Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Sunday, April 18, 2021 — Third Sunday of Easter

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Sunday, April 18, 2021 — Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7;
Luke 24:36b-48 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Opening Statement

In the midst of the joy and exuberance of Easter, this Sunday’s readings allow us to consider our sinfulness, our doubts and our weakness. This is not to weigh us down, but to bring us peace and encourage us to live the new life won for us.

In the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is gentle with those responsible for the death of the ‘Prince of life’. They must now turn back to God.

The Psalm is both a cry for help and a song of hope and trust.

John, in the Second Reading, speaks of Christ as our Advocate with the Father. Not only does he take our sins away, he fills us with God’s love.

Jesus appears to his doubting disciples in the Gospel. He reassures them by inviting them to touch him and by eating with them, before increasing their understanding and hinting at their mission.

Jesus Is Alive

Opening Prayer

Lord of Light and Mercy, be with us this day as we again read the stories of faith and sight. Help us to believe in your abiding presence with us, both in our darkness and in the light which you bring. Give us courage and strength to witness to your resurrection. For we offer this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious God, you give to us your greatest gift, Your Son Jesus Christ, as we still don’t understand what is going on. You call us to be people of courage and hope; and yet we run and hide, doubting and fearing. You challenge us to proclaim our faith; but we huddle in darkness whispering our words of discouragement. Shake us up, Lord! Forgive us when we seem to need prodding over and over again. Help us to see the presence of Jesus in our lives; and remind us of all that He taught us, to help us to live as disciples, serving you by serving others. Change us! Remold us! Make us truly the disciples you have called us to be. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Do not be afraid. The Light of God has vanquished the darkness! Christ is risen! Doubts are erased. Rejoice! God’s love is poured upon you, now and forever. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Salvation can only come through faith in Jesus Christ. You confess it with your mouth to put your faith into action and to affirm that you are accountable to Jesus Christ, who is now your Lord. You also believe in your heart that He has triumphed over death. This means He not only has the ability to save you, but He has the authority to lead you and the wisdom to transform you.

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Acts of the Apostles
Acts 3:12-19
Health and Forgiveness Through Jesus


3:12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

Commentary
Observe the difference in the manner of working the miracles. Our Lord always spoke as having Almighty power, never hesitated to receive the greatest honor that was given to him on account of his Divine miracles. But the apostles referred all to their Lord, and refused to receive any honor, except as his undeserving instruments. This shows that Jesus was one with the Father, and co-equal with Him; while the apostles knew that they were weak, sinful men, and dependent for every thing on Jesus, whose power effected the cure. Useful men must be very humble. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name, give glory. Every crown must be cast at the feet of Christ. The apostle showed the Jews the greatness of their crime, but would not anger or drive them to despair. Assuredly, those who reject, refuse, or deny Christ, do it through ignorance; but this can in no case be an excuse.


A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 4
God does Wonders for the Faithful


1 Answer me when I call to you,
     my righteous God.
  Give me relief from my distress;
     have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
     How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
     the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 Tremble and do not sin;
     when you are on your beds,
     search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
     and trust in the Lord.

6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
     Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
     when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
     for you alone, Lord,
     make me dwell in safety.


Commentary
Verses 1-5 — Hear me for thy mercy-sake, is our best plea. He who will not ask such blessings as pardon, and justifying righteousness, and eternal life, must perish for the want of them. Alas! that so many should make so fearful a choice. The psalmist warns against sin. Keep up holy reverence of the glory and majesty of God. You have a great deal to say to your hearts, they may be spoken with, let it not be unsaid. Examine them by serious self-reflection; let your thoughts fasten upon that which is good, and keep close to it. Consider your ways, and before you turn to sleep at night, examine your consciences with respect to what you have done in the day; particularly what you have done amiss, that you may repent of it. When you awake in the night, meditate upon God, and the things that belong to your peace. Upon a sick-bed, particularly, we should consider our ways. Be still. When you have asked conscience a question, be serious, be silent, wait for an answer. Open not the mouth to excuse sin. All confidence must be put in God. Honor him, by trusting in him only: therefore, after commanding the sacrifices of righteousness, the psalmist says, Put your trust in the Lord.

Verses 6-8 — Worldly people inquire for good, not for the chief good; all they want is outward good, present good, partial good, good meat, good drink, a good trade, and a good estate; but what are all these worth? Any good will serve the turn of most men, but a gracious soul will not be put off so. Lord, let us have thy favor, and let us know that we have it, we desire no more; let us be satisfied of thy loving-kindness, and will be satisfied with it. Many inquire after happiness, but David had found it. When God puts grace in the heart, he puts gladness in the heart. Thus comforted, he pitied, but neither envied nor feared the most prosperous sinner. He commits all his affairs to God, and is prepared to welcome his holy will. But salvation is in Christ alone; where will those appear who despise him as their Mediator, and revile him in his disciples? May they stand in awe, and no longer sin against the only remedy.


A Reading from the Epistles
1 John 3:1-7
The Revealing of the Children of God


3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Commentary
Verses 1-2 — Little does the world know of the happiness of the real followers of Christ. Little does the world think that these poor, humble, despised ones, are favorites of God, and will dwell in heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content with hard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, where their Lord was so badly treated before them. The sons of God must walk by faith, and live by hope. They may well wait in faith, hope, and earnest desire, for the revelation of the Lord Jesus. The sons of God will be known, and be made manifest by likeness to their Head. They shall be transformed into the same image, by their view of him.

Verses 3-7 — The sons of God know that their Lord is of purer eyes than to allow any thing unholy and impure to dwell with him. It is the hope of hypocrites, not of the sons of God, that makes allowance for gratifying impure desires and lusts. May we be followers of him as his dear children, thus show our sense of his unspeakable mercy, and express that obedient, grateful, humble mind which becomes us. Sin is the rejecting the Divine law. In him, that is, in Christ, was no sin. All the sinless weaknesses that were consequences of the fall, he took; that is, all those infirmities of mind or body which subject man to suffering, and expose him to temptation. But our moral infirmities, our proneness to sin, he had not. He that abides in Christ, continues not in the practice of sin. Renouncing sin is the great proof of spiritual union with, continuance in, and saving knowledge of the Lord Christ.


Today’s Gospel Reading
Luke 24:36b-48
Eating with the Risen Christ

Luke 24v36-53

24:36b Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Commentary
Jesus appeared in a miraculous manner, assuring the disciples of his peace, though they had so lately forsaken him, and promising spiritual peace with every blessing. Many troublesome thoughts which disquiet our minds, rise from mistakes concerning Christ. All the troublesome thoughts which rise in our hearts at any time, are known to the Lord Jesus, and are displeasing to him. He spake with them on their unreasonable unbelief. Nothing had passed but what was foretold by the prophets, and necessary for the salvation of sinners. And now all men should be taught the nature and necessity of repentance, in order to the forgiveness of their sins. And these blessings were to be sought for, by faith in the name of Jesus. Christ by his Spirit works on the minds of men. Even good men need to have their understandings opened. But that we may have right thoughts of Christ, there needs no more than to be made to understand the Scriptures.


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

O Lord, as you have made disciples of us, now you send us into the world to make disciples of others. Go with us and be our guide, that the witness of our lives may confirm the testimony of our lips.

Changed Our Work After Easter

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 Morning Prayer for Sunday, April 18, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Sunday, April 18, 2021


I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Revelation 3:8 (NIV)

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that you know us all and that you look deep into our hearts, watching over us in everything we go through, whether easy or difficult. We thank you that we do not stand alone but that you hear the smallest sigh of each of your children. We thank you that darkness must give way to light, distress to joy, and fear to strength and courage. For you lead us through everything; it is what you bring about from your future world, not anything within our sight, that gives us strength and courage and that endures through everything. We thank you from our hearts for your unending gifts, and we are amazed that it was possible for us to receive all this from you. Protect us and keep us childlike, so that we remain in the fellowship that the Lord Jesus has given us, singing praise to him and to the glory and honor of your name. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Saturday, April 18, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Sunday, April 18, 2021


Romans 10:9-10
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Salvation can only come through faith in Jesus Christ. You confess it with your mouth to put your faith into action and to affirm that you are accountable to Jesus Christ, who is now your Lord. You also believe in your heart that He has triumphed over death. This means He not only has the ability to save you, but He has the authority to lead you and the wisdom to transform you.

Read all of Romans 10

Listen to Romans 10


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®