Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Sunday, April 11, 2021 — Second Sunday of Easter

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Sunday, April 11, 2021 — Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1—2:2; John 20:19-31
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®

Opening Statement

Fellowship is a term we toss around frequently in church life, but too often we simply mean chatting with friends during coffee hour. True Christian fellowship is a radical concept, as the communal life outlined in Acts illustrates. Notice that the power of the community lies in the willingness of its members to testify to Christ’s resurrection. In the gospel reading, the disciples are gathered together, but their focus is fear and doubt. Only when each one (including Thomas) is willing to testify to the resurrection is the stage set for the “great grace” that flows so freely in the Acts story—the story of a community gathered in one heart and soul.

Post Easter Hangover

It's the week after Easter. And some experience a “religious hangover.” But, what came alive through the events of Easter remain alive, present and available everyday, every hour and every second. Easter keeps happening!

Opening Prayer

Lord of Resurrection surprises, open our hearts this day to the presence of Jesus Christ. Erase our excuses for unbelief, and exchange them for strong witness to the power of your mercy and love. Give us courage and challenge us to walk the path of discipleship, knowing that Jesus goes before us, leading and guiding our steps. In his name, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Patient Lord, you wait for us to understand. You wait for us to remove the blinders of prejudice, fear, unbelief, confusion. You have offered to us the greatest miracle of all time, the resurrection of Your Son Jesus Christ. We sang and celebrated last Sunday, but a week has passed and we have slid back into our old ways of perceiving your presence and love. Shake us up, Lord! Shake us up and cause us to look with new eyes on our Savior, who came that we might have life, abundantly serving all who are in need. Forgive our stubbornness and our complacency. Reach out to us so that we may reach out with healing love to others, for we pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Let the stone of ignorance, stubbornness and fear be rolled away from your heart. Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! Know that his love is poured out for you, for your healing. Be at peace and Rejoice! Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Peter quotes Isaiah to remind believers of the great gift Christ has given us: “He was pierced for our transgressions…and by his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:5). On the Cross, Jesus paid the sin debt of every person who ever lived. And the moment we accept Him as our personal Savior, His provision is applied to our life—the full penalty of our transgressions removed forevermore.

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Acts of the Apostles
Acts 4:32-35
The Believers’ Common Life


4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Commentary
The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ's dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ's grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others' property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles' feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others.


A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 133
How Good It Is to Live In Unity


1 How good and pleasant it is
     when God’s people live together in unity!

2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
     running down on the beard,
  running down on Aaron’s beard,
     down on the collar of his robe.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
     were falling on Mount Zion.
  For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
     even life forevermore.


Commentary
We cannot say too much, it were well if enough could be said, to persuade people to live together in peace. It is good for us, for our honor and comfort; and brings constant delight to those who live in unity. The pleasantness of this is likened to the holy anointing oil. This is the fruit of the Spirit, the proof of our union with Christ, and adorns his gospel. It is profitable as well as pleasing; it brings blessings numerous as the drops of dew. It cools the scorching heat of men's passions, as the dews cool the air and refresh the earth. It moistens the heart, and makes it fit to receive the good seed of the word, and to make it fruitful. See the proof of the excellency of brotherly love: where brethren dwell together in unity, the Lord commands the blessing. God commands the blessing; man can but beg a blessing. Believers that live in love and peace, shall have the God of love and peace with them now, and they shall shortly be with him for ever, in the world of endless love and peace. May all who love the Lord forbear and forgive one another, as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven them.


A Reading from the Epistles
1 John 1:1—2:2
Walking in the Light


1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Commentary
Verses 1-4 of Ch 1 — That essential Good, that uncreated Excellence, which had been from the beginning, from eternity, as equal with the Father, and which at length appeared in human nature for the salvation of sinners, was the great subject concerning which the apostle wrote to his brethren. The apostles had seen Him while they witnessed his wisdom and holiness, his miracles, and love and mercy, during some years, till they saw him crucified for sinners, and afterwards risen from the dead. They touched him, so as to have full proof of his resurrection. This Divine Person, the Word of life, the Word of God, appeared in human nature, that he might be the Author and Giver of eternal life to mankind, through the redemption of his blood, and the influence of his new-creating Spirit. The apostles declared what they had seen and heard, that believers might share their comforts and everlasting advantages. They had free access to God the Father. They had a happy experience of the truth in their souls, and showed its excellence in their lives. This communion of believers with the Father and the Son, is begun and kept up by the influences of the Holy Spirit. The benefits Christ bestows, are not like the scanty possessions of the world, causing jealousies in others; but the joy and happiness of communion with God is all-sufficient, so that any number may partake of it; and all who are warranted to say, that truly their fellowship is with the Father, will desire to lead others to partake of the same blessedness.

Verses 5-10 of Ch 1— A message from the Lord Jesus, the Word of life, the eternal Word, we should all gladly receive. The great God should be represented to this dark world, as pure and perfect light. As this is the nature of God, his doctrines and precepts must be such. And as his perfect happiness cannot be separated from his perfect holiness, so our happiness will be in proportion to our being made holy. To walk in darkness, is to live and act against religion. God holds no heavenly fellowship or intercourse with unholy souls. There is no truth in their profession; their practice shows its folly and falsehood. The eternal Life, the eternal Son, put on flesh and blood, and died to wash us from our sins in his own blood, and procures for us the sacred influences by which sin is to be subdued more and more, till it is quite done away. While the necessity of a holy walk is insisted upon, as the effect and evidence of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, the opposite error of self-righteous pride is guarded against with equal care. All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice. Let us plead guilty before God, be humble, and willing to know the worst of our case. Let us honestly confess all our sins in their full extent, relying wholly on his mercy and truth through the righteousness of Christ, for a free and full forgiveness, and our deliverance from the power and practice of sin.

Verse 1-2 of Ch 2 — When have an Advocate with the Father; one who has undertaken, and is fully able, to plead in behalf of every one who applies for pardon and salvation in his name, depending on his pleading for them. He is “Jesus,” the Savior, and “Christ,” the Messiah, the Anointed. He alone is “the Righteous One,” who received his nature pure from sin, and as our Surety perfectly obeyed the law of God, and so fulfilled all righteousness. All men, in every land, and through successive generations, are invited to come to God through this all-sufficient atonement, and by this new and living way. The gospel, when rightly understood and received, sets the heart against all sin, and stops the allowed practice of it; at the same time it gives blessed relief to the wounded consciences of those who have sinned.


Today’s Gospel Reading
John 20:19-31
Beholding the Wounds of the Risen Christ

JOHN 20:19-31, NIV

Jesus Appears to His Disciples
20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Commentary
Verses 19-25 — This was the first day of the week, and this day is afterwards often mentioned by the sacred writers; for it was evidently set apart as the Christian sabbath, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. The disciples had shut the doors for fear of the Jews; and when they had no such expectation, Jesus himself came and stood in the midst of them, having miraculously, though silently, opened the doors. It is a comfort to Christ's disciples, when their assemblies can only be held in private, that no doors can shut out Christ's presence. When He manifests his love to believers by the comforts of his Spirit, he assures them that because he lives, they shall live also. A sight of Christ will gladden the heart of a disciple at any time; and the more we see of Jesus, the more we shall rejoice. He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, thus showing that their spiritual life, as well as all their ability for their work, would be derived from him, and depended upon him. Every word of Christ which is received in the heart by faith, comes accompanied by this Divine breathing; and without this there is neither light nor life. Nothing is seen, known, discerned, or felt of God, but through this. After this, Christ directed the apostles to declare the only method by which sin would be forgiven. This power did not exist at all in the apostles as a power to give judgment, but only as a power to declare the character of those whom God would accept or reject in the day of judgment. They have clearly laid down the marks whereby a child of God may be discerned and be distinguished from a false professor; and according to what they have declared shall every case be decided in the day of judgment. When we assemble in Christ's name, especially on his holy day, he will meet with us, and speak peace to us. The disciples of Christ should endeavor to build up one another in their most holy faith, both by repeating what they have heard to those that were absent, and by making known what they have experienced. Thomas limited the Holy One of Israel, when he would be convinced by his own method or not at all. He might justly have been left in his unbelief, after rejecting such abundant proofs. The fears and sorrows of the disciples are often lengthened, to punish their negligence.

Verses 26-29 — That one day in seven should be religiously observed, was an appointment from the beginning. And that, in the kingdom of the Messiah, the first day of the week should be that solemn day, was pointed out, in that Christ on that day once and again met his disciples in a religious assembly. The religious observance of that day has come down to us through every age of the church. There is not an unbelieving word in our tongues, nor thought in our minds, but it is known to the Lord Jesus; and he was pleased to accommodate himself even to Thomas, rather than leave him in his unbelief. We ought thus to bear with the weak, Romans 15:1, 2. This warning is given to all. If we are faithless, we are Christless and graceless, hopeless and joyless. Thomas was ashamed of his unbelief, and cried out, My Lord and my God. He spoke with affection, as one that took hold of Christ with all his might; “My Lord and my God.” Sound and sincere believers, though slow and weak, shall be graciously accepted of the Lord Jesus. It is the duty of those who read and hear the gospel, to believe, to embrace the doctrine of Christ, and that record concerning him, 1 John 5:11.

Verse 30-31 — There were other signs and proofs of our Lord's resurrection, but these were committed to writing, that all might believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Savior of sinners, and the Son of God; that, by this faith, they might obtain eternal life, by his mercy, truth, and power. May we believe that Jesus is the Christ, and believing may we have life through his name.


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

Lord of mercy, be with us as we go this day. Fill our lives with your love. Help us to bring the good news of hope and peace wherever we go. Let us truly be people of the Resurrection—the Easter people!

He is Risen
 
Christ the Lord is risen. 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 11, 2021 — Second Sunday of Easter
Fellowship is a term we toss around frequently in church life, but too often we simply mean chatting with friends during coffee hour. True Christian fellowship is a radical concept, as the communal life outlined in Acts illustrates. Notice that the power of the community lies in the willingness of its members to testify to Christ’s resurrection. In the gospel reading, the disciples are gathered together, but their focus is fear and doubt. Only when each one (including Thomas) is willing to testify to the resurrection is the stage set for the “great grace” that flows so freely in the Acts story—the story of a community gathered in one heart and soul.
Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1—2:2; John 20:19-31 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, April 11, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, April 11, 2021


Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:26 (NIV)

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for this day and for the protection you have given us. Grant that we may find our joy in your grace and in your love. Help us to become truer followers of Jesus, who came in your love. Be merciful to us and help all those who belong to you. You know them all and the thoughts of their hearts. You know their struggle on earth and the temptations that surround them. Help each one, also those who are still far away from you. Give them hearts open to your Word and to all you have promised. We entrust ourselves to your care this night. Help us and bless us. May your will be done in all things, also in the midst of all the sin and misery in the world. May your will be done on earth as in heaven, and may your kingdom come. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Saturday, April 11, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Sunday, April 11, 2021


1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Peter quotes Isaiah to remind believers of the great gift Christ has given us: “He was pierced for our transgressions…and by his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:5). On the Cross, Jesus paid the sin debt of every person who ever lived. And the moment we accept Him as our personal Savior, His provision is applied to our life—the full penalty of our transgressions removed forevermore.

Read all of 1 Peter 2

Listen to 1 Peter 2


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®