In a typical Protestant worship service, we start with a prelude which tells people that the Worship Service is ready to begin. The postlude lets them know that the Worship Service is finished, and they can go home. In orchestral arrangements, my musical friends tell me that the overture is the introductory piece, while the finale tells us that the whole piece of music is coming to an end.

As I looked at the gospels, it seemed like the things that happened before Palm Sunday were a prelude on the calendar of Jesus and the things that happened after Easter Sunday were a postlude.

Matthew – prelude 1:1-20:34 – main body 21:1-28:15 – postlude 28:16-20

Mark – prelude 1:1- 10:52 – main body 11:1-16:13 – postlude 16:14-20

Luke – prelude 1:1-19:27 – main body 19:28-24:49 – postlude 24:50-53


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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta
LISTEN TO CRANSTON DEAN BAND
LISTEN TO JACKSON PINES

John prelude 1:1-12:11 – main body 12:12-20:31 – postlude 21:1-25

The evangelists set the greatest amount or the greatest concentration of chapters in one week – between Palm Sunday and Easter. Matthew wrote 7 out of 28 or ¼ of his chapters about Holy Week, Mark wrote 6 out of 16 or just over ⅓, Luke has 5 out of 24 or ⅕ of his chapters, and John wrote 8 out of 21 or more than ⅓. I do not in any way want to dismiss the prelude and the postlude (which happens often in some of our churches, much to the chagrin of the pianists and organists). But I want to highlight the fact that even the first chapters that tell the birth story are pointing towards the cross. At Christ’s presentation in the temple for his circumcision, Simon prophesies about the pain that his mother will undergo. Jesus himself is very specific about what will happen to him and where it will occur. If he has one consistent message, it is that he must go to Jerusalem where he will suffer and be crucified, but on the third day he will rise from the dead. His message never wavered, even though few believed in his resurrection before his death and one can argue that on Good Friday afternoon when he was crucified, there were no believers in his resurrection.

On Resurrection Sunday, one has to put all the things together – the word of prophecy, the message of Jesus, the empty tomb, and the living Jesus. In contrast with other resurrections in the Old and New Testament where the people who were raised from the dead would die again, Jesus rose from the dead no longer to die. He lives forever more. That is the postlude! The Risen Christ has ascended and we look forward to the day when He comes back and we will experience a resurrection similar to His.


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Avatar of George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...