My Lord and My God – April 7, 2024

Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27,28

My Lord and My God

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Daily Devotion – April 7, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:27,28


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As a father of twins, it’s not hard for me to understand why a twin would have a problem with people being sure they had seen something. A twin regularly encounters people who believe they saw what the twin knows they did NOT see. “It was my twin sister that you saw” is regular speech for a twin girl.

Thomas wanted more than mere words that his companions had really seen Jesus.

And his gracious Jesus chose to give it to him. A week earlier, he appeared behind doors that were locked in fear and spoke, “Peace,” into the room. And he—personally, tangibly, and audibly gave Thomas what he needed—absolute proof that he, the crucified one, died and buried, was now alive! Thus, the risen Savior could tell Thomas to stop doubting and believe. In faith, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!”

We believe, teach, and confess that Jesus continues to come today—personally, tangibly, and audibly. He is present personally and audibly in worship when we hear, “Forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” His true presence in body and blood for forgiveness in his Supper is unbelievable to some, but the core of faith for the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church. “My Lord and my God!” continues to be the confession that springs from jaded, now liberated lips.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the saving love you’ve shown me in the living Christ who continues to come to me in Word and sacrament. Thank you for the confession I get to say today: “My Lord and my God!” Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Blade Sharp Enough – April 6, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20

No Blade Sharp Enough

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Daily Devotion – April 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20


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To say that Thomas Jefferson liked to read would be a grand understatement. “I cannot live without books,” he once said. In his day, Jefferson had the largest personal collection of books in the United States. It numbered in the thousands, and the volumes covered every conceivable subject, from history and literature to science and philosophy and everything in between.

In this massive library that Jefferson loved, however, there was one written history that received unique treatment. It was the Bible’s written history of Jesus. For reasons fully known only to him, Jefferson took the written account of Jesus’ life and proceeded to remove any verses that described supernatural events and any verses that described Jesus as anything more than a man. He simply sliced them out of the text. As one historian described it, he “kept his blade busy.” Then Jefferson pasted together the remaining verses to make a book of his own. He called it, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

Given the kind of book it was, it is not difficult to guess how the book ends. The book ends with this sentence: “There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.” In Jefferson’s version of events, Jesus does not rise from the dead. In his book on Jesus’ life, Easter does not survive Jefferson’s blade.

But there’s no blade sharp enough to remove the reality of Easter. Whether it’s a blade that cuts verses from the written account of the gospel, a blade that cuts down the lives of early Christians, or a blade that puts present-day Christians to death for their faith—the tomb is empty. No matter the sharpness of the blade, Jesus lives. No matter the sharpness of the blade, God has kept his promise, we stand forgiven, and eternal life is ours.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, there is no blade sharp enough that can separate your promises from my life. Thank you for the reality of Easter. Thank you for the reality of your empty tomb. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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By Name – April 5, 2024

Thinking [Jesus] was the gardener, [Mary Magdalene] said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
John 20:15,16

By Name

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Daily Devotion – April 5, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:15,16


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It is Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, longtime follower of Jesus, is still in shock over his death. To make matters worse, she discovers that his tomb is now empty.

She has no idea how to process this. Has someone stolen his corpse? As she stands outside that vacant tomb, all she can do is let the tears flow. But then a man approaches and asks why she is crying. At first, she presumes he’s the caretaker of the garden that surrounds the tomb. Perhaps, for some reason, he is the one who’s taken Jesus’ body. “Sir, if you have carried him away,” Mary says, “tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

But then the man calls her by name. Nothing more. Nothing less. He simply says to her,”Mary.”

Just one word, her name. But in that one word, Mary realizes that this man knows her and that she knows him. And in that one word, Mary realizes that Jesus, her teacher, her friend, her Savior, her Lord—is no longer dead. He is very much alive. And because he is, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he ever made—everything is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling her by name.

You and I, in our sinful weakness, have all kinds of Mary Magdalene moments—moments when all we feel is confusion, grief, and uncertainty. But then the Lord speaks through his promises in the Bible. As he proclaims in Isaiah chapter 43, “I have called you by name.” He encounters us face-to-face through his body and blood in Holy Communion.

And when he does, I realize he knows me, and I know him. I realize he lives, and because he does, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he’s ever made is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling me by name.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. And you call me by name. All is well. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Waiting – April 4, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Waiting

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Daily Devotion – April 4, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20


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The next time you walk through a cemetery, look at the gravestones. Some are simple, with the name, date of birth, and date of death. Some add a word or two about the deceased: “Beloved Father,” “Devoted Mother,” “At Rest.” Others may have an etching of a favorite hobby. Others offer the reader an endearing sense of fun; for example, one woman’s gravestone contains the recipe for her world-famous fudge. Still others, without apology, go straight for the laugh with remarks such as, “I knew this would happen,” or “Please deactivate my Facebook.”

The vast majority of the gravestones, however, do seem to have one thing in common. Almost all of them look backward—to the past, to what has been, and the life the person has lived.

There are a few gravestones, however, that take a different approach. Some choose to look ahead. “Gone from our sight,” one reads— “Gone from our sight, but soon to rise again in glorious resurrection.” Another says, “Death is not the end; it is merely a sleep awaiting resurrection.” Still another says, “In memory of a life lived, and a resurrection yet to come.”

The gravestones that look ahead are wonderful reminders of what you and I have in Jesus Christ. God the Son entered our world of sin and death. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect goodness. In our place, he took our every wrong to Calvary’s cross, where he suffered and died to wash us clean. Then he rose from death. In addition, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus’ resurrection from death is the first of the many resurrections yet to come—that on the Last Day, Jesus will return and summon our bodies from our graves. He will reunite them with our souls. And then—all who trust in Jesus—in glorified, perfect bodies, will live in the presence of the Lord forever, freed, once and for all, from the presence and effects of sin.

The body of the Christian, therefore, is not just resting. It’s waiting. The best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of you, the bodies of our fellow Christians have something wonderful in store. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remembered – April 3, 2024

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:14,20

Remembered

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Daily Devotion – April 3, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:14,20


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“He’s not really dead as long as we remember him.” “As long as we have memories of her, she will always be with us.” In times of grief, it’s easy to say these things. Well-intended? Yes. Solid and meaningful? Not really.

For instance, how much do you know about your great-great-grandparents? In terms of real years, they walked on this earth not too long ago. And yet, for most of us, they are little more than old pictures in an album. Memories fade. Quickly. And the same will apply to you and me. Sure, there might be smartphone footage of us uploaded into the cloud. But do people truly remember us after we’re gone? Real memories rapidly go away.

Which brings us to Jesus. When God the Son entered our time and space, he did not come to soothe us with sentiment. He did not come to comfort us with clichés. He came to confront what was killing us. What was killing us was the guilt of our sin. The consequence of our having severed our relationship with God was that sin and death rushed in to fill the void.

And so God the Son arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf, he lived the life of perfect love that you and I have failed to live. In our place, he suffered and died at Golgotha to pay our debt of sin in full. And then—to make clear that he really is who he claims to be, and he really has done what he has promised to do—Jesus rose from the dead.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul does not simply say that Jesus is alive in our memories. He speaks of it as an actual event. And he’s candid. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul says, “our preaching is useless, and so is your faith.”

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,” Paul later says. Jesus lives. And because he does, we too shall live. Not through others’ memories. But in reality. With Jesus. Forever.

Prayer:
Living Lord, in you I will never be forgotten. Never. Praise be to your holy name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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My Own Eyes – April 2, 2024

After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:26,27

My Own Eyes

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Daily Devotion – April 2, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:26,27


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From Chicago, you take a 16-hour flight to Muscat International Airport, located on the southeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. From there, you’re in for a long drive—over 500 miles through the barren desert. Once you arrive at the city of Salalah, you still must work your way through another 20 miles of narrow, winding roads to reach a hilltop. There, you will find a small, modest building. Walk inside, and there, in the center of the floor, you will see it—the traditional site where the Old Testament believer Job lies buried.

Stand there for a moment in that tiny room. Let your eyes rest on the rectangular grave. What remains of Job’s body? Dust? A few bone fragments, perhaps? This would come as no surprise to Job. He understood very well the nature of death in this sinful, broken world. He understood that, upon death, the physical body breaks down.

But Job understood something else. He knew that even after his body had decomposed in death, there would come a moment when he would see God with his body resurrected and restored. Or as Job himself proclaimed, “Yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.”

Beneath the rectangle in the floor of that tiny hilltop room, Job’s body will not remain as grains of dust and bits of bone. His body will rise. He knows this because his Redeemer has promised to raise him. And he knows that his Redeemer will keep his promise because Job knows that his Redeemer lives.

Whether you are looking at the grave of Job on a remote hilltop or the grave of your loved one who has died in the Lord, or whether age or illness has made it clear that your own body does not have long to live—one beautiful truth stands tall. Jesus has conquered sin and death at the cross. He has risen from death. In him, we stand forgiven. Eternal life awaits.

Prayer:
Lord, one day I will see you with my own eyes. How my heart yearns within me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Long Night – April 1, 2024

I know that my Redeemer lives.
Job 19:25

Long Night

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Daily Devotion – April 1, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:25


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The year is 1759, and on a British warship, a young man by the name of Samuel Medley is facing a very long night. In a recent battle, Medley sustained an injury to his leg. The leg is getting worse. Medley might die. The surgeon has just told him that if the leg is not better by morning, he will have to amputate.

In another sense, Samuel Medley has been facing a long night for a long time. As a boy, he learned about Jesus from his grandfather. Since then, however, he has not given Christianity the time of day.

But on that ship, facing death, facing a long night of dark despair, Samuel remembers. He remembers what his grandfather has taught him. He looks to his long-forgotten Redeemer.

Perhaps you are facing a long night. Perhaps you already fear that your sleep tonight will be restless and haunted. Or perhaps you’ve been facing a long night for a long time. Maybe—just maybe—your relationship with your Redeemer has been dismissive, thoughtless, listless, and apathetic, and for that reason, there’s been a despairing darkness in your life that’s hard to define, but it’s there.

Jesus saw Samuel Medley on that ship. He carried him through that long night. At dawn, the ship’s surgeon discovered that the leg was better. There was no amputation. Samuel Medley lived. The long night set off a chain of events that drew Samuel closer and closer to his Redeemer by the power of the gospel. One day, he entered the pastoral ministry, proclaiming the message of the cross and the empty tomb to all who came to listen.

He also picked up a pen. He began to put into words the joy and comfort the Christian has in Jesus’ resurrection. He based what he wrote in the proclamation of Job, the Old Testament believer. When Job found himself in the darkness of grief and loss, he declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

From Samuel Medley’s long night came a hymn of Easter joy. In the forgiveness Christ has purchased for us, we have that same joy. In Jesus, our long night is over.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. Because you do, my long night is over. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who Will Roll Away the Stone? – March 31, 2024

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and 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. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Mark 16:2-6

Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

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Daily Devotion – March 31, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:2-6


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The women who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning were preoccupied. Their only thought was the stone that covered the entrance of the tomb. Who will roll away the stone? Would the soldiers who stood guard help? Would the disciples possibly be there to help? It must have been an agonizing trip.

Often, we are like the women who visited the tomb. We are preoccupied with worries, concerns, and far-ranging issues. The joy and confidence we could know are blocked by the stone of doubt and confusion.

When we are filled with doubt and fear we are invited to view the place where Jesus was laid. And we are invited to believe Jesus’ words of promise: “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25,26).

It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is true! Jesus has risen! He has burst the confines of the tomb. He has conquered death and the grave. His promise is true, and life is ours.

As we gaze by faith at the tomb of Jesus, we can rejoice. Not only has the stone been rolled away, but the grave is empty. Jesus lives!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 152)
I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives my ever-living Head!

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Specifically For You – March 30, 2024

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:6,7

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 30, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:6,7


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How do you think the apostle Peter felt on Good Friday? Just watching Jesus go through all his suffering must have been bad enough, but to know that he had denied knowing Jesus had to make him feel awful. Even worse, he’d done it three times. More than that, Jesus had warned him plainly, in advance, that he would do it! How might Peter have felt? I’m guessing he felt horrible.

Then, on Easter Sunday, the women who arrived at Jesus’ empty tomb were given a clear instruction by the angel. “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Tell Peter. Tell Peter specifically. Why?

Probably because Peter really needed to hear it! Peter needed to hear that his sins were forgiven and that he had a risen Savior who still loved him and would always love him.

You and I are no different than Peter. We’re sinful human beings, just like he was. We’ve denied Jesus in our own ways, whether by blatant statements (like Peter), or not letting our light shine, or failing to trust God fully, or neglecting God’s Word. We’ve failed and sinned. We’re Peter.

God sent angels to announce the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection marks his victory over death which assures us that our failures and sins are forgiven. The good news of Jesus resurrection is the special message of God’s Word for you! You have a risen Savior! Jesus died and rose again from the dead to assure you that your sins are all forgiven.

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, your resurrection gives me the confidence to believe all you have done for me. Open my eyes to the great blessing of your undeserved love, and keep my eyes fixed on you who won for me victory over sin, death, and the grave. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Once and for All Sacrifice – March 29, 2024

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Hebrews 7:27

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 29, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 7:27


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Sacrifice… blood, sweat, tears. That’s what it takes to succeed in this world. You have to work hard. You have to be willing to give up something to gain something greater, whether it’s on the athletic field, in school or work, in business, or anywhere else.

Don’t we sometimes approach our relationship with God that way? To please God, I have to make sacrifices. If I do something wrong, I have to make up for it. The more of yourself—your time, money, blood, sweat, and tears—you give, the more God will bless you. It seems reasonable, but is it true?

Long before Jesus came into the world, God’s laws taught his people that sacrifices were necessary. Something had to be done about all the ways that people didn’t measure up to God’s demands. And so, he commanded priests to offer sacrifices—lambs, bulls, and goats—day-after-day. There was no end to it. Through this, God also taught them that no animal sacrifice or anything a sinful human could offer was enough to make up for those sins or take them away.

But there was one sacrifice. One perfect sacrifice offered by the perfect priest—Jesus, the Son of God. He offered the sacrifice that only he could. He gave himself. And he didn’t do it for himself; he didn’t need to. He gave that sacrifice for you, dear sinner. Knowing that you could not earn God’s favor, knowing the best you could offer could never cover a single slip-up, he offered his own life on a cross. Because Jesus was the Son of God, his innocent life was infinitely valuable. His sacrifice was perfectly pleasing to God. It never has to be repeated. It was a once-and-for-all sacrifice for all people.

Through that sacrifice offered on a Friday twenty centuries ago; your relationship with God is perfectly restored. Once and for all. No strings attached, no wonder we call this Friday good!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving yourself as the perfect once-and-for-all sacrifice for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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