Bible Readings for Sunday 4/30/17

During the Sundays of Easter the First Readings are typically from the New Testament instead of the Old Testament. Today’s reading is from Acts 2:14a, 36-41. It includes part of the first Christian sermon delivered right after the giving of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus. Notice that Jesus is the center of Peter’s proclamation. Notice the call to Christian discipleship: repentance, Baptism, the reception of the Holy Spirit, and proclamation. Notice also that the Holy Spirit blessed Peter’s message, and the hearing about Jesus, and about 3,000 were added to the followers of Jesus. Let our message be centered, founded, and grounded in Jesus: Jesus changes hearts and adds believers.
Holy Spirit, inspire us to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus to those around us; bless our proclamation and bless their hearing so that more and more people follow Jesus alone as Lord and Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Psalm 116:1-14  The psalm for the 3rd Sunday of Easter is 116:1-14. This is a powerful psalm proclaiming God’s faithfulness to deliver the psalmist in his great affliction – the psalmist was at the point of death, but called out to the Lord, Who delivered him. The response of the psalmist? PRAISE.
This is a fitting psalm for the Easter season – Jesus is risen! He is delivered from death! By God’s grace through the gift of faith, we, too, are delivered from death. Let us rejoice!
Rescuing Lord, we praise You that You delivered the psalmist in his time of need. We praise You that You raised Jesus from the dead. And we praise You that in Jesus we, too, will be raised from the dead to everlasting life in Your presence. Keep us in faith. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading, 1 Peter 1:17-25, is a powerful reminder of how we have been redeemed – bought back by God – through the holy and precious blood of Jesus; nothing else was good enough to bring us back to God. As His redeemed people, live the new life He gives each day, trusting in the steadfastness and eternity of God’s Word, His Word which has as its heart the proclamation of Jesus.
Redeeming God, we thank and praise You that You have redeemed us from sin, death, and the devil through the blood of Jesus. Open us up more and more to You so that we hear again the Gospel of Jesus and continue to grow in Him. In His Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel, Luke 24:13-35, is an account of Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to two of His followers. Notice the importance of the Holy Scriptures – how Jesus is the center of the Scriptures, and how Jesus is made known to the two in the breaking of the bread – which has Holy Communion overtones. Notice also the importance of the Christian community in this passage. This passage gives us a good model for discipleship.
Holy Spirit, speak to us through the Words of the Bible and through the words of other Christians so that we hear again all the things that pertain to Jesus, and open the eyes of faith to see Jesus as He gives Himself to us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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