Proof of the Unseen – April 12, 2024

Then Jesus told [Thomas], “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29

Proof of the Unseen

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Daily Devotion – April 12, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:29

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There’s an old adage: Seeing is believing. It means you need to see something to accept that it is true. That saying, however, is not always true. People believe in all sorts of things they have not seen. For example, do you believe that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated?

Of course! Even though you didn’t see it happen, you know that it did. Why are you sure of it? Because there is proof of what you yourself did not see. Other people met him and gave eyewitness testimony about him, so you believe it happened.

What about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? Do you need to see Jesus to believe he rose from the dead? Thomas thought that. He had missed Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples after he rose from the dead. When the others told him they had seen Jesus alive again, Thomas did not believe them. He said, “Unless I see, I will not believe it.”

Like Thomas, you have never seen Jesus alive after being dead for three days. Should you bet your life and eternity on something you have never seen? Not if seeing is believing.

Thankfully, seeing is not believing—there is proof of what you have not seen. Jesus answered Thomas’ doubt by physically appearing to him and giving him the proof he wanted. He gives you proof, too, but in a different way.

Jesus only appeared in person for forty days after his resurrection. After that, people relied not on seeing him with their own eyes but on the eyewitness testimony of those who did see him. In fact, Jesus calls you blessed if you believe even though you have not seen.

You don’t need to see or touch Jesus’ wounds to believe. You don’t need to see Jesus to know he’s real. When it comes to believing in Jesus and his resurrection, he has provided you with proof of the unseen that is just as blessed as witnessing it yourself.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for blessing me, through the testimony of your witnesses. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Salvation Delivered – April 11, 2024

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
John 20:21-23

Salvation Delivered

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Daily Devotion – April 11, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:21-23

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When Jesus came into our world, he lived a perfect life, completely fulfilling God’s law. Then he died a sinner’s death, paying the price for your sins. Finally, Jesus rose from the dead, guaranteeing your sins are forgiven. By his life, death, and resurrection, he accomplished your salvation.

But how does that accomplished salvation get to you? If Jesus lived, died, and rose for you, but you didn’t hear about it, would it do you any good? If God has forgiveness for you but you don’t receive it, how can it help you?

Thank God for today’s Bible passage! On the evening of the first Easter, the risen Christ appeared to his disciples and commissioned them to preach the results of his work to the world.

They told people about the sin that would damn them. Why? Because they wanted their listeners to turn from their sins and live forever with Jesus in heaven. If the people acknowledged their need for forgiveness, the disciples forgave them. If they refused to admit their sin, the disciples refused to forgive them. In all this, they simply announced what Jesus had accomplished, and God did the work of convicting and forgiving.

He continues that same work to this day—sending Christians in every time and place to preach and teach his Word. And by that Word preached, taught, and read from the Scriptures, the salvation he accomplished on the cross is delivered to you.

First, he does it. Then he delivers it. You need both! Thank God he has done both!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for delivering the salvation you accomplished to those you need it, including me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus’ Resurrection Brings Peace – April 10, 2024

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!”
John 20:19

Jesus’ Resurrection Brings Peace

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Daily Devotion – April 10, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:19

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The disciples were in hiding. Their teacher had been arrested and executed, and they had acted shamefully. They abandoned Jesus when they should have helped him. Now, he was dead, and they couldn’t apologize or make it up to him. The guilt they felt must have been astronomical.

Worse than that, though, was the fact that the people who killed Jesus were probably going to arrest and kill them, too. So they locked themselves in a room and waited for the inevitable.

They were not, however, visited by the vindictive Jewish leaders. Instead, they were visited by Jesus. He who had been crucified, dead, and buried was now very much alive and standing among them. He entered without using the door. The surprise they felt must have been astronomical.

Do you think they were also afraid when they saw him? After all, they had wronged Jesus when they abandoned him. Now, he was standing right in front of them. The locked doors had not stopped Jesus from getting to them. Neither had death. Would Jesus hold a grudge?

No! His first words to them were, “Peace be with you.” He didn’t punish them or coax an apology out of them. He gave them peace. It was more than freedom from enemies who wanted to kill them. It was the peace that comes from knowing everything was right between them and God.

The risen Savior gives that same peace to you. What does it take to get peace? Peace with God comes at a cost, but Christ has paid it for you.

Sin makes everything wrong between you and God, but Jesus paid the price for your sin. You can be certain because after Jesus paid that price, he rose from the dead with a message of peace on his lips.

So, what guilt burdens your conscience? What sins keep you up at night? Know that Jesus’ resurrection brings you peace. In Christ, you have the unconditional pardon of everything that you’ve ever done wrong. You are forgiven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me peace from the certain fact of your resurrection from the dead. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Joy Made Complete – April 9, 2024

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. We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:3,4

Joy Made Complete

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Daily Devotion – April 9, 2024

Devotion based on 1 John 1:3,4

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What brings you joy? Does it come when you run a mile in under ten minutes? Perhaps it is when you are flush with cash. Or it may simply be when you are with the people you love. Interestingly, in all of these examples, joy is the product of outward circumstances in your life.

Unfortunately, that makes this kind of joy fleeting—doesn’t it? You can lose your family, money, athleticism, and joy along with them. When joy comes from your ever-changing circumstances, it is here today and gone tomorrow.

God wants you to have something better. That’s why the apostle John wrote today’s Bible passage. He gives you a cause for joy that will stay with you no matter what happens in life: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

That is what John saw and heard. With his own eyes, he saw Jesus’ empty tomb. With his own ears, he heard Jesus speak to him and the other disciples on the first Easter evening. They spent decades telling others about the risen Christ, and that good news united everyone who believed it. More importantly, it also united them to God.

It does the same thing for you! The reality of the resurrection gives you forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, and eternal life. These are promises, and Jesus’ resurrection is the promise kept that guarantees all the rest.

This means Easter is a source of joy that is always with you, no matter what your ever-changing circumstances are. Remember: God is good, his Son lives, and your name is written in heaven. Nothing can take that away, as long as one thing is true; and it is always true: Christ is risen!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, use the message of your Son’s resurrection to make my joy complete—this day and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Courage To Speak – April 8, 2024

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
Acts 18:9-11

Courage To Speak

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Daily Devotion – April 8, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 18:9-11

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It takes courage to speak the Word of God. The apostle Paul knew this from experience. Once, in a city called Lystra, his audience pummeled him with stones and left him for dead. He was flogged and imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica and Berea, and sneered at in Athens.

Now, Paul had come to Corinth, and his reception was mixed. Some people believed the Word that he preached, but others were abusive to him. You can imagine what he thought: “Will I only be laughed at, or will this turn ugly? Should I go before something worse happens?”

You probably don’t need to try very hard to imagine that inner monologue because you’ve thought something similar. Although you haven’t traveled the Mediterranean world on a preaching tour like Paul, you have been in situations where sharing the Word of God could have led to unpleasant results.

Perhaps you’ve stood by a friend burdened with a guilty conscience, a relative mourning her dead husband, or a colleague shocked at the state of the world. In the Bible, God has things to say for all those situations. But when you speak them, it could cause a hostile reaction.

However, rather than being silent, remember the encouragement that Jesus gave Paul: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you.” The risen Lord promised to be with him, and he kept that promise. He blessed Paul’s work in Corinth for a year and a half!

Did you know that God is with you too? After his resurrection, he gave a similar promise to everyone who believes in him: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). How encouraging to know that the risen Lord is with you to support you as you speak his Word!

Prayer:
Lord, give me the courage to speak your Word when it needs to be spoken. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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My Lord and My God – April 7, 2024

Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27,28

My Lord and My God

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Daily Devotion – April 7, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:27,28

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As a father of twins, it’s not hard for me to understand why a twin would have a problem with people being sure they had seen something. A twin regularly encounters people who believe they saw what the twin knows they did NOT see. “It was my twin sister that you saw” is regular speech for a twin girl.

Thomas wanted more than mere words that his companions had really seen Jesus.

And his gracious Jesus chose to give it to him. A week earlier, he appeared behind doors that were locked in fear and spoke, “Peace,” into the room. And he—personally, tangibly, and audibly gave Thomas what he needed—absolute proof that he, the crucified one, died and buried, was now alive! Thus, the risen Savior could tell Thomas to stop doubting and believe. In faith, Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!”

We believe, teach, and confess that Jesus continues to come today—personally, tangibly, and audibly. He is present personally and audibly in worship when we hear, “Forgiven in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” His true presence in body and blood for forgiveness in his Supper is unbelievable to some, but the core of faith for the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church. “My Lord and my God!” continues to be the confession that springs from jaded, now liberated lips.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the saving love you’ve shown me in the living Christ who continues to come to me in Word and sacrament. Thank you for the confession I get to say today: “My Lord and my God!” Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Blade Sharp Enough – April 6, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20

No Blade Sharp Enough

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Daily Devotion – April 6, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

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To say that Thomas Jefferson liked to read would be a grand understatement. “I cannot live without books,” he once said. In his day, Jefferson had the largest personal collection of books in the United States. It numbered in the thousands, and the volumes covered every conceivable subject, from history and literature to science and philosophy and everything in between.

In this massive library that Jefferson loved, however, there was one written history that received unique treatment. It was the Bible’s written history of Jesus. For reasons fully known only to him, Jefferson took the written account of Jesus’ life and proceeded to remove any verses that described supernatural events and any verses that described Jesus as anything more than a man. He simply sliced them out of the text. As one historian described it, he “kept his blade busy.” Then Jefferson pasted together the remaining verses to make a book of his own. He called it, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.

Given the kind of book it was, it is not difficult to guess how the book ends. The book ends with this sentence: “There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.” In Jefferson’s version of events, Jesus does not rise from the dead. In his book on Jesus’ life, Easter does not survive Jefferson’s blade.

But there’s no blade sharp enough to remove the reality of Easter. Whether it’s a blade that cuts verses from the written account of the gospel, a blade that cuts down the lives of early Christians, or a blade that puts present-day Christians to death for their faith—the tomb is empty. No matter the sharpness of the blade, Jesus lives. No matter the sharpness of the blade, God has kept his promise, we stand forgiven, and eternal life is ours.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, there is no blade sharp enough that can separate your promises from my life. Thank you for the reality of Easter. Thank you for the reality of your empty tomb. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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By Name – April 5, 2024

Thinking [Jesus] was the gardener, [Mary Magdalene] said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
John 20:15,16

By Name

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Daily Devotion – April 5, 2024

Devotion based on John 20:15,16

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It is Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, longtime follower of Jesus, is still in shock over his death. To make matters worse, she discovers that his tomb is now empty.

She has no idea how to process this. Has someone stolen his corpse? As she stands outside that vacant tomb, all she can do is let the tears flow. But then a man approaches and asks why she is crying. At first, she presumes he’s the caretaker of the garden that surrounds the tomb. Perhaps, for some reason, he is the one who’s taken Jesus’ body. “Sir, if you have carried him away,” Mary says, “tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

But then the man calls her by name. Nothing more. Nothing less. He simply says to her,”Mary.”

Just one word, her name. But in that one word, Mary realizes that this man knows her and that she knows him. And in that one word, Mary realizes that Jesus, her teacher, her friend, her Savior, her Lord—is no longer dead. He is very much alive. And because he is, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he ever made—everything is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling her by name.

You and I, in our sinful weakness, have all kinds of Mary Magdalene moments—moments when all we feel is confusion, grief, and uncertainty. But then the Lord speaks through his promises in the Bible. As he proclaims in Isaiah chapter 43, “I have called you by name.” He encounters us face-to-face through his body and blood in Holy Communion.

And when he does, I realize he knows me, and I know him. I realize he lives, and because he does, everything he ever claimed to be, every promise he’s ever made is true. Everything. Because here he is. Alive and calling me by name.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. And you call me by name. All is well. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Waiting – April 4, 2024

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20

Waiting

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Daily Devotion – April 4, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:20

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The next time you walk through a cemetery, look at the gravestones. Some are simple, with the name, date of birth, and date of death. Some add a word or two about the deceased: “Beloved Father,” “Devoted Mother,” “At Rest.” Others may have an etching of a favorite hobby. Others offer the reader an endearing sense of fun; for example, one woman’s gravestone contains the recipe for her world-famous fudge. Still others, without apology, go straight for the laugh with remarks such as, “I knew this would happen,” or “Please deactivate my Facebook.”

The vast majority of the gravestones, however, do seem to have one thing in common. Almost all of them look backward—to the past, to what has been, and the life the person has lived.

There are a few gravestones, however, that take a different approach. Some choose to look ahead. “Gone from our sight,” one reads— “Gone from our sight, but soon to rise again in glorious resurrection.” Another says, “Death is not the end; it is merely a sleep awaiting resurrection.” Still another says, “In memory of a life lived, and a resurrection yet to come.”

The gravestones that look ahead are wonderful reminders of what you and I have in Jesus Christ. God the Son entered our world of sin and death. On our behalf, he lived a life of perfect goodness. In our place, he took our every wrong to Calvary’s cross, where he suffered and died to wash us clean. Then he rose from death. In addition, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus’ resurrection from death is the first of the many resurrections yet to come—that on the Last Day, Jesus will return and summon our bodies from our graves. He will reunite them with our souls. And then—all who trust in Jesus—in glorified, perfect bodies, will live in the presence of the Lord forever, freed, once and for all, from the presence and effects of sin.

The body of the Christian, therefore, is not just resting. It’s waiting. The best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, because of you, the bodies of our fellow Christians have something wonderful in store. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remembered – April 3, 2024

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:14,20

Remembered

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Daily Devotion – April 3, 2024

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:14,20

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“He’s not really dead as long as we remember him.” “As long as we have memories of her, she will always be with us.” In times of grief, it’s easy to say these things. Well-intended? Yes. Solid and meaningful? Not really.

For instance, how much do you know about your great-great-grandparents? In terms of real years, they walked on this earth not too long ago. And yet, for most of us, they are little more than old pictures in an album. Memories fade. Quickly. And the same will apply to you and me. Sure, there might be smartphone footage of us uploaded into the cloud. But do people truly remember us after we’re gone? Real memories rapidly go away.

Which brings us to Jesus. When God the Son entered our time and space, he did not come to soothe us with sentiment. He did not come to comfort us with clichés. He came to confront what was killing us. What was killing us was the guilt of our sin. The consequence of our having severed our relationship with God was that sin and death rushed in to fill the void.

And so God the Son arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. On our behalf, he lived the life of perfect love that you and I have failed to live. In our place, he suffered and died at Golgotha to pay our debt of sin in full. And then—to make clear that he really is who he claims to be, and he really has done what he has promised to do—Jesus rose from the dead.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul does not simply say that Jesus is alive in our memories. He speaks of it as an actual event. And he’s candid. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul says, “our preaching is useless, and so is your faith.”

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,” Paul later says. Jesus lives. And because he does, we too shall live. Not through others’ memories. But in reality. With Jesus. Forever.

Prayer:
Living Lord, in you I will never be forgotten. Never. Praise be to your holy name. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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My Own Eyes – April 2, 2024

After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:26,27

My Own Eyes

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Daily Devotion – April 2, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:26,27

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From Chicago, you take a 16-hour flight to Muscat International Airport, located on the southeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. From there, you’re in for a long drive—over 500 miles through the barren desert. Once you arrive at the city of Salalah, you still must work your way through another 20 miles of narrow, winding roads to reach a hilltop. There, you will find a small, modest building. Walk inside, and there, in the center of the floor, you will see it—the traditional site where the Old Testament believer Job lies buried.

Stand there for a moment in that tiny room. Let your eyes rest on the rectangular grave. What remains of Job’s body? Dust? A few bone fragments, perhaps? This would come as no surprise to Job. He understood very well the nature of death in this sinful, broken world. He understood that, upon death, the physical body breaks down.

But Job understood something else. He knew that even after his body had decomposed in death, there would come a moment when he would see God with his body resurrected and restored. Or as Job himself proclaimed, “Yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.”

Beneath the rectangle in the floor of that tiny hilltop room, Job’s body will not remain as grains of dust and bits of bone. His body will rise. He knows this because his Redeemer has promised to raise him. And he knows that his Redeemer will keep his promise because Job knows that his Redeemer lives.

Whether you are looking at the grave of Job on a remote hilltop or the grave of your loved one who has died in the Lord, or whether age or illness has made it clear that your own body does not have long to live—one beautiful truth stands tall. Jesus has conquered sin and death at the cross. He has risen from death. In him, we stand forgiven. Eternal life awaits.

Prayer:
Lord, one day I will see you with my own eyes. How my heart yearns within me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Long Night – April 1, 2024

I know that my Redeemer lives.
Job 19:25

Long Night

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Daily Devotion – April 1, 2024

Devotion based on Job 19:25

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The year is 1759, and on a British warship, a young man by the name of Samuel Medley is facing a very long night. In a recent battle, Medley sustained an injury to his leg. The leg is getting worse. Medley might die. The surgeon has just told him that if the leg is not better by morning, he will have to amputate.

In another sense, Samuel Medley has been facing a long night for a long time. As a boy, he learned about Jesus from his grandfather. Since then, however, he has not given Christianity the time of day.

But on that ship, facing death, facing a long night of dark despair, Samuel remembers. He remembers what his grandfather has taught him. He looks to his long-forgotten Redeemer.

Perhaps you are facing a long night. Perhaps you already fear that your sleep tonight will be restless and haunted. Or perhaps you’ve been facing a long night for a long time. Maybe—just maybe—your relationship with your Redeemer has been dismissive, thoughtless, listless, and apathetic, and for that reason, there’s been a despairing darkness in your life that’s hard to define, but it’s there.

Jesus saw Samuel Medley on that ship. He carried him through that long night. At dawn, the ship’s surgeon discovered that the leg was better. There was no amputation. Samuel Medley lived. The long night set off a chain of events that drew Samuel closer and closer to his Redeemer by the power of the gospel. One day, he entered the pastoral ministry, proclaiming the message of the cross and the empty tomb to all who came to listen.

He also picked up a pen. He began to put into words the joy and comfort the Christian has in Jesus’ resurrection. He based what he wrote in the proclamation of Job, the Old Testament believer. When Job found himself in the darkness of grief and loss, he declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

From Samuel Medley’s long night came a hymn of Easter joy. In the forgiveness Christ has purchased for us, we have that same joy. In Jesus, our long night is over.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you live. Because you do, my long night is over. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who Will Roll Away the Stone? – March 31, 2024

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Mark 16:2-6

Who Will Roll Away the Stone?

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Daily Devotion – March 31, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:2-6

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The women who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning were preoccupied. Their only thought was the stone that covered the entrance of the tomb. Who will roll away the stone? Would the soldiers who stood guard help? Would the disciples possibly be there to help? It must have been an agonizing trip.

Often, we are like the women who visited the tomb. We are preoccupied with worries, concerns, and far-ranging issues. The joy and confidence we could know are blocked by the stone of doubt and confusion.

When we are filled with doubt and fear we are invited to view the place where Jesus was laid. And we are invited to believe Jesus’ words of promise: “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25,26).

It almost sounds too good to be true, but it is true! Jesus has risen! He has burst the confines of the tomb. He has conquered death and the grave. His promise is true, and life is ours.

As we gaze by faith at the tomb of Jesus, we can rejoice. Not only has the stone been rolled away, but the grave is empty. Jesus lives!

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 152)
I know that my Redeemer lives; what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives my ever-living Head!

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Specifically For You – March 30, 2024

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Mark 16:6,7

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 30, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 16:6,7

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How do you think the apostle Peter felt on Good Friday? Just watching Jesus go through all his suffering must have been bad enough, but to know that he had denied knowing Jesus had to make him feel awful. Even worse, he’d done it three times. More than that, Jesus had warned him plainly, in advance, that he would do it! How might Peter have felt? I’m guessing he felt horrible.

Then, on Easter Sunday, the women who arrived at Jesus’ empty tomb were given a clear instruction by the angel. “Go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Tell Peter. Tell Peter specifically. Why?

Probably because Peter really needed to hear it! Peter needed to hear that his sins were forgiven and that he had a risen Savior who still loved him and would always love him.

You and I are no different than Peter. We’re sinful human beings, just like he was. We’ve denied Jesus in our own ways, whether by blatant statements (like Peter), or not letting our light shine, or failing to trust God fully, or neglecting God’s Word. We’ve failed and sinned. We’re Peter.

God sent angels to announce the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection marks his victory over death which assures us that our failures and sins are forgiven. The good news of Jesus resurrection is the special message of God’s Word for you! You have a risen Savior! Jesus died and rose again from the dead to assure you that your sins are all forgiven.

Prayer:
O gracious and living Savior, your resurrection gives me the confidence to believe all you have done for me. Open my eyes to the great blessing of your undeserved love, and keep my eyes fixed on you who won for me victory over sin, death, and the grave. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Once and for All Sacrifice – March 29, 2024

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Hebrews 7:27

A Once and for All Sacrifice

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Daily Devotion – March 29, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 7:27

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Sacrifice… blood, sweat, tears. That’s what it takes to succeed in this world. You have to work hard. You have to be willing to give up something to gain something greater, whether it’s on the athletic field, in school or work, in business, or anywhere else.

Don’t we sometimes approach our relationship with God that way? To please God, I have to make sacrifices. If I do something wrong, I have to make up for it. The more of yourself—your time, money, blood, sweat, and tears—you give, the more God will bless you. It seems reasonable, but is it true?

Long before Jesus came into the world, God’s laws taught his people that sacrifices were necessary. Something had to be done about all the ways that people didn’t measure up to God’s demands. And so, he commanded priests to offer sacrifices—lambs, bulls, and goats—day-after-day. There was no end to it. Through this, God also taught them that no animal sacrifice or anything a sinful human could offer was enough to make up for those sins or take them away.

But there was one sacrifice. One perfect sacrifice offered by the perfect priest—Jesus, the Son of God. He offered the sacrifice that only he could. He gave himself. And he didn’t do it for himself; he didn’t need to. He gave that sacrifice for you, dear sinner. Knowing that you could not earn God’s favor, knowing the best you could offer could never cover a single slip-up, he offered his own life on a cross. Because Jesus was the Son of God, his innocent life was infinitely valuable. His sacrifice was perfectly pleasing to God. It never has to be repeated. It was a once-and-for-all sacrifice for all people.

Through that sacrifice offered on a Friday twenty centuries ago; your relationship with God is perfectly restored. Once and for all. No strings attached, no wonder we call this Friday good!

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving yourself as the perfect once-and-for-all sacrifice for me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Hunger To Help His Betrayers – March 28, 2024

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Mark 14:21

A Hunger To Help His Betrayers

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Daily Devotion – March 28, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 14:21

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In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, the title character speaks the words “Et tu, Brute,” a Latin phrase that means, “You too, Brutus?” just moments before his death, when he recognizes his friend Brutus as one of those involved in the assassination.

While few of us can claim to have a friend plotting to kill us, betrayal is something almost everyone experiences. When someone we love and trust says or does something to hurt us, the wounds can be deep and lasting, maybe never really healing. If somehow you knew that someone would betray you, wouldn’t you distance yourself from that person if you could? Nobody wants to be hurt like that.

For centuries, prophets sent by God wrote and spoke about Jesus. They described his life and saving work in vivid detail. That life would end with betrayal, torment, abuse, and excruciating death. On the night he would be betrayed and handed over to those who would do their worst with him, Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!”

He was not caught by surprise. As the eternal Son of God, Jesus knew exactly what was coming. He knew that one of his closest friends would satisfy his appetite for money and power by betraying his friend, teacher, and Savior. But Jesus didn’t avoid the situation.

That night and the following day, Jesus would satisfy an appetite that he had, too. He would satisfy his appetite to show love and mercy not only to his betrayer but to every one of us who betray him every time we disobey God’s law. In unimaginable love, Jesus endured unspeakable injustice and abuse to win forgiveness and eternal life for his abusers and his betrayers, for you and me.

Because of his unshakable love and determination to save us, our longing to be close to God and enjoy an eternal relationship with him is fully satisfied.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, I hunger for your mercy, and in you, I am fully satisfied. Thanks and praise! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Fix Your Eyes on Jesus – March 27, 2024

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Hebrews 12:1,2

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

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Daily Devotion – March 27, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:1,2

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I don’t know about you, but I am easily distracted. So many things come at us from every different direction and want our attention. Sometimes just a voice in another room or something I see off to the side on my desk derails my train of thought and interrupts my focus.

Not everything vying for our attention is bad. There are important people and things in our lives that need our attention. But an inability to focus on one thing at a time can make it difficult to give the important things in our lives the attention they need.

What’s getting your attention? Does the devil have you chasing after sinful pleasures and selfish urges with the promise of happiness that never really comes?

Does work or school consume all your energy and focus? Is it hobbies, recreation, sports, money, entertainment? What about family? Many of these things are good things; but they aren’t the only thing. And they aren’t what matters most. And if they are all we focus on, we’ll wear ourselves out with temporary things and miss out on far greater blessings from our God.

In the next few days, I hope you will join Christians around the world in taking a journey. Set aside time to attend your local church for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday services. There, take a spiritual journey as you hear about and meditate on events that changed the course of history. There, tune out the distractions of daily life and just watch and listen.

There, fix your eyes on Jesus, who fixed his eyes on you when he came to die for you. Fix your eyes on Jesus, who let nothing distract him from his mission of mercy to rescue you from sin and death. Fix your eyes on Jesus, who persevered through adversity to win for you an eternal inheritance.

In faith, see him who loved you enough to die for you. In faith, see him who is waiting for you across life’s finish line, waiting to welcome you home.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, fix my eyes on you, as I run life’s race, so that one day I will see you face-to-face. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Joy Set Before Him – March 26, 2024

For the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

The Joy Set Before Him

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Daily Devotion – March 26, 2024

Devotion based on Hebrews 12:2

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An athlete in a race needs to keep their sights set on the finish—not just in the race but in the days, weeks, months, or even years of preparation that go into that competition. Keeping your focus on the finish is important for many other difficult tasks in life, too—a big project or hard assignment, physical therapy following an injury, or grueling treatment for cancer or some other disease. Individuals and organizations who keep the goal or mission in mind tend to be more successful and find greater joy in the difficult journey to get there.

Jesus came into this world knowing that the road would be rough. The challenges would be great. The pain would be almost unbearable. What he would have to endure would be more difficult than any race, task, assignment, or mission we will ever face. And, when it got the most difficult, there would be no one by his side cheering him on. He would have to go through it completely alone.

This week that we call Holy Week, we see Jesus enduring that dreadful mission with a singular and undivided focus. Knowing what was coming, Jesus went willingly to the cross, where he literally suffered hell he didn’t deserve.

What kept him going? Our Bible verse for today says, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame.” Jesus focused on the finish. He saw the end.

But it wasn’t just that it would be over soon, and life would be happy again after he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. The joy set before him was joy for you. It was the joy of knowing that because he suffered hell, you would never have to face hell for your sins. It was the joy of knowing that, through his suffering to forgive our sins, he would open up heaven for you to live with him in perfect peace forever. Love for you that saw what his suffering would accomplish for you is why he willingly endured the cross and scorned its shame. He loves you that much!

Prayer:
Jesus, your love for me is beyond words. Thank you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Real Strength Rules to Rescue – March 25, 2024

His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Zechariah 9:10,11

Real Strength Rules to Rescue

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Daily Devotion – March 25, 2024

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:10,11

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If you were to list the most powerful rulers in history, men like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, or other leaders of powerful empires would surely be part of the conversation. Their strength was not just in political savvy but in eliminating opposition, controlling the people, and intimidating or destroying enemies.

History teaches us to expect great strength to be used in wicked ways. Lord Acton, a 19th century British historian, wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

Just days before he died, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. This royal ride was predicted by the prophet Zechariah centuries earlier. As people remembered those prophecies, they began to sing his praises. They knew that Zechariah also foretold that this King’s rule would extend to the ends of the earth. They may have imagined a mighty warrior destroying nations to establish his empire and bring them peace and prosperity.

But as King Jesus came to rule, he didn’t come to destroy but to save. He didn’t come to enslave but to rescue and release. Jesus’ strength was not in the bloodshed of his enemies on the battlefield or the death of those who opposed him. His strength was in his blood—the innocent blood of the Son of God who came to save. He would lay down his life for friend and foe to conquer the devil—the spiritual enemy that enslaves and oppresses all people. By riding into Jerusalem to bleed and die, King Jesus would free us from the pit of our sin and guilt to live as blessed citizens of his eternal kingdom.

The most powerful man in the history of the world used his strength to resist the temptation to use others for himself. Instead, he humbly gave himself up and shed his blood to set you free forever.

Prayer:
King Jesus, by the power of the blood, you have set me free from sin and death. Give me strength to use that freedom to serve you and those around me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Your King Comes to You – March 24, 2024

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

Your King Comes to You

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Daily Devotion – March 24, 2024

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9,10

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Think of the traffic slowly snaking its way to a sold-out concert or opening day baseball game. Crowds of people inch their way closer to the stadium.

Compare that to the crowds who sang praises to Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Except Jesus wasn’t stationary. He wasn’t waiting for them to move. Zechariah said it well in his prophecy, “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9).

Jesus, a King, comes to those who cannot come to him because of sin’s power to hold them down. He takes the initiative. He gets caught in the traffic jam of insults and beatings. He gives up a dark afternoon. He breaks through death’s doors to bring us new life. Now, he bids us to follow. Where?

Heaven, of course! But on the way, won’t we come to others still stuck in sin? As Jesus has already come to us who were waiting for hope, watching for rescue, many are still waiting and watching who need us to come to them.

Prayer:
King Jesus, you came to my heart’s home and set up your throne there. As causes cry for my allegiance, let it always be given to you first before them. Hear my praises that bless and honor you, and in the midst of my joy, direct a portion of my zeal to those still without your love. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sin Never Seems Far Away – March 23, 2024

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Sin Never Seems Far Away

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Daily Devotion – March 23, 2024

Devotion based on Psalm 103:12

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“How far can you throw it?” That question was often asked in my neighborhood growing up. It resulted in several kids lining up and taking turns to see who could throw the football the farthest. It provided a way to measure ourselves against the other boys. But even as we grew older, the football never made it more than a few backyards away.

Our sins never seem all that far away, either. We try to forget them by thinking about something else. We try to rationalize our sins and make excuses for them. We try to pass the blame to others. We try to pretend that they never happened. But try as we might, we just can’t seem to throw them too far away from us. They weigh on our conscience. They float around in our minds and keep us up at night. We are often reminded of our sins by the hurt feelings and comments of others. Sin never seems too far away.

That’s where Jesus came in. He didn’t just pick up our sins and throw them a few backyards away. He has removed them “as far as the east is from the west.” Who can measure the distance from east to west? You can travel thousands of miles in either direction and still have just as far to go. God’s forgiveness for you in Jesus is immeasurable. His supply of forgiveness will never run out. When God removes your sin, he removes it completely. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, your sins are gone for good. They are not coming back. And trusting in Jesus as your Savior, you have an eternity in heaven to look forward to.

“How far can you throw them?” When it comes to sin, the answer is “not very far.” Our human ways of dealing with sin will always ensure that they keep coming back. Instead, lay your sins on Jesus and let him throw them away “as far as the east is from the west.” You are forgiven for all of your sins. In Jesus, they are nowhere to be found.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior from sin. In your grace, through Word and sacrament, continue to remind me that all my sins have been removed completely. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus is Committed – March 22, 2024

[Jesus said] “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
John:12:27-29

Jesus is Committed

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Daily Devotion – March 22, 2024

Devotion based on John:12:27-29

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Jesus spoke these words during Holy Week. No one else knew what was coming next for Jesus, but Jesus knew. In a matter of hours, Jesus would be arrested. He would endure the indignity of a sham of a trial before the religious leaders. He would be paraded between two politicians. Soldiers would mock him, spit on him, and whip him. He would be executed like a common criminal.

But that’s not what truly troubled his soul. Jesus knew the agony that was waiting for him on that Roman cross. Worse than the crucifixion itself would be the weight of the sins of the whole world. Worse than the slow and painful suffocation would be the separation of Jesus from his Father, the punishment for sin.

It is no wonder Jesus said that his soul was troubled. But even as he could count the hours to the torment of hell he would suffer, he remained resolute. He was committed to saving God’s people and the glory it would bring his Father.

Next week, we start our Holy Week. We will travel with Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter, with long and important stops at Holy Thursday and Good Friday. We will meditate, once again, on Jesus’ great love for sinners and the cost of our sin. As Jesus hangs from the cross, it will look anything but glorious. But it is there on the cross, an instrument of death and torture, that Jesus wins glory. It is there that Jesus does what the angels pronounced at his birth. Jesus brings, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for your commitment to me and the peace you’ve won between me and God. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Life Through Death – March 21, 2024

[Jesus said] Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 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 12:24-26

Life Through Death

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Daily Devotion – March 21, 2024

Devotion based on John 12:24-26

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You dig a small hole in the dirt. Carefully, you place a seed inside of it and gently push the soil over the seed. You wait, and all on its own, the seed sprouts. A green leaf pokes through the ground. And that single seed becomes a plant that bears more seeds just like it. Life comes through the death of the one seed.

It seems counterintuitive, right? Life through death. Yet, that was the very core of Jesus’ mission. He came to bring life to his followers through his own sacrificial death. Like a seed planted in the dark dirt, Jesus would be buried in a tomb dug from the earth for three days. After those three days, Jesus would rise to life and promise the same life to all who die believing in Jesus as their Savior.

But Jesus doesn’t just focus on death with his words; he focuses on life, too. A man once reminisced about the pastor he had growing up—he remembered the preacher saying, “You must die every day!” in nearly all his sermons. As a boy, he didn’t understand what the preacher meant. He didn’t want to die! He wanted to live.

He later understood what that preacher meant. Die to your sinful self. Die to selfish desires. Surrender your sinful agenda and submit to God’s love and will. Death to self brings life.

It’s a life full of love for God and the people in your life. It’s a life of peace and contentment. It’s a life with Jesus. It’s not easy. But it is life to the fullest, where Jesus promises his Father’s honor to all who serve and follow him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you sent your Son Jesus to die so that I may live. Help me to die to my sins every day and live in the life you give. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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We Would Like to See Jesus – March 20, 2024

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
John 12:20,21

We Would Like to See Jesus

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Daily Devotion – March 20, 2024

Devotion based on John 12:20,21

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The capital city of Jerusalem was bustling with people visiting for the major festival. Among those visitors were Greek pilgrims. They came to Philip, a disciple of Jesus, with a simple request. “We would like to see Jesus.”

Perhaps they were curious because they had heard about Jesus’ miracles. Maybe they had seen the way Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to shouts of “Hosanna” earlier in the week. Or it could be their souls were seeking the truth. Whatever the reason, they voiced the desire that resonates with every human heart. They sought God.

The world is full of people like those Greeks. They are searching for truth, hope, and meaning. They may not say it the same way as those Greeks did, but they ache for a meeting with their Savior.

If you are looking for truth, hope, and meaning, if you are searching for Jesus, there is no better place to look than where Jesus has revealed himself. Jesus shows himself to all through the Bible. God’s Word, the Bible, is where Jesus speaks truth, where God gives meaning to life, and where the Savior provides hope to a desperate world.

If you are a Christian, you live among people who wish to see Jesus, though they may not know it. You can show them Jesus not just through your words but through your actions. When you extend a helping hand to the marginalized, you show them Jesus. When you offer a listening ear to the brokenhearted, you show them Jesus. When you forgive those who have wronged you, you show them Jesus. In every act of kindness, every word of encouragement, and every expression of love, you reveal the face of Christ to a world in need.

Those acts of love are a reflection of Jesus, of the one who came to seek you out. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came looking for you because he loves you.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, show me Jesus. Use me to show Jesus to others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Through the Waters and Flames – March 19, 2024

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2

Through the Waters and Flames

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Daily Devotion – March 19, 2024

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:2

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The headline read, Dozens Burned During Motivational Exercise. They were encouraged to walk barefoot over a bed of hot coals. Their inner strength, their self-reliance, their personal empowerment would keep them safe. Except it didn’t. Their burned feet and ankles were all the proof they needed.

What happened? Maybe the people who ended up burnt did not believe in themselves enough or did not have the right kind of inner strength and self-reliance. Not likely. What happened? The coals were burning hot, and their bare feet lingered long enough to be burnt by the coals.

God promises to be with his people when they go through deep waters and fires of life. He does not tell them to trust in themselves or use their sheer willpower to get through those tough times. He promises to be there with them.

God also says when those troubles come, not if. There are no promises that Christians will be spared pain, sorrow, trouble, and toil in this life. But God does promise to be with them.

God’s promise to be with his people is not a guarantee of a trouble-free life. In fact, he acknowledges the inevitability of troubles. Yet, amidst the flames and deep waters, his promise remains steadfast. He does not promise to spare his children from pain and sorrow but assures them of his abiding presence that sustains and comforts even amid life’s fiercest storms.

The burned feet of those in the headline are a powerful reminder of the limitations of human resilience. God calls us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust in his promises. Trust in the promises of God, who walks with us through every trial and guides us with his unwavering love and grace.

Prayer:
Dear God, help me to put my trust in you when I go through the waters and flames of this life. Remind me of your abiding presence in all circumstances. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Puts His Name on Christians – March 18, 2024

But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

God Puts His Name on Christians

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Daily Devotion – Date

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:1

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One of the world’s most famous artists was Michelangelo. One interesting fact about Michelangelo and his works is that he only put his name on one of his sculptures. It’s his work known as the Pieta, a marble statue of Mary holding Jesus after he’s taken down from the cross.

Michelangelo signed that sculpture in an unusual way. Instead of the typical, “Michelangelo made this.” He signed it, “Michelangelo was making this.” It’s like he was saying that he had started this work of art but had not yet completed it.

That’s what life can feel like for Christians. They know that God has made them. Not only did he create them, but he put his name on them, too. And yet, their lives can feel unfinished and unsettled. They can struggle with the same sins they struggled with for years. They can feel incomplete.

It’s likely Michelangelo signed his sculpture as if it were incomplete because he was such a perfectionist. He never felt his work was truly finished. When Christians look at their lives, they see how imperfect they are. But that’s not how God views them.

God sees Christians through the work of his Son, Jesus. His life was a masterpiece of perfect obedience to God. Instead of signing his name on his masterpiece, Jesus signs the names of those who believe in him. Jesus signed “It is finished,” not “was finishing.” God sees finished when he looks at Christians. He sees complete perfection.

Christians live in the tension of the already and the not yet. They are already saved by God even though their lives may not yet look like it. It is a reality that sin will always be a struggle until God calls them home to heaven. But Christians don’t need to be afraid because God knows their names. Jesus has signed his finished perfection over to them.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for giving me your perfection. Help me in my struggle against sin. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Perfect Savior – March 17, 2024

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:26,27

Our Perfect Savior

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Daily Devotion – March 17, 2024

Devotion based on John 19:26,27

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Six weeks after Jesus was born, a man named Simeon said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34,35). Three decades later, Mary felt the sharp edge of that sword pierce her heart as she witnessed the agony of her son on the cross.

Despite his great physical anguish on the cross and the weight of the all the world’s sin on his soul, Jesus did not forget his mother. He fulfilled his responsibility to see that she was cared for. Jesus instructed the disciple whom he loved—the apostle John—to look after her and provide for her needs as long as she lived. Right up to the end of his life, Jesus continued to keep God’s law perfectly. In his dying breath, he fulfilled the Fourth Commandment by honoring his mother.

That’s the kind of Savior we need—one who obeyed God’s will perfectly and lived completely without sin. Only a perfect Savior could assume our faults and failings, our wrongs and weaknesses, our depravity and immorality. Only the guiltless one could take the place of the guilty and make his unblemished sacrifice count for them. That is the kind of perfect Savior we need, and that’s the kind we have in Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are my perfect Savior. In love, you took my sin and suffered the death I deserved. Lead me to honor you and live to your glory. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Giver of Life – March 16, 2024

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins . . . But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:1,4,5

The Giver of Life

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Daily Devotion – March 16, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:1,4,5

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In Ezekiel chapter 37, we read that the Lord took the prophet Ezekiel to a valley filled with dry bones. After leading him back and forth among piles of lifeless bones, the Lord asked him a question, “Can these bones live?”

These images were meant to impress spiritual truths about the people to whom Ezekiel prophesied. Physically, they were alive. Spiritually, they were dead. Today’s Bible reading relates the same spiritual truths without a trip to a valley of dry bones. Ever since sin entered the world, people are born physically alive, yet spiritually dead in transgressions and sins.

When God asked Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel answered, “You know, Sovereign LORD.” Yes, the Lord knows, and he commanded his prophet to proclaim God’s life-giving Word over that valley. The power of the Word was amazing. The valley of death transformed into a valley of life. The dead were made alive!

Ephesians chapter two shares the same power of God’s Word in our own lives. God, who is rich in mercy, made us spiritually alive with Christ! Our gracious and merciful God wants us to know that he is the giver of life—physical life, spiritual life, and eternal life. Find life and gracious love in God through his powerful Word!

Prayer:
Lord God, you are the giver of life. Use your powerful Word to comfort me with your great love and to strengthen me in the new life you have given me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Sets Us up To Do Good – March 15, 2024

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

God Sets Us up To Do Good

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Daily Devotion – March 15, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:10

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I have been called a lot of things in life but never a Mr. Fixit. Now, I can tell the difference between a hammer, wrench, pliers, or saw. I have even used them from time to time. But for home, auto, or appliance repair, there are many other people I will happily point you to if you needed some help.

One of my friends knows this about me. And so when I offered to help him with a home renovation, probably not wanting to hurt my feelings, he graciously accepted. But it was funny. When I asked him how I could help and what he needed me to do, he pointed me to one of the back bedrooms that needed some new floorboards replaced. When I walked in the room, I saw all the boards had already been cut to size. There were screws counted out by each section. He even marked on the boards where the screws needed to go in. Everything was put out in advance. All I had to do was drill them into place. “Look at me! I’m helping!” the four-year-old inside of me squealed with glee.

Every day, God is setting us up to do good. He guides the paths our lives take, and he gives us opportunity after opportunity to make choices that not only glorify him but point others in our life to him and his love. Like my friend, God sets everything up for us to serve others and do good!

Look around you! As you help that neighbor of yours with his yard work or offer your ear to the person at the office that everyone else wants to avoid getting cornered by, as you love your spouse or spend time with your kids, these are just some of the ways God sets you up to do good. And why do them? Because we are so thankful for the gift of forgiveness that God has given us!

Prayer:
Dear God, open up my eyes to see the many ways I can serve you and others each and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Free but Not Cheap – March 14, 2024

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8,9

Free but Not Cheap

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Daily Devotion – March 14, 2024

Devotion based on Ephesians 2:8,9

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I know some people who go crazy for free stuff. Maybe you’re one of them. It doesn’t matter what it is—candy, a pen, a magnet, etc., some people get incredibly excited when they get anything free. To be honest, I’m not one of those people. You see, I’ve been given enough free stuff to see that most of the free stuff isn’t really all that valuable. It’s often cheap and breaks. And, just between you and me, most of the stuff people give me for free often ends in the trash.

You see, I know how the world works. If you want to find something of value, you have to work for it. It can’t just be given to you! People usually aren’t handed paid-for houses, cars, or a college education. Those things have value and are worth something. And to get them, you have to put forward effort. You have to pour your blood, sweat, and time into acquiring those types of things—things that have value. Right?

And yet, that’s not how forgiveness with God works. The Bible tells us there isn’t anything in us that compels God to love us or want us. And there isn’t anything an individual can do to earn their spot in heaven. No, the Bible tells us that God’s forgiveness and eternal life has been given to us because of God’s grace.

We might be tempted to think that this gift is cheap. After all, we know so often through life experiences that anything given for free isn’t worth all that much. But not so with God’s grace. No, this is an expensive gift, and the high price was paid so we could have it. This gift cost Jesus his life. Free, but not cheap!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving your life on the cross so that my sins could be forgiven, and heaven could be my home. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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