and Amy Grant and going on a tour bus and everything! So I’m doing a rather good job of pretending! We’re celebrating art and friendship and faith—and the 10th anniversary of The Jesus Storybook Bible. And rather than me singing—everyone will be relieved to hear—I’m sharing stories and reading—and sharing in particular how the book truly began, years ago in Africa. It’s been wonderful to trace the story God has been writing in all of our lives—and worship him together.)

But seriously, you hit on something we’ve discovered. Why the connection with musicians? I think it’s because in the end we’re doing very similar things—we’re telling stories, we’re using poetic, lyrical language, and we’re distilling stories down into their simplest form. We’re both telling a story in two languages—word and music for them; and word and image for me.

It’s a wonderful surprise that makes total sense at the same time.

Do you feel the music and theology go hand in hand? If so, why?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: Absolutely. I think it was J. I. Packer who said one of my favorite things—that all true theology should lead to doxology. Truly looking at God should lead us to sing to our God, to his Glory, for all he has done. So they’re made for each other! And this is something that makes the tour so special—we get to burst out into song as we share the stories of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

The talented illustrator, Jago, worked with you in on The Jesus Storybook Bible, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, The Story of God’s Love for You, and has collaborated with you once again for your new board book Found: Psalm 23. How would you describe your artistic collaboration with Jago? What can you tell us about how you chose the color and design for the cover of The Jesus Storybook Bible?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: A picture book is a story told in two languages—word and image. And the illustration is the front door of the book. Without Jago’s illustrations the book would never have reached the people it has. I’m so deeply grateful. The other thing to say is, in a successful picture book, you always want the voice of the text to match the voice of the art; so that it seems as if the same person writing is the one illustrating and vice versa. I think that’s what Jago and I have.

Jago is wonderful to work with. He’s a master at what he does and at the same time open to receiving feedback. And it’s that humility that makes for the best book. Nothing gets in the way of the story. When we’re about telling the best possible story, making the best possible book—we’re thinking about the reader, rather than about our egos. And then we serve the story. Not the other way ’round. So I can’t say enough good things about Jago!

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: I love it. I even have my mum using it on her new iPhone. We love that you can listen too. We have a favorite in our family—David Suchet’s reading of the NIV UK Bible version. He was the one who narrated The Jesus Storybook Bible for audio (and the animations too) so we’re huge fans.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Sally Lloyd-Jones: Thank you for having me on.

And maybe I’ll just end by sharing this favorite story about the great theologian, Karl Barth. He was asked at the end of his life to sum up his theology and learning in his long career. Without even pausing he said: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

Bio: Sally Lloyd-Jones is a New York Times bestselling writer for children. She’s the author of the ALA notable The Jesus Storybook Bible, as well as Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, winner of the ECPA Inspirational Book award (a children’s book winning in the adult category). She’s written many picture books for children, such as the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller How to Be a Baby: By Me, the Big Sister and Song of the Stars and Baby Wren and the Great Gift. She’s on tour with Amy Grant and Ellie Holcombe and tickets still available. Sally was born and raised in Africa, schooled in England, and now lives in New York City. She can be found at www.sallylloyd-jones.com.

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Staying Rich

by David Green

I realize that running a billion dollar company doesn’t exactly make me just one of the guys from a purely financial standpoint. Money tends to separate us in our culture, and that’s unfortunate because I’m just like you. I get up every day, spend time with God, kiss my wife, eat some breakfast, and go to work.

I’m just a man. I started my career working retail, stocking shelves. I got married and started a family. I’ve lost sleep wondering about the future of my wife and kids. Now I’m entering that area of the baton exchange, and I want to do it well. I want us all to do it well. I want my grandchildren to grow up understanding that generosity begins with an attitude that extends into every aspect of life, not just money. I want them to understand that today begins their legacy. Because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that true wealth encompasses all of life.

That’s the big idea. I believe we can chart a course for our lives and our families that allows us to think beyond one generation. We can outline our vision, mission, and values. And we can live that out through our generosity. These ideas will allow us to stay rich for generations—not just in a monetary sense but in a values sense.

Some of you reading this are standing in shoes similar to my own. You are nearing the end of your life, wondering how to finish well and leave a legacy that will bless your family and those they interact with for generations to come. Some of you are just starting out in life, taking your first steps toward those dreams and plans.

Whether you’re at the end or the beginning of life, I want to challenge you to do three things:

  1. Work with all your heart, for God and not for men.
  2. Hold those plans lightly, because you really have no idea what the Lord has in store.
  3. Consider now what you want your legacy to be. It is not too early to begin.

The decisions you make today will affect the legacy you leave behind. Whether you are a young business man who has found himself encountering what the world sees as success both in career and family life, or a young woman who recently graduated and has no idea what is in front of you, today is the right day to make your decisions in light of the truth that God owns it all. Live your life in this world while investing your wealth in the next.

Only One Life

When I was growing up, we did not have much artwork in our house. Money was tight, and our family got along with just the basics of life. Knicknacks, frills, and family photos were not to be found in our simple home. But there was one plaque on the wall I have never forgotten. It was a short poem:

Only one life
’Twill soon be past
Only what’s done
For Christ will last.

In my teen years and for quite a few years into my adulthood, the words of that poem stirred up guilt inside me whenever I remembered them. Assuming that “what’s done for Christ” meant work done as a pastor with his flock, as an evangelist on the street corner, or as a missionary to remote tribes in Africa, I felt defeated because I knew those were things I could not do. Not until my late thirties did I discover the joy of giving to God’s work and come to realize its lasting value.

Until recently, I had no idea that those lines were actually part of a longer poem with a very interesting story. It was written by the son of a wealthy British family, Charles Thomas (C. T.) Studd, who lived from 1860 to 1931. His father had made a fortune producing indigo dye in India. Charles and his brothers attended the best schools England could offer, first Eaton and then Cambridge, where Charles became, as some have called him, the Michael Jordan of cricket. Charles represented his country on the national cricket team and became a household name in Britain. He knew that when he turned twenty-five years old, he would inherit a large sum—some $25 million in today’s dollars—from his father’s estate.

Yet by that time, God had touched his heart and called him to service overseas. He started out in China, where he married a young Irish woman of like mind. Together, they gave away their entire portion of the Studd fortune to such ministries as George Müller’s orphanage, D. L. Moody’s Bible school in Chicago, the China Inland Mission, and the Salvation Army. From that point on, they trusted God to supply their needs.

Ten years of work in China were followed by six years in India, where Studd’s father had become rich. C.T.’s health was not the greatest by then, and neither was his wife’s. After India, he pressed on for another twenty-one years in the heart of Africa until he died and was buried there at age seventy. His passion was to share the gospel with those who had never heard of Christ.

C. T. Studd was a man who did not let family money distract him from what was truly important in life. History tells us that his children caught his values system. Three of his daughters married Christian leaders. Some two thousand Congolese showed up for his funeral in July 1931.

I will never be the speaker and writer he was, but I am just as committed to the goals he exemplified. Of the various scriptures under the plexiglas on my desk, this is perhaps the most compelling in my heart and mind: “This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth” (1 Tim. 2:7–8, The Message).

I hope they put that verse on my tombstone. Through the efforts of the company God has allowed us to build, I want as many people as possible to come to know Christ as Savior. Fortunately, if God blesses the values and financial arrangements that I’ve described in my book Giving It All Away . . . and Getting It All Back Again, then there is no reason my work will not go on long after I’m gone.

I can think of nothing that would make me happier.

________

Taken from Giving It All Away . . . and Getting It All Back Again by David Green with Bill High, Copyright © 2017 by David Green. Used by permission of Zondervan. Click here to learn more about this title.

In this book, self-made billionaire David Green, founder of America’s craft store giant Hobby Lobby tells the secrets he’s learned in a life that started humble, stayed faithful, gave continually, and is leaving a lasting legacy.

Green tells the story of caring for the small things and starting Hobby Lobby in their garage. He shares the difference between the worlds of “having and hoarding” and a world of “giving and generosity,” the principle of working for God and not for men, and that now is not too soon to consider what you want your legacy to be.

Green sees the life of giving as a life of adventure. But it’s a life that pays the best rewards personally, offers a powerful legacy to your family, and changes those you touch.

David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby, the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world. He is soft-spoken, passionate about his faith, and dedicated to his family.

In 1970 David Green borrowed $600.00 to buy a molding chopper, set up shop in his garage at home, and started making miniature wooden picture frames. As of 2015, Hobby Lobby employs over 32,000 people, operates 600 stores in forty-seven states, and grosses 3.6 billion dollars a year.

David & his wife Barbara are the proud parents of two sons and one daughter, grandparents to ten, and great grandparents to eight.

Bill High practiced law for 12 years before becoming the CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. His mission is to change the way people think about generosity and their practice of it. He is married to Brooke and they have four children, two son-in-laws, and one grandchild.

__________

Want More?

Get the first 3 chapters of David Green’s new book Giving It All Away … And Getting It All Back Again, along with the exclusive article “Five Keys to Building a Family Legacy” by David Green.

LEARN MORE

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The Bible Verses of Easter Week

What follows is a day-by-day biblical account of the time leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, assembled by Russ Ramsey (@russramsey), assistant pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee. This timeline reflects one possible breakdown of the events of the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry, based on the author’s best synthesis of the four Gospel accounts. Use this guide to lead you through Scripture reading this week.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Holy Week and Easter: The People, Places, and Events]

Palm Sunday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:9-19.)

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem perched up on a colt on Palm Sunday, it was the first time since raising Lazarus from the dead that He’d shown His face in the city. The story of Lazarus’ resurrection had circulated so that even those who only heard about it later regarded Jesus as a celebrity. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus. They went out to meet Him and received Him like a King, because they heard He had done this (John 12:18).

Jesus said Lazarus’ death would end in the faith of many, and in the “glory of God—that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). But the glory He had in mind was even more glorious than His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In fact, He wasn’t referring to the glory these people gave Him at all. Lazarus’ resurrection would steel the resolve of the religious leaders to hand Jesus over to a death He would freely accept—a death He would conquer. That was the glory He meant. As He rode into Jerusalem, the people cried, “Your King is coming!” They praised His victory over Lazarus’ death. But the irony was that He wasn’t coming to claim His crown on account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection, but on account of His own.

Monday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matthew 21:12-22, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48.)

If Jerusalem was a beehive, with His triumphal entry the day before, Jesus had hit it with a stick and you could hear the buzz grow as the anger within got organized. With that kingly arrival, He made a strong declaration about His authority over all the conventions of man.

On Monday, He returns for more, this time to declare the failure of His own people to live up to the covenantal mandate God had given them to be a blessing to the world. Much of what the Gospels tell us about Monday centers on the theme of Jesus’ authority—both over the created world and in His right to pass judgment over it. Everything Jesus did He did with authority. So when He woke His disciples Monday saying He wanted go back into Jerusalem to teach, as risky as it sounded it wasn’t surprising. But everyone sensed something stirring, as if Jesus had rounded a corner and His end was coming fast. He was a marked man.

Tuesday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 21:23-26:5, Mark 11:27-14:2, Luke 20:1-22:2, John 12:37-50.)

If Monday’s arrival in the temple was marked by Jesus’ all inclusive, living parable of cleansing God’s house, Tuesday’s entrance is marked by a direct, verbal confrontation with the appointed leadership. After Jesus makes the point that He refuses to regard these leaders as having any authority over Him, He elects to spend the rest of the day right there in the temple so that He might teach the people the word of God. But Tuesday afternoon would be the last time Jesus would publicly teach in the temple as a free man. His words on this day would be His closing argument—His manifesto.

When Jesus left the temple that Tuesday, “the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him” (Mark 14:1). But they couldn’t take His life from Him solely on the strength of the charges they meant to bring—not if He defended Himself. But He would not. Instead, by His silence, He’d offer up His life for a world of blasphemers and traitors and liars who so desperately needed to be upset. This was what He had come to do, and as He left the temple that Tuesday afternoon, He knew He would do it soon.

Wednesday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 26:6-16, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6.)

The past several days have been a rush of tension and anger for Jesus’ opponents and of unflinching resolve for Jesus. Words have been His currency, and He has spent piles of them. But on the Wednesday before His death, Jesus was still.

He was in the home of Simon the Leper, a man known by what was wrong with him. During their meal together, Mary of Bethany, Lazarus’ sister (John 12:3), came to Jesus with an alabaster flask of perfume. She had been saving this perfume, worth a year’s wages, for this very occasion (John 12:7). She began to pour the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, which required breaking open its container (Mark 14:3). Like popping the cork on a $20,000 bottle of champagne, this was a very intentional act. She was there to deliberately offer Jesus everything she had. By giving to Jesus her most valuable possession, she was expressing that she knew what He was about to give of Himself was for her.

What Mary did was beautiful and Jesus wanted everyone to know it. She was preparing Him for burial. There was honor and kindness in her gesture. He returned the honor by saying history would never forget her act of beauty. And we haven’t.

Thursday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 26:17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-71, John 13:1-18:27.)

The Thursday prior to Jesus’ crucifixion fills many pages in Scripture. It begins with John and Peter securing the upper room. There, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, explaining He was there to make them clean.

As they begin to eat, Jesus announces one of them is about to betray Him. Each wonders if He means them. Then He dispatches Judas to do what he intends.

During this last supper, Jesus sets apart the Passover bread and cup and reassigns—or better, perfects—their meaning. The bread is His Body. The cup, His blood. This meal will no longer primarily remind them of God’s deliverance from the external tyranny of Pharaoh, but rather from the internal tyranny of their own guilt and sin against God.

Jesus prays for these His friends and those who will come to know Christ through them—that His Father would make them one (John 17). Then Jesus and His friends leave for the Mount of Olives to pray (Mark 14:33). But He isn’t there only to pray. He is also there to wait. Soon a line of torches snake their way toward Him in the darkness. This is what He has been waiting for.

Good Friday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 27:1-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 23:1-56, John 18:28-19:42.)

On Thursday night in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested—betrayed by one of His own disciples and abandoned by the others. The Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin called for secret trials in the dead of night, and the verdict handed down was that Jesus would be crucified. This was something the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, would have to execute. And reluctantly, he did.

After a severe beating, Jesus was nailed to a cross where He’d remain for six hours until dead. Never before or since had more been lost and gained at the same time as at Jesus’ crucifixion. The world gained the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But for those present, either the significance of the moment was lost on them or their hearts broke because the One they believed to be the Savior of the world was dying at the hands of Rome. They couldn’t stop it and they didn’t realize it was for them. They hoped in Him, and though He had told them He would suffer many things and rise three days later (Mark 8:31), how could they have possibly known this was what He meant?

Saturday—The Forgotten Day

(For the full account of the events of this day as found in the Gospels, see Matt 27:62-66.)

The Saturday following Jesus’ crucifixion might be the most unique and overlooked day in the history of the world—the day between Jesus’ death and His resurrection. Less is written about this day than any other in the scope of this week. Yet what makes it so unique is that this is the only full day in history where the body of the crucified Christ lay buried in a cave.

The day before, He was crucified. The following day He rises from the grave. But what about Saturday? Though we may not make much of this day, when we look at the few verses the Gospels give us accounting for it, we find this was by no means a forgotten day to the Chief Priests who had handed Jesus over to death. During His earthly ministry, Jesus said many times that He would die in Jerusalem at the hands of the Chief Priests, but on the third day rise again (Matt 12:40, Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34).

Of course, the Chief Priests scoffed at this. But they didn’t forget it. On the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Jesus’ prediction preoccupied their thoughts such that they simply couldn’t leave it alone. Matthew 27:62-66 tells us the strange story of how they couldn’t seem to simply dismiss out of hand the possibility that Jesus might have known something they didn’t.

Resurrection Sunday

(For the full account of the events of this day, see Matt 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-53, John 20:1-21:25.)

Early on this Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ friends set out to His grave to anoint the body of their friend and teacher. But when they arrived, they were greeted by what one of the Gospel writers calls “a man dressed in lightning.” He tells them Jesus is not there, as He said. He is risen.

In the week leading up to His death, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, went out to meet the wolves of judgment, sin and death, and He did so with all authority. One might wonder, what good has it ever done anyone to die for some cause? This is the glorious beauty of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t die as a martyr for a cause. He was never in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was never at the mercy of anyone. He lived, died and was buried because He meant to be.

No one took His life from Him. He laid it down. For who? For His flock, His people. And He laid it down only to take it up again. The point of the cross was not to die, but to die and rise again, defeating the prowling wolves of sin and death themselves. He said, “I have authority to lay my life down, and I have authority to take it up again.” And this is just what he did. Easter says of Jesus, “He meant it! He meant to lay down His life for you. And as sure as he has taken it up again, he knows you.”


This post originally appeared at the Christ Presbyterian blog. © 2017 Christ Presbyterian Church. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Bio: Russ Ramsey (Covenant Theological Seminary, MDiv, ThM) is assistant pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN. He’s the author of Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death, Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative.

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Feasting on the Scriptures, Episode 3: Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center

The Bible is a collection of many different ancient texts, representing many different literary genres and historical contexts. Is it possible to recognize and follow a single concept through such a long and diverse text? What does it mean when we say that Jesus is at the “center” of the Bible—and how do we go about recognizing the presence of Jesus as we read?

Those are the big questions addressed in the third episode of “Feasting on the Scriptures,” our ongoing Facebook Live discussion series with the Institute for Bible Reading. You can watch episode 3, “Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center,” on our Facebook page, or right here:

You don’t need to have watched episodes 1 and 2 to appreciate episode 3, but if you missed them, you can watch them here:

Follow our Facebook page so you’ll be alerted when we broadcast the next episode later this week!

The Forty Days Between Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension: An Interview with D. Michael MacKinnon

D. Michael MacKinnonA 79-year-old frail man tells a story to his granddaughter that he’s kept a secret for decades due to his fear. At the age of nine, he was an orphan living on the street in Jerusalem. He had an encounter with a bloody and beaten man who was forced to drag a heavy timber cross for his own crucifixion. Little did he know at the time he was witnessing first-hand the last 40 days Jesus walked the earth.

Bible Gateway interviewed D. Michael MacKinnon about his book, The Forty Days: A Vision of Christ’s Lost Weeks (Post Hill Press—Simon & Schuster, 2017).

Buy your copy of The Forty Days in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Explain how your childhood forged the impetus for this novel.

D. Michael MacKinnon: Unfortunately, as a child, I grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless. By the time I was 17 years of age, we had been evicted from 34 homes. Most of those homes having no heat or electricity.

When I was five years of age, I got a little plastic nativity scene. I was drawn to it like nothing before. The little baby Jesus in that plastic nativity scene became my best friend in life and I talked to him every day. At five years of age, we were being evicted out of our home and they found me hiding in a closet clutching my baby Jesus nativity scene.

Often, when we were evicted, we were taken in by my grandparents. It was at their home as a young child that I discovered my grandmother’s Bible. As soon as I did, I began to read it to learn more about baby Jesus and more about Christianity.

When did you finally write the novel and under what circumstances?

D. Michael MacKinnon: Over the last decade or more, once or twice a year for just a second or two at a time, I’d have a flash out of nowhere in my mind saying: “The Forty Days. There is a powerful story there. Tell it.”

Not really knowing what to make of it, I just ignored them and went on with my life. About five years ago, my wife walked into my home office and saw a yellow-sticky up on the wall above my desk with just the words THE FORTY DAYS written on it.

She asked me what it was and what it meant.

I turned to her and answered: “I don’t really know.”

Then, just over a year ago, while sitting in my home office working on another project, the entire book flooded into my head in a few minutes. I then sat at my desk for the next ten hours or so and wrote the book exactly as it came into my head that day.

Over the next few months, I met with a number of ministers and each told me it was my obligation to tell the backstory of how this book came to me.

What is the setting of the story?

D. Michael MacKinnon: The setting takes place 70 years after the resurrection of Jesus. In a poor, one-room home built from stone, mud, and straw home just outside of Jerusalem, a frail old man tells his granddaughter and her doubting husband of a miraculous secret he kept to himself for decades out of fear. He tells them that as an orphaned nine-year-old street urchin, he had an amazing interaction with a “bloody and beaten man” being forced to drag a heavy timber cross for his own crucifixion. The old man then finally reveals what he witnessed during the 40 days after the resurrection.

Describe the grandfather, the book’s main character.

D. Michael MacKinnon: The grandfather is now 79 years of age and feels his time is near. His life was one of great loss and great tragedy, but because of that divine interaction 70 years before, his faith and belief in Jesus Christ increases with each passing day. His granddaughter is the light of his mortal life and he feels now is the time to tell her and her shepherd husband of his first person encounter with Jesus and his teachings.

The grandfather describes how, as a boy, he encountered the wounded Jesus on his way to being crucified and then his witnessing of Jesus’ death. What do you want your readers to experience in these scenes?

D. Michael MacKinnon: They know—but all of us need to be reminded from time to time—that Jesus loves us all and died for us all. As spelled out in the Bible: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

I want them to know that this was the ultimate sacrifice and we must honor him with our faith and our deeds every day of our mortal lives.

Explain how you’ve written the book to be an account through the eyes of a child of the events of Jesus’ life after his resurrection.

D. Michael MacKinnon: When the whole book flew into my head that day, the experiences of the little boy were the most overwhelming. I believed—and believe—that the little boy was really there. That he was real. That he witnessed the miracles of Jesus and was meant to tell his story. I truly do believe this was a vision, as personally, I know of no other explanation. As one minister told me: “Because of your horrible childhood, it is entirely possible that you were but a conduit to tell this beautiful and faith-filled story.”

Why was the grandfather afraid to tell his story for so many years and why did that fear end?

D. Michael MacKinnon: As the Bible teaches us: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The grandfather was an imperfect man. He had seen men before him who spoke of Jesus punished, beaten, and even put to death. He feared to speak the truth but when he did, he also came to realize, it was all part of his greater plan.

What portions of the Bible did you rely on in writing the book?

D. Michael MacKinnon: There were many powerful verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John which spoke directly to the crucifixion and the resurrection. All should be reread during this Easter season.

What do you want your readers to understand when they’ve finished reading The Forty Days, especially as we’re approaching Good Friday and Easter?

D. Michael MacKinnon: That in these uncertain and even dangerous times, faith is more important than ever. That it’s critically important that we share the divine teachings of Jesus with as many people as possible. I truly believe that’s why this little book came to me in the way it did. To shine a light on the 40d he walked the earth after his resurrection as witnessed through the joyful eyes of a little boy who was so deeply touched by his glory and love.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

D. Michael MacKinnon: Biblegateway.com is an invaluable resource for those looking to explore the Christian Bible. It should be visited regularly by those hoping to better understand the Bible, the Christian faith, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

D. Michael MacKinnon: Former US senator and former head of the Red Cross Elizabeth Dole told me she read the book in one sitting and that it was “one of the most powerful and inspirational books [she] had ever read.” She told me every Christian minister and clergy member should read the book and spread the word. She believes it’s a book that should be shared by all Christians because of Christ’s messages inside. She also felt it was very important for readers to know that I did not take a dime for the book and that, for me, the only thing you do with a book like this is to help a charity in his name.


Bio: D. Michael MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official. While at the White House he had the high honor to write for two Presidents. Additionally, he’s written for every major paper in the nation as well as appearing on all of the major television and cable networks as a political commentator. Often homeless as a child, at five years of age a little plastic replica of the baby Jesus touched him and changed his life forever.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of April 9, 2017

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Kentucky Puts Focus on Bible with New Laws, Executive Action
Kentucky Today

‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff Converts to Orthodox Christianity
CT

Holy Week Text Messages to Tell Story of Easter in New Bible Society Australia Campaign
Sight Magazine
Australia Bible Society: Easter Holy Text
Read Bible Gateway Blog post, Holy Week and Easter: The People, Places, and Events
Read Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Gateway “Holy Week” Infographic

Hong Kong Easter Exhibit Highlights the Truth of the Bible
CBN News
Read Chinese Bibles on Bible Gateway

Christians Remain World’s Largest Religious Group; But They’re Dying Out in Europe
FactTank

BBC Survey: Resurrection Did Not Happen, Say Quarter of Self-Identified Christians
BBC News

How Single Women Became an Unstoppable Force in Bible Translation
CT
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Translation Organizations

Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario Seeking Handler for $200K Bible
CBC News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Saint John’s Bible: A Work of Art

In Shrewsbury, New Jersey, a 300-Year-Old Bible Known for a Typo
Asbury Park Press

How One Wrong Letter Made This Bible Worth £6,000
Nottingham Post

Ancient Texts from Bible Go On Display in Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library
Belfast Telegraph
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

Kluge Center to Host Panel & Workshop On Scripture & Religious Belief in American History, May 4 & 5
Library of Congress

Children Enjoy Creating Bible Stories Exhibition in Barrow, UK
North-West Evening Mail

Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church, Georgia Sends Hundreds of Bibles to Underdeveloped Countries
On Common Ground News

Study: Worldwide Downward Trend in Restrictions on Religion Reversed
RNS

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Video: Reading the Bible as One Story

The second episode of our “Feasting on the Scriptures” live discussion series is complete! It focuses on the topic of reading the Bible as one coherent story. You can watch it on Facebook, or right here:

If you missed episode 1, click here to watch it. It’s not necessary to watch the first episode to appreciate the second.

We’ll be back next week, Monday, April 10 at 11 am EDT for episode 3 of this ongoing discussion with the Institute for Bible Reading! To make sure you’re notified when the next episode, “Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center,” goes live, follow Bible Gateway on Facebook!