Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Sunday, April 4, 2021 — Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Sunday, April 4, 2021

Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4;
John 20:1-18
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®

Opening Statement
 
Resurrection—new life! This is the heart of the Christian message and what we are called to witness to at all times. On this glorious feast day, we celebrate God’s steadfast love, God conquering fear and death, and the fact that this message is for everyone. With Paul and Peter, this day is a chance to affirm the basis of our beliefs. We need also to recover that sense of grief and despair that brings Mary to the garden in order to fully understand and participate in the astonishment and joy at finding her beloved, risen from the dead. This possibility of encountering the Risen Christ is there for all of us to experience. It is this active, risen presence that needs to come through our liturgies for today.

Easter

Our world was lost to sin for many years. People were broken and empty. But throughout scripture a promise was made of a Savior that would conquer sin and bring salvation. That promise was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. God sacrificed His son so that we may have freedom from sin. Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb for three days. But rose to life on that third day. We know this turning point in history as Easter. Salvation through Jesus Christ is not possible without the resurrection.

Opening Prayer
 
O God, bless us this morning with resurrection rampage—a rampage that summons us to shout yes to the birth of new creation in our midst. May we experience the birthquakes of new life in our lives and in our congregation. The Son is up! And we are up with the Son, despite all those things that seek to pull us down to despair. We are your Easter people. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
 
We have to admit it, Lord, that we had our doubts. We have heard the Resurrection story and for so many years it has remained just a nice story. But this time it is different. This time we have walked the path with Christ. We have journeyed through the wilderness and valleys, to the mountaintops to the courtyard, the garden and the cross. Now you bring us to the empty tomb and to the joyous news of the truth of Christ. Forgive us when we so easily doubt the truth of his resurrection. Forgive us when we feel we have to have absolute proof of everything. Your love in Jesus Christ is all the proof we need. You conquered death and sin, you brought us to new life. We praise your holy name and sing our unending song of hope and thanksgiving.

Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia. Amen.

Words of Assurance
 
Come into the light of God’s love! Christ is risen! Death has been swallowed up in victory! Know beyond all doubt that God’s love is always with you, surrounding you, leading you, comforting you. Be at peace. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
The Cross is not a place of tragedy, but the site of the believer’s greatest victory. This is because it is the place where the Lord Jesus Christ took our sin debt upon Himself and canceled it with His blood—redeeming us forever. No longer did we have to bear the terrible penalty of our sins (Rom. 6:23). No longer were we hopelessly enslaved by our transgressions (Rom. 6:5–7). Instead, because of the riches of His grace on the Cross, we have true, lasting freedom forever.

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Acts of the Apostles
Acts 10:34-43
God Raised Jesus on the Third Day


10:34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Commentary
Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel, which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all, God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the testimony given by them. See what must be believed concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our Judge; so every one must seek his favor, and to have him as our Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a foundation for all other favors and blessings, by taking that out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be pardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever.


A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
On This Day God Has Acted


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
     his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
     “His love endures forever.”

14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
     he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
     resound in the tents of the righteous:
   “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16   The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
     the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
     but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
     I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
     through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
     you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
     has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
     and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
     let us rejoice today and be glad.


Commentary
Verses 1-18 — God is sometimes the strength of his people, when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports, though they want spiritual delights. Whether the believer traces back his comfort to the everlasting goodness and mercy of God, or whether he looks forward to the blessing secured to him, he will find abundant cause for joy and praise. Every answer to our prayers is an evidence that the Lord is on our side; and then we need not fear what man can do unto us; we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust in him alone to accept and bless us. Let us seek to live to declare the works of God, and to encourage others to serve him and trust in him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.

Verses 19-24 — Those who saw Christ's day at so great a distance, saw cause to praise God for the prospect. The prophecy, Psalm 118:22, 23, may refer to David's preferment; but principally to Christ. 1. His humiliation; he is the Stone which the builders refused: they would go on in their building without him. This proved the ruin of those who thus made light of him. Rejecters of Christ are rejected of God. 2. His exaltation; he is the chief Cornerstone in the foundation. He is the chief Top-stone, in whom the building is completed, who must, in all things, have the pre-eminence. Christ's name is Wonderful; and the redemption he wrought out is the most amazing of all God's wondrous works. We will rejoice and be glad in the Lord's day; not only that such a day is appointed, but in the occasion of it, Christ's becoming the Head. Sabbath days ought to be rejoicing days, then they are to us as the days of heaven. Let this Savior be my Savior, my Ruler. Let my soul prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which his government brings. Let me have victory over the lusts that war against my soul; and let Divine grace subdue my heart. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. The psalmist praises God, and calls upon all about him to give thanks to God for the glad tidings of great joy to all people, that there is a Redeemer, even Christ the Lord. In him the covenant of grace is made sure and everlasting.


A Reading from the Epistles
Colossians 3:1-4
Witnesses to the Risen Christ


3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Commentary
As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other. Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory. To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him. The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does. At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?


Today’s Gospel Reading
John 20:1-18
Seeing the Risen Christ


The Empty Tomb
20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Commentary
Verses 1-10 — If Christ gave his life a ransom, and had not taken it again, it would not have appeared that his giving it was accepted as satisfaction. It was a great trial to Mary, that the body was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter of complaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter of joy. It is well when those more honored than others with the privileges of disciples, are more active than others in the duty of disciples; more willing to take pains, and run hazards, in a good work. We must do our best, and neither envy those who can do better, nor despise those who do as well as they can, though they come behind. The disciple whom Jesus loved in a special manner, and who therefore in a special manner loved Jesus, was foremost. The love of Christ will make us to abound in every duty more than any thing else. He that was behind was Peter, who had denied Christ. A sense of guilt hinders us in the service of God. As yet the disciples knew not the Scripture; they Christ must rise again from the dead.

Verses 11-18 — We are likely to seek and find, when we seek with affection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of the clouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of grace for humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearing Christ to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will not suffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God's smiles in him. None know, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a deserted soul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God in Christ, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks in darkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, in manifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes their expectations. See how Mary's heart was in earnest to find Jesus. Christ's way of making himself known to his people is by his word; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them in particular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with what pleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them. He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further, than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God, from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature, Christ's Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the human nature, our God is his God. Christ's ascension into heaven, there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Let them not think this earth is to be their home and rest; their eye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world, and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seek the things which are above. And let those who know the word of Christ, endeavor that others should get good from their knowledge.


Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
 
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.

Benediction

We have come from darkness and despair to hope and joy. We have been transformed by new life. Go forth to witness and to testify to the message of hope we have received this day.

Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Easter Is Here

Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia. Amen.


The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Bible Readings for Sunday, April 4, 2021 — Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day
Resurrection—new life! This is the heart of the Christian message and what we are called to witness to at all times. On this glorious feast day, we celebrate God’s steadfast love, God conquering fear and death, and the fact that this message is for everyone. With Paul and Peter, this day is a chance to affirm the basis of our beliefs. We need also to recover that sense of grief and despair that brings Mary to the garden in order to fully understand and participate in the astonishment and joy at finding her beloved, risen from the dead. This possibility of encountering the Risen Christ is there for all of us to experience. It is this active, risen presence that needs to come through our liturgies for today.
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, April 4, 2020 — Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Resurrection of the Lord
Easter Day

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him…I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One.”
John 1:32, 34 (NIV)

Our Father in heaven, as your children may we truly receive something from you to bring our lives into a living bond with you. Grant that we may overcome everything harmful and evil. May it be given to us to help that your kingdom may come closer and closer, that your will may be done, and Jesus Christ, your Son, may be recognized as the light of the world for the salvation of all people and their deliverance from all evil. Protect us and grant that your Spirit may remain with us. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Saturday, April 3, 2021 — Resurrection of the Lord, Easter Day

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Resurrection of the Lord
Easter Day

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
The Cross is not a place of tragedy, but the site of the believer’s greatest victory. This is because it is the place where the Lord Jesus Christ took our sin debt upon Himself and canceled it with His blood—redeeming us forever. No longer did we have to bear the terrible penalty of our sins (Rom. 6:23). No longer were we hopelessly enslaved by our transgressions (Rom. 6:5–7). Instead, because of the riches of His grace on the Cross, we have true, lasting freedom forever.

Read all of Ephesians 1

Listen to Ephesians 1


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®