Daily Devotions
Today's Devotion
» Devotion - April 17, 2014

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.

Luke 22:7-8

The title “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “commandment.” The word appears in the Latin translation of John 13:34, where Jesus said to his disciples: “A new commandment (mandatum) I give you: Love one another.”

While Jesus truly did give his followers that great command on the night before Good Friday, Maundy Thursday is most memorable for its “suppers.”

On the night before his death, the Lord Jesus gathered with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. The Passover meal was an annual festival held to commemorate how God at the time of Moses delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 12 tells how God, to protect his people from death in Egypt, instructed every Israelite household to take an unblemished year-old male lamb and slaughter it. The Israelites were to paint the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes, and roast the lamb whole and eat it. God promised that when he saw the blood of lambs marking the homes of the Israelites he would “pass over” their homes and spare them from the death coming upon Egypt.

The Passover meal foreshadowed a far greater deliverance from a far worse slavery through a much better lamb. Just as God saw the people of Israel living as slaves in Egypt and doomed to die there, so he saw all people living as slaves to sin and doomed to die eternally.

But God had a plan to deliver his people. That plan also focused on a lamb, but not one from the flocks of Israel. This Lamb was God’s own Lamb, his own dear Son Jesus Christ. This Lamb would deliver a world of sinners from their slavery to sin and death by dying on the cross.

Because the true Passover Lamb had now come to take away the sins of the world, the Passover that Jesus ate with his disciples on Maundy Thursday was indeed the “last supper” of its kind. During that meal, the Lord instituted a new supper to replace the Passover. That new supper is the Sacrament of Holy Communion, or as it is often called, “the Lord’s Supper.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus took some of the bread from the Passover meal, gave thanks and gave it to his disciples saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.” He also took a cup of the wine that was used for the Passover and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Drink from it all of you. This is my blood which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus made it clear that he wants his followers to continue celebrating this Supper until he returns and brings the world to an end.

Together with the bread, Jesus gives us his body that bore the punishment for our guilt. Together with the wine, Jesus gives us his blood that was sacrificed to free us from our sins. Our Lord does this to assure us that the death in hell we deserved has passed over us; through Jesus we have life—eternal life! Indeed, with believing hearts we rejoice to receive the Lord’s Supper often for the tremendous blessings that we have through Jesus: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

Prayer: 

Our Savior Jesus Christ, you are the Passover Lamb who rescued us from eternal death by sacrificing your body and shedding your blood for us. As we receive your true body and blood in the Supper you instituted, nourish our faith, cheer our hearts, and strengthen our wills to live for your glory. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - April 16, 2014

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:9-10


If enemies of a nation are strong, the people rejoice to see a strong ruler take over. Maybe he will be able to defeat their enemies!

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, people imagined that he was the one who could defeat their enemies. But it gave them pause to see him gentle and riding on a donkey. That didn’t really exude power. And later, when they saw him hanging on a cross, they really had to wonder.

My enemies are strong. I can’t escape death. Sometimes it seems like I can postpone it for a while, but you never know. And just when I think I have conquered some sin in my life, another one pops up and gives me trouble. In fact, there are so many things that go wrong that some evil force like the devil must be behind them. Why does God allow such things?
 
I am directed to look to Jesus, hanging on a cross. Since he was righteous, he did not deserve to hang there. But God allowed it! He allowed this injustice so that Jesus could defeat my enemies.

Jesus took my place in death and hell. Now, even when my body and soul separate, I know that my soul goes straight to heaven through faith in Jesus. I will never have to suffer hell with the devil. He is defeated.

Jesus rose from the dead. That is all the proof that I need to know that I have peace with God the Father, and that peace could only exist if all of my sins are forgiven. That peace extends to all who believe in Jesus as Savior, all the way to the ends of the earth.

That peace also gives me strength to struggle against sin as long as I live. I know that I will not be perfect this side of heaven, but sin no longer has to have mastery over me. Jesus has defeated it.

Prayer: 

I rejoice greatly, O Lord, that you have defeated my enemies. Give me eyes of faith to see your victory as you hung on the cross and rose from the dead. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - April 15, 2014

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8


The owner of a large corporation decides to step out of his luxurious 87th floor office, exchange his $3000 suit for a work uniform, and position himself behind the counter of one of his restaurants. He is not there to figure out better ways to run his business and save money. His goal is to gain first-hand experience of what it is like to work at the very lowest level of his company.

Such an attitude of humility! Such a heart for service! It makes for a great news story, even a captivating reality-TV show. 

The Lord of the Universe, the Creator of everything that exists decides to step down from his heavenly throne, exchange the glory that is rightfully his for human flesh and blood, and position himself in the very world he created. He is not there to simply see how things are going or even gain first-hand experience of what life is like in this world. His goal is to save you from your sins and their damning punishment.

In order to accomplish this, he not only humbles himself to become a real human being, he lowers himself all the way to death, and a most painful and humiliating death—death on a cross. 

It is not a death he deserves. He never did anything wrong. Yet, he willingly takes your place and accepts it because it is what you deserve for your sins. As he dies, his Father in heaven turns his back on him because he has covered himself with your sins. Now, the Father will never turn away from you because your sins have been removed.

Such humility! Such a servant’s heart! Such love for you! It is the greatest story there is! And it’s not a fairy-tale. It is very real. Jesus willingly humbled himself, stepped down from his throne in heaven, set aside his glory, and became a human being just like you. His purpose—to be punished in your place and die so that you can live with him forever.

Prayer: 

Dearest Jesus, thank you for your servant-heart. Thank you for loving me enough to die for me. Fill my heart with joy and peace and motivate me to humbly serve those around me. In your name I ask it. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - April 14, 2014

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"

The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee!"
Matthew 21:10-11

Crusader or Christ?

Who is Jesus? This was the question asked by the crowds. Some knew Jesus as the prophet from Galilee. Still others didn't know who Jesus was. While there were many possible answers to the question, there was one distinct hope. People wanted Jesus to be a crusader.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, people welcomed him as a king. They waved palm branches. They heralded him as an heir of David's royal line. And they hoped he would lead a crusade to throw off the power of the Roman Empire.

Not much has changed since Jesus entered Jerusalem. People still ask the same question, "Who is Jesus?" Many also have their hopes and expectations. Some want Jesus to be a prophet offering wisdom for life. Others want him to be a role model of upstanding moral quality. Still others want him to be a crusader. They desperately want him to right wrongs, to bring order to chaos, and to offer peace instead of war.

So who is Jesus? It is a question for which I need a clear answer. If I believe Jesus is simply a political crusader, I will be disappointed and eventually reject him. On the other hand, if I believe he is the promised Christ from God, I will not be disappointed and will gladly follow him.

Jesus came to this earth to be the Savior God promised to send. As that Savior he was clearly set apart to accomplish his Father's will. That work included living a sin-free life to release all people from the crushing demands of the Law. It also included offering the complete payment to secure freedom from the tyranny of sin, the dread of death and the domination of the devil. Jesus did everything God the Father commanded and signaled the completion of that work when he cried out from the cross, "It is finished!"

Jesus' obedient life and his all-sufficient death provide me with the answer I need to the question, "Who is Jesus?" He is the promised Christ. As I put my confidence in him, I rejoice in knowing my sins are forgiven. I delight in following him and his loving will. I also long for the day when I will join him in the place he has prepared for me in heaven.

Prayer: 

O dearest heavenly Father, I thank you for the promised Savior you have provided. Give me faith to confess that Jesus is your Son, my Savior, and the promised Christ. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

» Devotion - April 11, 2014

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6

Attractive Wisdom

I suppose it really shouldn't surprise us that Christians are often slandered and mistreated in this world. Jesus told his followers, "'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20b).

In the early church, false rumors and lies of all kinds were spread about the followers of Jesus. Some called Christians 'unpatriotic atheists' because they refused to burn incense in worship of the Roman Emperor. Others heard believers greet each other as "brothers and sisters" and spread the lie that they were involved in incest. Still others heard about the practice of eating the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion and accused Christians of cannibalism.

To this day many in the world around us spread lies about the Christian faith. They twist and distort the truth and ridicule those who follow Jesus calling us 'ignorant, intolerant, and judgmental.' So what should we do? How can we possibly overcome the skepticism and even hostility toward Jesus? Paul says the best way for Christians to defeat such slander is by being wise in the way we act toward others and speak with them.

Being wise means loving God and following the example of Jesus. It has often been said that people may not read the Bible, but they will read Christians. God in his grace "has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14). Now we can live as his children. Even if you don't notice, others are watching how you live, they are listening to the things you say, and observing how you treat others.

Sadly, many have heard the lies and are skeptical about the Christian faith. God gives us an awesome privilege that with the Spirit's help we can live to reflect our Savior's love. And as we have opportunity, we can speak about Jesus and answer people with the truth.

What an honor that God uses you and me as he works through his word to change people's minds about Jesus. Therefore, be wise in the way you live and speak, so that people around you may see the beauty of the Gospel and come to know their Savior.

Prayer: 

O Holy Spirit, help me to live a life of wisdom and love, and speak your word of truth so that others may come to know Jesus. Amen.

Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

--Daily Devotion

"For it is by grace that we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that noone can boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8-9