Mark 16:1-8 “And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” (Mark 16:6–7)
Don’t be alarmed. Those words show up often in the Gospels. Here, at the sight of the empty tomb, the words are repeated. The disciples of Jesus are not to be afraid. Jesus was crucified for them. Jesus has risen for them as well. The angel says “just as He told you”. The Words and Promises of God happens just as He says. This is outstanding news for us – think of all the Words you have read this Lent during these devotions. They are happening for you just as He said. Fears? You don’t need to fear. Christ has been crucified. Christ has risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia. You are baptized into all of this. You have no need to fear the world around you – the situations that are ongoing in this valley of sorrow. Our Lord has washed you clean and made you His own. He has earned the forgiveness of sins. That means death, the wages of sin – what sin earns – it is gone as far from you as your sins are. Sin, which brings the devils evil mastery is gone, and with it the devils tyranny over you. And since you have no sins left and death has no claim on you and the devil can’t rule you – you have eternal salvation. The risen Lord Jesus is proof of this. He who took on the sins of the world lives. Death could not have Him. The devil could not rule Him. Eternal life is His as He comes out Easter morn to show Himself to the disciples and prepare His Church for her task of bringing this news to the world. Your baptism puts you right there. No more sin. No more death. No more devil. No more damnation. Your sins are forgiven. Your death is used to bring you eternal life. Your master loves you so much He did this all for you. Your eternal salvation is safe and secure by the Word and promise of the risen Lord, into whom you are baptized.
Lord Jesus Christ, You have baptized us to be your own. Help us out of all fears and to trust what You have told us in Your Word. Amen.
On this day, Jesus kept the Sabbath rest and extended His time in the tomb to fulfill His words that He would rise on the third day. It was necessary that Jesus remain in the grave on Saturday. But if baptism has joined us to Jesus’ death and resurrection, what does this day mean for us in terms of our baptism?
So forget how powerful your sinful flesh can seem at times and take Jesus at His Word. His Word says that baptism joined you to His death. Your sinful nature is dying. Jesus cannot lie. And finally Jesus will bring the sinful flesh to its end, and you will live before Him in righteousness and purity forever.
The devil teaches heretics to scoff, “It’s just a handful of water. What’s that going to do?” But the devil cowers before that handful of water, because he knows that handful of water is Jesus’ handful of water. The devil can imitate and mock baptism all he wants, but he can’t come close to it and, in the end, must flee before it.
And so, if we’re tempted and prevail, we give thanks to Jesus for baptizing us and giving us the Holy Spirit. If we’re tempted and fail, we give thanks to Jesus for baptizing us and covering our sin with His righteousness. Therefore, at all times we thank Jesus for the glorious gift of baptism.
“The garments of salvation” and “the robe of righteousness” are Jesus Himself. “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Jesus treads on our garments because He brings a better one: Himself, with whom we were clothed when we were baptized.
Here the Lord shows us His two words He speaks to mankind: His Law and His Gospel. The Law is God’s eternal will for mankind, and it shows us our sin. The Gospel is God’s gracious promise to save us through His Son. Here God reveals His will for man, and He shows us through simple arithmetic what He desires for us.
Daily we repent of our sins, daily we believe in Jesus Christ crucified for our forgiveness, and daily we walk in newness of life, presenting our members to God as instruments for righteousness, until that day when the Old Adam finally perishes, and we are perfectly and eternally renewed.
Christ does not hold out on you. He did not hold out on this poor woman. Your Jesus has given you the very words to pray in these times: “but deliver us from evil.” And He does. Not because of any worthiness of you, but of His own divine love and mercy. As dogs we beg, but we are lifted from our groveling on the floor like children, lifted to see Jesus face to face. Christ does not give to the dogs His blessings, He gives them to you. Many are His gifts.
Don’t only look at the water. Listen. Listen to God’s command. God’s command might seem silly, it might seem stupid, but remember this. If God commanded something great, you’d do it. And now, Christ commands something very simple for all the nations. Thanks be to God for this simple command, that we might be washed and be clean!
You are baptized (if you aren’t go talk to a Lutheran pastor). That is more valuable than anything else in your life. There is no amount of wealth, pleasure, influence, bodily health, governmental favor, or any other thing of this life that can compare to it. God grant that you treasure it, that your hearts may be found in such a treasure, trusting in God’s promises in baptism this Lent
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, You graciously have kept me Each night and day ‘gainst ev’ry host And heard this sinner’s earnest plea. Forgive my sins where I’ve done wrong, Angelic guards send, hear my song! Let Satan have no power o’er me! (Original PJC 2020, modeled after Luther’s Evening Prayer and TLH 260). Amen.
Thy truth defend, O God, and stay This evil generation; And from the error of their way Keep Thine own congregation. The wicked everywhere abound And would Thy little flock con-found; But Thou art our Salvation (TLH260:6). Amen.
O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shield and protects us from harm in the midst of trials that purify us as silver from all adulteration. Grant us endurance through Your Word for each temptation. Grant that we be salt and light that every nation may trust and praise the Crucified (Based on TLH260:5). Amen.
O Holy Spirit, continue to call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify the whole Christian Church on earth, keep us with Jesus Christ in the one true faith, root out all heresy and rid us of all false teachers who own no lord or master (Based on LSC, Creed, Third Article and TLH260:3). Amen.
LSB 954: 2 We all believe in Jesus Christ,
His own Son, our Lord, possessing
An equal Godhead, throne, and might,
Source of ev’ry grace and blessing;
Born of Mary, virgin mother,
By the power of the Spirit,
Word made flesh, our elder brother;
That the lost might life inherit,
Was crucified for all our sin
And raised by God to life again.
O Lord, [Heavenly Father,] look down from heaven, behold And let Thy pity waken: How few are we within Thy Fold, Thy saints by men forsaken! True faith seems quenched on ev’ry hand, Men suffer not Thy Word to stand; Dark times have us o'ertaken (TLH 260:1). Amen.
Immortal honor, endless fame attend the almighty Father’s name; the Savior-Son be glorified, who for all humankind has died; to You, O Paraclete, we raise unending songs of thanks and praise. Amen. (LSB 500:4)
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, with all Your graces now outpoured on each believer’s mind and heart; Your fervent love to them impart. Lord, by the brightness of Your light in holy faith Your Church unite; from every land and every tongue this to Your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung: Alleluia, alleluia! Amen. (LSB 497:1)
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
The Holy Spirit is not our first or only Counselor, Helper, and Comforter. Jesus promised to send them “another Paraclete.” By this He teaches us that He Himself is our Paraclete as well, to whom the Holy Spirit bears witness and from whom He speaks: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)
Creator Spirit, by whose aid the world’s foundations first were laid, come, visit every humble mind; come, pour Your joys on humankind; from sin and sorrow set us free; may we Your living temples be. Amen. (LSB 500:1)
Dear Jesus, come soon. I am weak and often stumble and I tremble on the way, and like a sheep too easily go astray, but You are my shepherd. You are my Lord. You have made me Your new creation. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. So I will praise You with the joy that You pour into my heart. Amen.
Paschal Victim, paschal bread. He is the Passover sacrifice or victim. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Paschal is the Greek for Passover. It is our feast. We are Israel, and the Lamb that was sacrificed as the victim of all our sins is now given to us for food, for our souls to eat and our mouths to eat, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God that this Lamb has brought to us.
Luther sings elsewhere, “Do this, O ye of Israel’s seed, / Ye of the Spirit born indeed! / Wait for your Lord’s appearing.” You wait with your baptism comforting you with the truth that you have been clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27). You have passed out of slavery to sin and into the glorious freedom of the sons of God, the freedom to pour out all your anxieties to Him whose comforts delight your soul more than any earthly joy. You wait with the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. You are safe in the Church, though death and Covid and cancer and all that kills and ruins life is stalking outside your door, yet you are safe, because you feast on the flesh that bore your sin, and you satisfy your thirst with the blood that tells you God is at peace with you and loves you and is pleased with you for Christ’s sake.
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26–28, ESV)
“Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”—Acts 1:7-8
When Elijah ascended he left his cloak and Elisha took it up. When Christ ascended his cross, his garments were dispersed among his assailants. But when Christ ascended into heaven, he left not merely an article of clothing, but the mysteries of heaven, his Word and Sacraments, His Law and Gospel, and with the promise of his presence and sending of his helper.
“We have this a glorious comfort in this salutary teaching, that we know how we have been chosen for life in Christ out of sheer grace, without any merit of our own, and that no one can tear us out of his hand. For he has assured us that he has graciously chosen us not only with mere words. He has corroborated this with an oath and sealed it with the holy sacraments (Ep. XI:13).”
Enter your home tonight and gather your family. Open to the Lord’s Prayer and pray at least one petition in greater detail. Enjoin your hearts in the one Spirit and petition as dear children ask their dear Father.
We are saved by God’s mercy and truth in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let us speak these truths boldly and joyfully, knowing that we glorify our God when we speak them. If the world does not believe, so what? God is still glorified. Stephen’s bold confession did not save a single one of his hearers and he was stoned to death for it. Does that mean that his confession was worthless? Of course not! He praised and glorified God! He fulfilled the first table of the Law by faith in the One Who loved him and gave Himself up for him. Not unto us, not unto us, but to Your Name, O Jesus, give glory and honor!
Dear Jesus, You blessed those who have not seen and yet believed. Increase our faith through times of trouble and tribulation. Help us to cling, not to circumstances or to worldly props, but to your sure prophetic Word, our light in the deep darkness of this benighted vale of sorrow and death. Keep us in the true faith, until faith finally gives way to sight, when we shall see you face to face and be as You are. Amen.
If Jesus was not my God and Lord, He would be scary and terrible. I would flee from Him; I would ask the mountains to cover and hide me to no avail. But Jesus’ precious blood and innocent death redeemed me. These bought me back. I was bought with a price. I belong to Jesus. You belong to Jesus. And if you belong to Jesus, He will certainly save you. Psalm 119:94 sums up this thought: “I am Yours, save me.”
Thomas did not lose his courage when he received faith. Rather, Christ then used Thomas’ courage in the expansion of His kingdom. This is true for us too. God uses our natural gifts and affections, which are put in subjection to Christ, for His glory and our neighbor’s service.
When we are afraid, let us hear once again those wonderful words of Jesus: “Peace be with you.” Through the death of Jesus, we need not fear anything. Fear involves torment. But Jesus has taken all of our torment upon Himself. Every secret shame and every punishment which we deserved, He carried to the cross. We now have peace. We have peace with God; we have peace with Jesus. Even when we face death, we can and are at peace, for Christ has turned our death into the gateway to immortal life.
Heavenly Father, You have implanted in us a natural affection for our family and friends. Sanctify this love, so that we might not love anything more than You. Bring to remembrance the words of Jesus, so that by faith, we might truly and rightly love one another and our Lord. Amen.
Dear Jesus, You have defeated the grave for us, turning it from a treacherous enemy into the safe door through which we enter into eternal life. Keep us firm in the true faith, that enduring to the end, we may receive the blessings of Your salvation. Amen.
When we die, when we must give up our soul and depart this life, we do not commend our soul to a stranger. We certainly do not commend our soul to an enemy. Rather, we commend our soul to Jesus Christ, who called us to eternal life in His Word and will raise our mortal body to be reunited with our soul in immortality and eternal life. In that life to come, there is only peace and joy. There, it is eternally safe, eternally blessed.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! – Job 19:25-27
What faith knows it knows only by the Word of God, which is more sure and more certain than anything we learn by sight or experience. The Christian learns that what God reveals to him must be known and discerned by faith and not by sight. So it is with the resurrection of the body – what we know by faith overrides what we know by sight and experience. Our bodies will return to the ground (unless the Lord returns first), but we know by faith that He will raise that body to eternal life.
Lord Jesus Christ, graciously our faith renew; help us bear our crosses, learning humbleness from You, peace mid pain and losses, may we give You love for love, hear us O our Savior, that we may in heaven above, sing your praise forever. Amen (adapted from the last stanza of “Jesus I will Ponder Now”)
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19–25, ESV)
5 The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.
Dear Jesus, help us to always trust in You and Your work of atonement for our victory over sin, death, and the devil. Help us look to you when tempted to be fearful like the unbelievers are, and to know that we are as secure and safe as we ever shall be because of Your finished work at Calvary. Amen.
Easter Sunday is the public spectacle of Christ’s victory. It is a testimony of His power to save – that in fact Christ has done everything needed to accomplish salvation. The grave, that final opponent is defeated and cannot stand against Christ, and by implication the grave cannot stand against those who belong to Christ. You have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, you have new life by the forgiveness of sins. Christ shares His victory with you – not only at the Last Day, but even now each day in your baptized life – daily dying to sin and rising again to newness of life.
Dear Jesus, thank You for earning our salvation and rising from the grave. Help us to look to you for our eternal joy no matter our earthly situation. Help us to fear the grave as little as our beds. Amen.
Dear Lord, Thine were the works, Thine was the love, Thine the sacrifice, the blood, that saved me and brought me into communion with Thee. Grant me to always thank Thee and to behold Thee in heaven with eyes unclouded. Amen
Unto life Thou shalt arouse me
By Thy resurrection's pow'r;
Though the hideous grave shall house me,
And my flesh the worms devour;
Fire and water may destroy
My frail body, yet with joy
I shall rise as Thou hast risen
From the deep sepulchral prison.
Thou hast died for my transgression,
All my sins on Thee were laid;
Thou hast won for me salvation,
On the cross my debt was paid.
From the grave I shall arise
And shall meet Thee in the skies.
Death itself is transitory;
I shall lift my head in glory.
Though I be by sin o'ertaken,
Though I lie in helplessness,
Though I be by friends forsaken
And must suffer sore distress,
Though I be despised, contemned,
And by all the world condemned,
Though the dark grave yawn before me,
Yet the light of hope shines o'er me.
Thanks to Thee, O Christ victorious!
Thanks to Thee, O Lord of life!
Death hath now no power o'er us,
Thou hast conquered in the strife.
Thanks because Thou didst arise
And hast opened Paradise!
None can fully sing the glory
Of the resurrection story.