Easter Devotion for April 12


Reading: 1 John 5:13–21

He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

Throughout the writings of St. John, the evangelist is insistent that what he is writing is for the sake of your faith, that you may believe in the name of the Son of God and in Him have eternal life. On this most holy day of the year, the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, let all who believe in the name of Jesus Christ rejoice in the certain promise of eternal life!

At the same time, let us pray for all who have not heard the Word of truth that St. John proclaims, who do not believe in the Son of God. Let us pray for the erring and those who have strayed from the faith. Our Father in heaven has promised to hear us and, having confidence in Him, all that we ask according to His will shall be heard.

Finally, let us give thanks that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has opened our eyes to know the truth. We who are in Him are as but little children in the care of our loving Father. Take comfort and rest knowing the Son of God has come and granted to you eternal life.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have given Your only-begotten Son into death for our sins, only to raise Him this day for our justification. Grant that we have confidence to pray according to Your will and remain steadfast in this faith until our blessed end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
The Lamb the sheep has ransomed:
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciling sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended
In that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died,
Reigns immortal. (LSB 460:1)

Mark Kranz (Sem IV, CTSFW)

Lent Devotion for April 11

Reading: 1 John 5:6–12

No matter how much the world tries to convince you otherwise, your sins have a consequence. As Paul writes in Romans, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Your sins will kill you and you deserve it. God has told you how to get heaven. Yet, you insist to try on your own. No matter how hard you try, you will always lose and you will always die.

However, you’ve already died. You drowned in the waters of the baptismal font. When you drowned, you were created anew, having received the eternal promise of the new covenant founded on the blood Christ shed on the cross, for you. On the cross a new covenant was made, one not of death but of life. On this day, Holy Saturday, Christ kept the perfect Sabbath rest so that we might forever look to Him and find our true rest (Matthew 11:29). By His descent into hell, He proclaimed His once-for-all victory over sin and death so that we would no longer have to fear death. Because He has freed us from its grasp, we can live freely to love, serve, and testify to our neighbors so that God might be glorified and all might come to faith in God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ.

Most holy God, our Redeemer, we pray that You allow us to serve You through service to our neighbors, so that we might give thanks and testify to your salvific work on the cross and at the baptismal font; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

O rejoice, ye Christians, loudly,
For our joy has now begun;
Wondrous things our God has done.
Tell abroad His goodness proudly,
Who our race has honored thus,
That he deigns to dwell with us.
Joy, O joy, beyond all gladness,
Christ has done away with sadness!
Hence, all sorrow and repining,
For the Sun of Grace is shining! (LSB 897:1)

Tim Barber (Sem II, CSL)

Lent Devotion for April 10

Reading: 1 John 5:1–5

“He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.” “She was born into rough conditions.” We all recognize that what we’re born out of affects who we are. John shows us this repeatedly. The man who is born blind thus has a questionable background. The Pharisees think they’re righteous because they’re born of Abraham. First and foremost, however, John confesses Jesus to be eternally begotten, that is, born out of the Father (John 1).

And so, you would think that if anyone deserved death for sin, it would be the one born out of sinful flesh. But that’s not what we see on Good Friday. No, today we see the sinless Son of God Himself in the roughest conditions imaginable: hanging on a cross dripping blood more precious than silver. It should not be.

But so it must be. The one begotten of the Father was born of woman, assuming our corrupted flesh into Himself, so that we might be born again as sons of God. It is this crucified Jesus, who was not of this world, that gives us the victory over the world. So look to Him today. Look to Him and confess that this Jesus, hanging on the cross, is the Christ. For the one who believes in Him has been born of God. And the one born of God knows the love of God and keeps his commandments. For who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes on Jesus, the crucified Son of God?

Heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to be born a man and die in our place so that we might be born again of You. Grant that, as Your children, we may love and keep Your commandments, and, on the last day, have final victory over this world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Upon the cross extended
See, world, your Lord suspended.
Your Savior yields His breath.
The Prince of Life from heaven
Himself has freely given
To shame and blows and bitter death. (LSB 453:1)

Sawyer Meyers (Sem IV, CTSFW)

Lent Devotion for April 9

Reading: 1 John 4:13–21

It’s Maundy Thursday, the day of the instituting of the Lord’s Supper. This reading tells us that we abide in God and God abides in us. The abiding mentioned here is spiritual. And yet, with the institution of the Lord’s Supper, when we receive the body and blood of Jesus in, with, and under the bread and wine, we receive God. We physically have God abiding in us with the reception of Christ’s body and blood.

The reception of God’s grace powers our common confession of faith, and that common confession of faith draws us together to receive the Lord’s Supper, to receive God’s grace, which then pushes us back out into the world with our confession. Love has been perfected in us. There is nothing that we lack. We have confidence before God and before the world because of Christ. We love others because he first loved us. Thanks be to God!

Holy God, on this day we remember the instituting of the Lord’s Supper. May we faithfully receive this salutary gift, knowing that in it we receive You, that we may be filled with your grace and Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Help us sincerely to believe
That we may worthily receive
Your Supper and in You find rest.
Amen! They who believe are blest. (LSB 634:8)

Joseph Highley (Sem IV, CSL)

Lent Devotion for April 8

Reading: 1 John 4:7–12

We face the challenge of recognizing love for what it really is. True godly love is not an emotion or a sentiment, but God’s own being. “God is love” (v. 8).

Love always acts, but it does not excuse, tolerate, or behave in a self-indulgent way. Rather, love forgives, as Jesus does when He becomes the propitiation for our sins. Love doesn’t repress wrongs by sweeping them under the rug. Instead, love blots out sin by covering it, just as Jesus’ blood wiped out the sins of the world in a deluge of mercy. While love is not a mere feeling, it does feel.

Most abjectly, love feels the pain of God’s only Son being sacrificed to save the sinners whom He so dearly loves. That divine love became incarnate in Jesus, who dwells and is always at work in us. In Christ, love becomes a part of us and defines who we are, such that anyone who loves in the way God loves must necessarily be a son of the Father and a brother of Christ. Love is always cruciform, shaping who we are and what we do. Love is as inseparable from who we are as it is inseparable from Christ and His cross. In this is love.

Gracious Father, You have manifested Your love in the giving of Your only-begotten Son to atone for the sins of the world. Grant that we who have been made members of His Body may likewise demonstrate this love in our lives and deeds, so that all would know that we are Your disciples; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Yet work, O Lord, in me
As Thou for me hast wrought;
And let my love the answer be
To grace Thy love has brought. (LSB 452:7)

Timothy Sheridan (Sem IV, CTSFW)

Lent Devotion for April 7

Reading: 1 John 4:1–6

Here we are, Tuesday of Holy Week. This week is the high point of the whole church year. The liturgical calendar is truly a gift to the Church. Our Lutheran Confessions are also a gift to the Church. They constitute our confession of faith because they are true to Holy Scripture. They confess Jesus as Lord. Thus, they are from God. All proclaimed truth is from God, because it points to Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

This passage is a great reminder to test what we hear. It is also a great reminder to be thankful for the Spirit working in our lives through faithful men and women. Call your old pastor and thank him for preaching the Word. Email your Sunday School teacher and thank him or her for instructing you in truth. Video chat with your parents and thank them for raising you in the faith. Most of all, praise God for sending the Spirit of truth to these people who shared the truth with you.

Heavenly Father, the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error are both at work in this world. Enlighten us with the Holy Spirit that we might confess Jesus as Lord; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Holy Spirit, light divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shades of night away,
Turn the darkness into day.

Let me see my Savior’s face,
Let me all His beauties trace;
Show those glorious truths to me
Which are only known to Thee. (LSB 496:1–2)

Joseph Highley (Sem IV, CSL)

Lent Devotion for April 6

Reading: 1 John 3:19–24

The heart’s condemnation is like a silent witness against you. It’s there, testifying against you, quietly. No one else can see your heart calling you out; you feel its pain alone. This is silent suffering, the kind that makes one feel so alone. Satan loves to accuse in such a way so that his jabs will find space to reside in your heart and amplify his charge against you.

Yet, as John writes, God is greater than our hearts. He knows all things. He knows our hearts. His Son, Jesus Christ, atoned for all our sin, so that in Him we no longer are condemned. Your heart’s witness against you has no basis or standing any longer. The Word, which tells of the forgiveness of your sins, has the final say. You are baptized and bear the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His Holy Spirit He’s given you a new heart that does not condemn but instead loves in truth and deed. He abides in you and you in Him, and so you are never alone.

O Lord God, because of the weakness of our flesh we fall prey to the accusations of the enemy. Send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts and remind us of Your Son’s atoning sacrifice for us, that such condemnation may be silenced; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
Unite my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there!
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am;
Be Thou alone my constant flame. (LSB 683:1)

Brett Witmer (Sem IV, CTSFW)

Lent Devotion for April 5

Reading: 1 John 3:16–18

Getting married and having a child has really opened my eyes about a lot of things. Maybe the most convicting aspect of this eye opening has been just how selfish I am. I was always selfish before, but now my own desires butt up against the needs of being a husband and father. There’s a little piece of me that would much rather lay down my own life for my family than give up my preferences and desires, my free time and space.

We are followers of Jesus. Jesus denied himself and went to the cross. He invites us to do the same. It’s part of our daily repentance, remembering our Baptism. Daily drown your selfish desires and love in deed and in truth as Christ loved us.

Dearest Savior, You gave up the glory of heaven and became man for our sake, taking up Your cross and dying for us. Take our selfish ways and drown them in the waters of our Baptism that we may be raised again to live in love with one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide. (LSB 427:4)

Joseph Highley (Sem IV, CSL)

Lent Devotion for April 4

Reading: 1 John 3:11–15

The Christian life is one of love. It has been so from the creation of the world and it remains true today, though the lawlessness of sin keeps us from perfectly living it out.

Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, committed murder twice: first in his heart, second by his hand. He acted according to his sinful flesh, which wanted revenge for his brother’s favored place in God’s sight. That is the way of this world, where the evil one rules: might makes right, and hating your brother is just a way to get ahead.

But in Jesus Christ, we have passed from this world of death. By His love we can love one another because in Him we are indeed brothers and sisters. We live in a world that hates us, but we are not called to hate each other. Instead, we live in daily repentance and forgiveness, forgiving each other’s sins out of love just as Christ has forgiven us.

Heavenly Father, You desire that all men should love their neighbor. Abide in us, so that we may love our brothers and sisters and that all jealousy and strife cease between Your children; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

“Blessed are God’s sons and daughters,
Making peace where there is strife.
Blessed are the persecuted,
Who for righteousness lose life;
Their reward is great in heaven,
In the kingdom up above—
So be glad to share My suff’ring
And rejoice to know My love.” (LSB 932:3)

Mark Gaschler (Sem I, CTSFW)

Lent Devotion for April 3

Reading: 1 John 3:4–10

My older brother was and is one of my best friends. We got along great growing up and rarely fought. I wish I could say the same about my little brother. We were certainly friends too and had many, many great times together, so don’t misunderstand me there. But this particular passage from 1 John always convicted me.

I loved my brother because he was, after all, my brother. But too often I also harbored anger and hatred towards him. And here in plain text it says that the one who does not love his brother is a child of the devil. Tough words to swallow.

I am glad to say my brother and I get along great now. But I’m often reminded that my life as a believer has to be one of repentance and forgiveness. How many times did I have to forgive my brother? And how many times must I seek forgiveness from him? As many as there are sins. Our sinful natures too often put us at odds far more than it should have. But as those claimed by Christ, we were given the gift of reconciliation. Love your neighbor, and when you don’t, repent.

Heavenly Father, as You have loved us, may we love our brothers and sisters in Christ and our neighbors near and far; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease;
Then, bound to all in bonds of love,
Our lives will spread Your peace. (LSB 843:4)

Joseph Highley (Sem IV, CSL)