The high priest and all his associates . . . arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people . . . “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” the high priest said . . . Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:17-21,28,29
“Go…and tell,” the angel told the apostles. That’s the Easter imperative—the Easter command. Jesus is alive! He’s risen from the dead. He has conquered death. Go and tell.
There is a part of us called the sinful nature that says, “Don’t go and tell.” Some people warn us that we should never talk about politics and religion. Sometimes, as in the Bible reading for today, even the authorities of the world forbid us to speak about the risen Christ. But through his angel messengers, God told the apostles, “Go…and tell.”
So why would we go and tell? We do it out of love for the Lord who told us to do so. But there is also another reason.
We live in a world where people are dying spiritually and eternally, and we have the only real antidote for death. Through faith in the risen Jesus, we can and will live eternally. In the risen Jesus, we have the prescription to living joyfully forever! Love for others will move us to go and tell them.
Yes, there will be some who will reject that truth, deny that possibility, and suggest that the notion of joyous everlasting life through Jesus and him alone is nothing but foolishness.
But God will bring others to faith, and they will thank you for sharing that life-saving message of the crucified and risen Christ. Then experience the wonder and joy of sharing that message with others. Yes, go and tell.
Dear Lord, you have saved me for a life of joy in heaven with you. Moved by your wondrous love, help me to go and tell others about it, too! Amen.
Jesus came and stood among them. Since those disciples had been through so much, Jesus stood among them and gave them peace. Oh, that he would do the same for us.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if Jesus would appear while sitting in the ICU waiting room to assure us that dad is in good hands?
Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus was there at our side in our lonely, quiet moments, when all others have left us or forgotten about us?
Wouldn’t it be beneficial if Jesus was there for us when we’re at our lowest? You know, when we start recalling all our mistakes and the internal guilt is tearing us apart.
We might sometimes think the original disciples had it so easy; Jesus was right there, standing in the same room. But keep in mind, in just a matter of weeks, Jesus would ascend into heaven, and his disciples would no longer have his physical, visible presence to assure them. They would have to rely upon his promises. And those promises are just as comforting and dependable for us today as they were for the disciples then.
Jesus doesn’t suddenly appear to us in our living rooms or medical waiting rooms, but he does offer this solemn pledge: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) and “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
He doesn’t ring our doorbells and give us a show-and-tell display of his scarred hands every time our consciences act up. Instead, he promises that our sins have been removed from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
He may not put a hand on our shoulders. Instead, he puts his Word in print, and he puts that printed Word, the Bible, into our hands. There in the Bible he promises peace—the peace of sins forgiven, the peace only the living Lord Jesus can give.
Lord Jesus, when I feel weak or alone, remind me that you are near. When I am pressed by a guilty conscience, remind me that you have already paid for my sins. When I hurt, remind me of your love. Help me to share that same love with others. Amen.
A recent survey asked Americans which of the five senses they would least like to lose. 77% chose sight. Navigating life blind poses a plethora of challenges that the sighted do not face. This is why Scripture often uses the concept of blindness as a metaphor for how hard it is to navigate life without a correct understanding of Christ. Spiritual blindness can take many different forms. In some cases, it is hostile opposition to the message of Jesus. In others, spiritual blindness might be demonstrated in confusion about Jesus’ true identity. No matter the specific form spiritual blindness takes, Easter has the power to replace it with sight. Easter allows us to see where we sinners stand with a holy God. It enables us to see the path through life that is worth pursuing (as opposed to those that lead to a dead end). Spiritual sight gives us the ability to see who holds our future in his hands and who is worth our eternal worship.
Hymns512, 459, 711
Special MusicSunday at St. John’s: Grades 1-8 “My God Is”
SermonJohn 21:1-14 “Thank you, Lord, We Needed That”
WELS Connection Sunday only
Acts 9:1-22Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Revelation 5:11-14Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” 14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
John 21:1-14Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c]9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
THANK YOU to all who supported our Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society’s spring mission offerings. 75% of the $375 collected will support home mission: Family Ministry Outreach and world mission: Central Africa Medical Mission. The other 25% will support international LWMS projects to be announced at the 2022 Convention in Rochester, New York. Attending from St. John’s: Kay Maass, Shelley Myers, James & Linda Wachholz.
ALL ARE INVITED Florence Dahlke turns 100! All members of St. John’s and Emmanuel are welcome to celebrate on May 21 at 2:00pm at Riversbend 2614 Fox Lane, Montello WI 53949. Please RSVP to Linda 435-313-3686.
ST. JOHN’S LADIES, PLEASE VOTE! All confirmed women are eligible to vote for officers on the International Board of Directors of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) and for mission projects for 2022-2023. A voting station is located in the linkway today. Voting ends on Sunday, May 22. Results of this voting will be announced at the 2022 LWMS Convention, in Rochester, NY, June 23-26. If you have questions, please contact Reporter Linda Wachholz. Your vote is very much appreciated!
Download the WELS App to your phone or device, featuring devotionals, educational and news content from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod: https://wels.app/
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:26,27
Have you ever been channel surfing late at night and come across one of those infomercials with the super energetic spokesperson? After a few minutes, you start thinking, “Maybe I do need one of those salad spinners. After all, they do come in six amazing colors. And I really should eat more salads.” Those infomercial producers know you won’t purchase something on blind faith; you need proof. And if you see that proof—that the product really works—maybe you’ll consider buying theirs. That’s why the spokesperson for the salad spinner is energetic, happy, and in great shape. If you act now, this can all be yours for just $19.99.
The disciples wanted proof. They had seen Jesus die. His body had been taken off the cross and placed into the tomb. The disciples had been shaken. What they didn’t know yet was that Jesus had risen from the grave. He was alive. Jesus, on Easter evening, appeared to those shaken disciples and set their minds and hearts at ease.
But Thomas wasn’t there. So, Jesus appeared to him a week later. He didn’t have to, but our patient Savior reached out to Thomas and gave him what he was looking for: proof. What was unbelievable just a few days ago, wasn’t so far-fetched now that Thomas could see Jesus with his own eyes.
We have doubts, fears, and struggles too. Our patient Savior comes to us with promises that are always reliable. He points us to the cross—proof our sins are forgiven. He points us to the empty tomb—proof that he lives and that the Father has accepted and approved of his payment for sin. He holds out his scarred hands and assures us we have peace with God. No need to act now or make a payment; Jesus already has!
Lord, in my times of doubt, strengthen me with your promises. You died for me. You rose again. You are with me always! Amen.
How do you define courage? I’m not looking for a wordy definition you’d find in a dictionary; I’m looking for a practical description of courage. Peter and the other apostles provide that for us in Acts chapter 5. Shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles faced fierce opposition. Jesus had commissioned them to be his witnesses. However, the people of power had commanded them to keep quiet. To whom would they listen? To continue preaching and teaching about Jesus would not only be unpopular, it could be deadly.
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” the authorities lectured to Peter and the others. You can almost see the apostles dig in their heels and stiffen their backbones as they reply, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” What courage! But from where did it come? Wasn’t Peter the same one who lied about knowing Jesus several weeks earlier? Weren’t these the same apostles who locked themselves into a room after Christ’s death?
Peter and the apostles found courage in the same place we do—in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! You can almost see Jesus dig in his heels and stiffen his backbone as the Roman soldiers crown him with thorns and force a cross onto his shoulders. Resolutely, courageously Jesus faces the mockery, the suffering, and even the cruel crucifixion. Courageously he dies. Victoriously he rises. You will be my witnesses; he says to you and me.
This courageous Jesus carried our sins to the cross; he now asks us to carry his name to the world. Some will thank us for it. Some will urge us to keep quiet. With strength and courage that comes only from Jesus, we can dig in our heels, stiffen our backbones, and continue to preach and teach about Jesus.
Lord, you have told me to be your witness, to share your love with a world full of people who so badly need to learn of you. Give me courage, not in myself but in you. Help me to seize the opportunities to speak of your saving work whenever they arise. Amen.
Service of Holy Baptism – pg.151 (St. John’s Sunday only)
The Service Setting One with communion – pg. 154
At St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church & Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church we practice close Communion. If you are a guest at worship today and interested in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please speak with the pastor prior to the service.
The Risen Lord Entrusts His Followers with the Keys of the Kingdom
The good news of the risen Christ is bigger than a single day. The Easter gospel will continue to march across centuries and continents. However, there will always be forces that try to slow that march. Those forces could be self-inflected fears and doubts (Gospel). They could be various types of persecutions (First and Second Reading). Whatever the case, the good news of Easter will not be restrained. For it is not some myth or fable, not a hoax or conspiracy. The reality of Easter rests on the testimony of eyewitnesses. Therefore, the gospel cannot be boxed in any more than Christ could be put back in a tomb. Many may try and restrain the good news of Christ. But the march of the Church’s witness will never slow down.
Piano Duet by Lynn Sellnow and Lauren Zietlow (St. John’s Sunday only)
John 20: 19-31 “Peace Be with You!”
To the 10 Disciples on Easter 2. To Thomas a week later 3. To all of us today
Acts 5:12,17-3217 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.
25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Revelation 1:4-18 4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b] and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c] So shall it be! Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” 9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” 12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
John 20:19-31 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
– For the sick and others facing trials…Caryl Bassett, Gale “Blackie” Boyd, Ed Buchholz, Darlene Burrough (Judy Fandrey’s niece), Gene & Sharon Crook, Florence Dahlke, Vicki Davis (Marilyn Riemer’s sister), Reinold Eckelberg, Ken Elmer (Sally’s husband), Earl Ewert, Judy Freitag, Donna Gatzke, Kelleen Grucza (Judy Fandrey’s daughter), Jerry & Darlene Hunter (Bonnie Chapman’s parents), Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob & Sandy Klapper, Robert Lederer (Jackie & Jeanne Buchholz’ father), Thomas Marcelain (Dawn’s son), Brian Ninneman, Karen Radke, Wayne Riemer, Sierra Schmidt (Linda Lou Wacholtz’s grand-daughter), Wanda Sellnow (Principal Larry Sellnow’s mother), Tom Stempniak (Carol’s husband), Dennis & Ramona Wacholtz, Dixie Wagner, Stacy Weisensel (added this week: Ken Elmer, Geri Kerl)
– For Skylar Ann Steuck, the infant daughter of Jason Steuck & Emily Krueger, baptized at St. John’s on 4/24
HELP US SHARE EASTER JOY AT THE MONTELLO CARE CENTER St. John’s Sunday School invites parish members to join them singing Easter praises to God at the Montello Care Center on TODAY from 9:00-9:30 a.m. There will be a songbook. Meet us in the Care Center entry!
ALL ARE INVITED Florence Dahlke turns 100! All members of St. John’s and Emmanuel are welcome to celebrate on May 21 at 2:00pm at Riversbend 2614 Fox Lane, Montello WI 53949. Please RSVP to Linda 435-313-3686.
Download the WELS App to your phone or device, featuring devotionals, educational and news content from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:
Stay connected to WELS: https://wels.net/
STAGE SET UP VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDAfter today’s potluck, please come help set up the stage at St. John’s Princeton for our May school play. We will meet at St. John’s Princeton gym at 2:00pm. Thank you!
SCHOOL PLAYMay 6 at 6:00pm at St. John’s Princeton gym. This year’s play is “The Rock Slinger and His Greatest Hit”.
Join us at St. John’s…..
K-8th Grade and Little Lambs 2022-23 Registration is Open!
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:5,6
In his Small Catechism, after describing the work of Jesus, Martin Luther wrote: “All this he did that I should be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.” According to Martin Luther, now that Christ has redeemed and rescued us, we now have the opportunity and the motivation to serve him and live for him.
Martin Luther didn’t come up with that concept. He was repeating what the Lord had already said many times through his holy writers, including the apostle John. After assuring us that Jesus loves us and that he has completely freed us from our sins, John offers a purpose for which we have been rescued. Christ has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father.
I am a priest? That brings up images of a clergyman wearing black, listening to someone’s confession, or presiding over a wedding. Instead, think Old Testament priest. He offered sacrifices to God. He helped others see God’s love and goodness. He prayed for the people.
When John says you are a priest, he is reminding you that you have a very special purpose in life. Your day job might be a nurse, accountant, teacher, or mechanic, but your purpose in life is to help others see God’s love and goodness, to pray for others, and to offer sacrifices to God. And by sacrifices, thinking kind words of others, a helpful hand to someone in need, being patient with a co-worker, living with an attitude of thanksgiving and contentment, and sharing the good news about Jesus when given the opportunity. In all these ways you help others see the goodness of God.
Lord, thank you for rescuing me and making me a member of your family. Help me to express my gratitude by the way I live my life—for the good of others and to your glory. Amen.
Can you picture the scene in the old black and white silent movie? The young lady is in obvious distress. Heavy ropes are wrapped around her, securing her to the railroad tracks. In the distance, you can see the train getting closer and closer. This isn’t going to end well. The look on her face expresses helplessness and fear. The train rumbles on, smoke billowing from its chimney as it bears down on the poor woman. Just then, the hero arrives. With a few quick swings of his ax, the ropes are severed, and the young lady is free. The tragedy is averted. The hero smiles.
Can you picture the scene? We are in obvious distress. The heavy ropes of sin are wrapped around us. Every day an honest assessment of our actions, our words, and our attitudes reveals a very tragic scenario. We have fallen short. We haven’t treated others with selfless love—sometimes we do, but not always, as God demands. We haven’t always used our time wisely and honorably. We haven’t always spoken good and godly words. If we don’t get help, things will not end well. What can we do but cry out, “Lord, have mercy on us! Lord, save us!”
Thankfully Jesus, our hero, came to save us. He didn’t use an ax to cut us free. Instead, he shed his own blood. He has freed us! It really happened. Our selfishness, our wrong words, our mistreatment of others—all of it was taken away from us by our hero, Jesus. He died for us. He rose again. We are forgiven. The tragedy is averted. The hero smiles.
Lord, I daily fall short of the demands of your law. I confess that I am sinful; I need you. Point me to the sacrifice you made on the cross and to the empty tomb, from which you rose victoriously. As a freed and forgiven child of God, help me to face today and every day with confidence and a renewed commitment to walk with you. Amen.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. John 20:19,20
When the disciples were gathered behind locked doors on that first Easter Sunday, they were very afraid. They were afraid for their lives. They truly thought that those who killed Jesus were now going to come after them and kill them, too. The bottom line is that they had no peace, and they lacked a faith that believed Jesus would rise from the dead.
What is it that scares you? Studies show that people are most often scared by spiders, snakes, and other creepy-crawly things. Does that hold true for you as well?
Perhaps you’ve outgrown that fear. Yet as we grow older, we face a new set of fears. Will our health hold up? Will our children be okay when they leave the house? Will we have enough money to support ourselves? All of these “fears” are out of our control. They, too, rob us of peace—which is where faith in Jesus comes in.
Just as the disciples could not control the enemies of Jesus, we can’t control the economy, disease, or people who wish to cause harm. Oh, if only Jesus would appear to us and say, “Peace be with you!”
But don’t be fooled. This “peace” Jesus gives is not intended to make all the bad things in life go away. The peace Jesus gives strengthens us as we endure the many difficult challenges of life. The peace Jesus gives also lifts our eyes from the temporary things of this world to the eternal things of heaven. The peace Jesus gives is the assurance that our sins are forgiven, and we will be in heaven forever with him.
Truly, there is nothing to fear. Cancer, thieves, storms cannot take away the eternal promises Jesus has made to you. Trust in him and his words, and you will have the peace Jesus gives.
Dear Jesus, fill me with the peace of knowing you are alive and well, ruling this world on behalf of your people. Amen.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
A father and his two sons were driving down the road one day when a bee found its way inside the car through an open window. The younger son was terrified of bees. He was allergic and being stung was one of the worst things that could happen to him. When he saw the bee in the car, he started to panic. At once, his older brother trapped the bee between his hands. He held it there for a few moments and then opened up his hands. The bee started buzzing around again, and the younger boy again began to panic. But his older brother said, “Calm down! Don’t be afraid! The bee can’t hurt you anymore. Look at my hand.” And there, in the older brother’s hand, was the stinger.
As you and I travel down the path of life, there’s one thing that terrifies all people by nature–death. You could say we’re all allergic to death. We do whatever we can to avoid it. Yet, because of sin, death is inevitable for all of us. But just like in the story, we have a brother who travels with us. We have a brother who was willing to take the sting of death, the sins of the whole world.
Jesus took the sting of death in our place, and he died on the cross to take away all of those sins. With sins forgiven, with sins removed, death has lost its sting. Jesus says to each one of us, “Don’t be afraid. Death can’t hurt you anymore. Look at my hands, look at my feet. I’ve taken the sting of death for you!” And because of this marvelous truth, death is not a defeat but a victory! Death is now the doorway to life everlasting with Jesus. That is our Easter hope!
Resurrected Lord and Savior, thank you for taking the sting of death for us so that by faith in you we have the sure and certain hope of eternal victory in heaven. Amen.