Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen 1 Corinthians 15:22 for my devotion today. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
The cold hard fact is because we share in Adam’s sin, we will all die. That is a truth we cannot escape from. But Jesus, being the new Adam, became alive after his death. Thus Christ became the firstborn. He possesses a new life, a life we can all have. That, my dear friends, is Good News.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Blessed Savior, you live and reign in your kingdom. You have power in heaven and earth. You reign not for your glory, but for our eventual glory, life with you. Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done and continue to do. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen John 20:29 for today’s devotion. “Then Jesus told [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas had a problem. He was not with the other disciples on the first Easter. When they told him that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to them, he doubted their report. It was simply too good and amazing to be true.
Jesus answered Thomas’s doubt by appearing to him. He answers your doubt by blessing you for believing in the Savior you have not seen. Christianity involves believing in Jesus and believing, is putting your trust in something you do not see. That is the Bible’s definition of faith. The book of Hebrews says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
However, that does not mean that the Christian faith is blind faith. You don’t need to see Jesus to know that he is real. You can trust that what he promised and what his disciples witnessed is true. He is your Savior who rescued you from your sins and who rose from the dead to assure you of eternal life. Believe it and be blessed!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Blessed Savior, thank you for blessing me; even though I have not seen you directly as the Disciples did, I know that you have risen and are alive. Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen John 21:17, "Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You."
Peter had denied that he knew Jesus three times. After his resurrection, Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Peter knew what he had done that terrible night. He knew he had failed his Savior. Jesus needed to impress on Peter's mind that he was forgiven, not because Peter was sorry for what he had done, but because of Jesus' love for Peter. Peter no longer dared to make big promises as he had before, but he could honestly say that he loved Jesus. That is how it is with true faith.
Those who have decided or given their heart to the Lord, as people commonly say, believe strongly in the beginning that they are now on the safe side. They know, as Peter had, what they want and to whom they belong. As Peter did, they fall into some sin, effectively denying the Lord as Peter did. They live their lives under the burden of guilt, as Peter did.
Just as he did Peter, Jesus teaches us to forget thinking we are above falling into sin because of our faith in Jesus. We will fall into sin no matter how hard we try. So while we pay an earthly price for sin, we need to remember that Jesus still loves us. He died for us. He still forgives us. Go, bear the fruit of the Spirit.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord, you know everything about me. You know my weaknesses, how often I fall into sin. You know that I love you. I know that you love me, for you have told me in words recorded in the Bible that is so. Thank you, Jesus, for all you have done. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen John 20:24-25, "Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."
We all know the rest of the story, Thomas became a believer. But he had his doubts, just like the other disciples that Saturday and Sunday before Jesus showed himself to them. Doubt is a real thing. Think of a time in your life where you experienced doubt about something. Thomas had some genuine doubts about Jesus' resurrection, or at the very least what the disciples told him. He had to feel the holes in His Savior's side to believe that He had indeed risen! Jesus then showed Him in the natural what Thomas was doubting - Jesus disproved Thomas' doubts. He is Risen indeed - and when Thomas had the opportunity to feel the holes in Jesus' side - Thomas no longer doubted; he was completely and confidently convinced.
Because of this experience, Thomas went from being known as "Doubting Thomas" to a powerful man of God who crossed the seas to share the gospel worldwide. He even died as a martyr for his faith in Jesus. Today, I want you to know that it is okay to experience doubts, but I pray that your doubts will dissipate and that you will rest in the sureness of your faith in Jesus and that your doubts will be replaced with the power of confidence in Him and who He has called you to be!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Holy Spirit, shine your light of truth on my mind when I begin to doubt that your promises are sure. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen.
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen John 20:21,22, "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you. After saying this, he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"
After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples huddled in a room wondering about the resurrection sighting of their Lord. They were afraid of the Jews and perhaps even fearful that Jesus would return only as a ghost. The disciples felt surprised when Jesus made an appearance in their midst.
First, Jesus calmed them down with the words, 'Peace be with you.' Then he proved his resurrected reality: the physical, holes in his hands and feet, and the reality of being alive, breath. Only living things breathe.
The first words of the risen Savior are of freedom from fear. Go on your way, faithful ones. Share the good news that no one has to be afraid ever again. Death no longer has the final say. Just as Jesus gave the disciples peace and purpose through his words, so he gives you peace and purpose.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Holy Spirit, let the words of my mouth and my heart's meditations be a reflection of your peace and forgiveness in my life. Amen.
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen Luke 24:9 for the devotion today, Jesus is speaking. “It is I myself.”
While those words were spoken to the disciples that first Resurrection evening, they also speak to us. Each of us has to recognize Jesus, just as they did that evening, not that he was alive, but as our Lord and Savior. We need to understand, just as they did, without his death, we are doomed.
His death fulfilled the promise made by the angels at his birth. We are now at peace with God. We no longer have to fear death. We can now live our lives in fellowship with God and each other.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord, I pray you also will open our minds today so we can understand the Scriptures. You are the key to them. If we know them, we will know you, just as the disciples did as they studied the scriptures. Thank you for doing this for us so that we can live in peace with God and each other. In your holy name, I pray. Amen
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen Mark 16:7, "Go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."
Jesus' disciples needed to hear this good news of the resurrection more than anyone else. After all, their fall from grace had made the loudest crash. Regardless of what they deserved to be called, the angel did not call them "traitors," "cowards," or even "underachievers." After all that had happened, they were still called Jesus' "disciples." It's not because they'd merited the name. They were disciples because of His grace toward them.
The same is true for all of us. We have all given Jesus good reason to distance himself from us, to make a clean break from us and leave us behind. And we need so desperately to hear the good news of a living and gracious Savior, who in his mercy still rejoices to call us his disciples.
The empty tomb was evidence of promises kept; it was evidence of Jesus' divinity and victory over death. The empty tomb meant for them and us: a fresh start.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Thank you for sending me your Holy Spirit, living Savior, so that I may rejoice in the new life of Easter and live each day in your service and to your glory. In your holy name, I pray. Amen
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen Acts 24:3, "He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God."
The events of Easter morning came as a complete surprise. Confusion and commotion ruled as people ran back and forth to and from the tomb. Each of the witnesses had their own experiences in the course of events. Mary of Magdalene had her story to tell. Peter and John saw things differently. The other women at the tomb had not seen everything all at once. Each of them talked about their experience differently.
One thing they shared together that day was that they were all reluctant to believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead. We, too, without the help of the Holy Spirit, are reluctant to believe in Jesus' resurrection. They were convinced by reality and thus could say that Jesus was resurrected. We need to believe their words so that we, too, are convinced that Jesus is resurrected.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: I thank you, Lord Jesus, for having your disciple's doubts recorded so that I can know that even in their disbelief, they were convinced of your resurrection. Let me encounter you so that I, too, in times of doubt, know that you have risen from the dead. In your holy name, I pray. Amen
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen John 20:11-17, "Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
Mary was crying. Someone had taken away the body of Jesus. How was she going to finish preparing his body if she could not find him? Then Jesus spoke, and everything changed. In joy, she grabbed his feet. She was not going to let him go. Jesus gave her a message to give to the disciples. The message is critical for us today, for in his message, he says, He is ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Through Jesus' death, Jesus created a way for all sinners to be children of God. This is why he says, "My Father and your Father, My God and your God." We are joined with him through his death and resurrection. He is the first to go from death to life but will not be the last.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord, you called me by my name in my baptism. Teach me to recognize your voice so that I will distinguish it from all other voices, for it is your voice that allows me to know that you live. In your holy name, I pray. Amen
Since we are still celebrating our Savior rising from the dead, I have chosen Mark 16:3,4: “They asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”
The women had a question uppermost on their minds that morning: “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” You might bring a heart full of questions with you to this day. Will things ever get better? Will my job be something I can count on keeping? Will my marriage survive? Will my family be happy and prosperous? Will I outlive my savings? Will my health take a turn for the worse?
Jesus doesn’t give us answers to every question that weighs on our hearts—he wants us to entrust our unknown to him, after all. But his empty tomb does give us the one answer that rolls away our fear and puts all of our other questions into proper perspective. When questions fill your heart, remember that you have a Savior who is alive! He tells you, as he told his followers, “Don’t be afraid. It is I.”
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Lord Jesus, my life is filled with unknowns, and my heart is filled with questions. But you are my living Savior, powerful and capable, and so I entrust today and tomorrow into your capable hands. Calm my heart. Please assure me that you are ever near. And give me the strength to face each day with you leading the way. In your name, we pray. Amen.