Bible readings for Sunday, April 18, 2021

During the seven Sundays of Easter most of the First Readings come from the book of Acts; today is no exception.  The First Reading is recorded in Acts 3:11-21.  The context is that Peter and John were on their way to the Temple at the hour of prayer, 3:00 in the afternoon.  At one of the Temple gates a lame beggar asked them for help.  Peter responded that they had no money, but what they had they would give him – healing the man in the Name of Jesus!  And the man was healed.  His response?  He walked, leaped, and praised God!  And for the first time in his life, he entered the Temple precincts.  Obviously, this caused quite a stir among the people, and because of the attention the miracle caused, Peter proclaimed Jesus to them, calling them to repentance through Jesus.  

Let us also be about the work of the Lord, and when it causes attention, let us share Jesus with them.  One day Jesus will return, and let us bring others with us to the joy of heaven!

Holy Spirit, empower us to use the opportunities which are around us to share the Good News of Jesus, calling people to repentance and new life in Him.  Amen.

Today’s Psalm, 4:1-8, is a psalm of David.  Notice that the Psalm begins with David calling on the Lord to answer him because he is in great distress.  As we read the history of David in the Bible, we see that often there were people who were out to injure and kill him.  His response?  He would call out to the Lord for help, and the Lord would respond and rescue David.  Then David could live in safety.

Often in our lives there are those forces and powers of evil that seek to destroy us.  Let us, like David, call out to the Lord for help and rescue, and then trust as David did, a trust that enables us to dwell in safety.  Through Jesus’ death and resurrection those forces and powers of sin, death, and evil have been defeated, and Jesus will win the final victory.  Be at peace.

Holy Spirit, continue to make Jesus known to us each day, and increase our faith in Your faithfulness to keep us safe in Jesus each day and into eternity.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

Today’s Second Reading, 1 John 3:1-7, is a continuation of readings from 1 John.  In the letter, John is concerned with sin in his readers, and us, and he urges us who are in Christ to turn from sin and to live righteously, as Jesus is righteous.  Notice that when Jesus returns, we will be like Him, we will have the power of His resurrection fully in our lives, we will be sinless, and we will love as He has loved us.  What a hope to live for, and what a joy this Good News brings.

Holy Spirit, lead us daily to repentance and new life in Jesus.  Continue to work in our lives to turn us from sin, and when we sin, lead us to seek forgiveness and life in Jesus.  Conform us more and more into disciples of Jesus, knowing that one day we will be like Him when He returns at the end of time.  Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Luke 24:36-49.  Notice the confusion and fear of the disciples as they discuss the reports of Jesus’ resurrection, and then suddenly to have Him stand among them.   Who wouldn’t be frightened?  But Jesus didn’t appear for the purpose of frightening them, but to give them peace as the One Who is risen!  They were still confused and frightened, so Jesus showed them that He was not a ghost, or figment of their imaginations, or some apparition, but that He is truly Himself, and He is risen!  He has flesh and bones, and He ate in their presence.  

He then opened their minds to all the parts of what we call the Old Testament to those places that referred to Him.  He then gave them a mission: to proclaim His death and resurrection, and to call people to repentance in Him.  

Let us allow the Holy Spirit to open our ears and eyes of faith to hear and see Jesus in Word and Sacrament, and then let us be His disciples who call others to Him through repentance and forgiveness so that they can receive new life in Him.

Holy Spirit, the resurrection of Jesus is such wonderful news!  The greatest news of all!  He is risen!  Sin, death, and the devil are defeated!  Thanks be to God!  Empower us with Your presence so that we will believe this wonderful news each day, and send us out into the world proclaiming that Jesus is risen, and that in Him we can repent and be forgiven.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

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