Sunday of the Ascension

Scripture Lessons

Acts 1:1-11

Ephesians 1:15-23

Luke 24:44-53

The Ascended Lord Jesus Is with Us Always in His Church on Earth

After He rose from the dead, the Lord Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles, “appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). When He ascended to the right hand of the Father, He did not orphan His Church, but He fills all things in heaven and on earth and gives gifts to His disciples. Even now, through His Church, He continues “to do and teach” (Acts 1:1), preaching “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47) even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Though the cloud hid Jesus from the sight of His disciples then, and He remains hidden from sight even now, He remains with His people through His Gospel and Sacraments. He comes to us by the Word of His apostles, by the promise of His Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit, whom He pours out upon “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22–23). In this holy Christian Church, we bless God and worship Christ with joy, for in His Church He blesses us with forgiveness, lifts us up in His hands and seats us with Himself “in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20).

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Lessons

Acts 17:16–31

1 Peter 3:13–22

John 14:15–21

The Lord Jesus Comforts Us with the Preaching of
His Resurrection

The God who … gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24–25) wants all people to seek Him that they might “feel their way toward him and find him” (Acts 17:27). But in our sinful ignorance, we humans turn instead to idols “formed by the art and imagination of man” (Acts 17:29). Therefore, God appointed the Man of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, and “has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Because He lives, we also live (John 14:19) in His forgiveness, and thus we love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15).

While the risen Lord prepares us for His ascension, He will not leave us “as orphans” (John 14:18), but He gives “another Helper,” the Holy Spirit, to be with us forever (John 14:16) through the preaching of “Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). Because He “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18), we “honor Christ the Lord as holy” and are always “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks” for the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15). Our Baptism “now saves” us “as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Lessons

Acts 6:1-97:251-60

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 10:1-10

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life

The risen Lord Jesus alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and we come “to the Father” only through Him (John 14:6). God is thus “glorified in the Son,” and those who believe in Him will do the works of Christ because He goes to the Father for us (John 14:12–14). Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “doing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8), did the works of Christ. When he was falsely accused and put to death, he “gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

Fixing his hope there, he commended his spirit to the Lord Jesus and prayed for his murderers. In the same way, all the baptized are called to follow the example of Christ Jesus by faith. Though He was “rejected by men” in the sight of God, He is “chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4). He is the chief cornerstone of the Father’s “spiritual house,” and we are built upon Him as “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Scripture Lessons

Acts 2:42-47

1 Peter 2:19-25

John 10:1-10

The Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus
Christ Is Our Good Shepherd

Although we “were straying like sheep,” the Lord Jesus Christ has willingly suffered and died for us, bearing our sins “in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24–25). We are healed by His wounds (1 Peter 2:24), and in His resurrection He gathers us to Himself as our Good Shepherd, by whose righteousness we “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Now through other shepherds whom He calls and sends in His name, He guards and keeps us in the green pastures of His Church, leading us beside the quiet waters of our Baptism and spreading the feast of His table before us.

Since He has called us by the Gospel to be His own dear sheep, we also “hear his voice” and “know his voice” (John 10:3–4) in the faithful preaching of His Gospel, and we follow Him by faith. When we receive His Gospel, we have the abundant life and common unity of the entire flock under one Good Shepherd, in “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship” and in “the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

Lenten Devotion: Burial Arrangements

…This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Luke 23:52).

Read Luke 23:50-56

As Jesus was dying He entrusted His spirit into His Father’s hands. But what would become of His lifeless body? The faithful believers and women stood at a distance to see what the soldiers would do. But unknown to them, God the Father was already making arrangements. He had chosen a man, Joseph, to be Jesus’ earthly father, to find a shelter and a manger at His birth. Now He provides another Joseph to arrange for Jesus’ proper burial.

Luke describes Joseph as a prominent member of the Jewish high court; he had not consented to its decision to destroy Jesus. Joseph trusted God’s promise to send His Son, and he had secretly come to believe Jesus was that Messiah. Now he boldly secures Pilate’s permission to take charge of Jesus’ lifeless body.

He takes Jesus’ body down, wraps it in linen, and lays it in a tomb as yet untouched by death’s decay and corruption. Then Joseph rolls a large stone-a flat, circular, upright slab-down in a groove in front of the entrance to the tomb.

Since the Sabbath is beginning, only the women follow Joseph to the tomb. They carefully note its location; they see how Jesus’ body was laid in it. In the few minutes left before the Sabbath, the women will buy spices and myrrh in preparation for the work they will do when the Sabbath is over. Early Sunday morning they will return to anoint His body for a proper burial.

THE PRAYER: Almighty God, You raised up Joseph to care for Your Son’s dead body. Thank You that You take note of all my needs-especially my need for forgiveness through Jesus my Savior. Amen.

*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.