He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
Matthew 28:6 NLT
Wishing you Easter blessings as we celebrate a risen Savior today! May you know the confident hope and the victory we have in Jesus in your daily life. Thank you for the blessing you have been to our ministry.
–Your Friends at Our Daily Bread Ministries
Despised for All of This
April 1, 2018
Read: Isaiah 53:3–12
Bible in a Year: Judges 13–15; Luke 6:27–49
He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.—Isaiah 53:12
Susannah Cibber gained fame in the eighteenth century for her talent as a singer. However, she was equally well known for her scandalous marital problems. That’s why when Handel’s Messiah was first performed in Dublin in April 1742, many in the audience did not approve of her role as a featured soloist.
During that inaugural performance, Cibber sang of the Messiah: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 kjv). Those words so moved Rev. Patrick Delany that he jumped to his feet and said, “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”
The connection between Susannah Cibber and the theme of Handel’s Messiah is evident. The “man of sorrows”—Jesus the Messiah—was “despised and rejected” because of sin. The prophet Isaiah said, “My righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (v. 11).
The connection between Messiah and us is no less apparent. Whether we stand with the judgmental audience members, with Susannah Cibber, or somewhere in between, we all need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection, restored our relationship with God our Father.
For this—for all Jesus did—be all our sins forgiven. —Tim Gustafson
Father in heaven, we all stand in need of Your forgiveness. We stand too in awe of Your Son Jesus, who was despised and rejected for our sins. Thank You for coming to us in Jesus 2,000 years ago so that we might know You now.
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19:6 kjv
He Is Risen | Day 10: Great Sacrifice
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Your devotional reading: Day 10
By: Bill Crowder
Today’s Reading: Hebrews 10:5–18
Jesus gave his life for our sins . . . in order to rescue us.
W. T. Stead, an innovative English journalist at the turn of the 20th century, was known for writing about controversial social issues. Two of the articles he published addressed the danger of ships operating with an insufficient ratio of lifeboats to passengers. Ironically, Stead was aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. According to one report, after helping women and children into lifeboats, Stead sacrificed his own life by giving up his life vest and a place in the lifeboats so others could be rescued.
There is something very stirring about self-sacrifice. No greater example of that can be found than in Christ Himself. The writer of Hebrews says, “This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God . . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12, 14 NKJV). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul opened with words describing this great sacrifice: “Jesus gave his life for our sins . . . to rescue us from this evil world” (Galatians 1:4).
Jesus’s offering of Himself on our behalf is the measure of His love for us. That willing sacrifice continues to rescue men and women and offer assurance of eternity with Him.
Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.
Read: Matthew 27:27–31
Bible in a Year: Judges 11–12; Luke 6:1–26
They . . . twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.—Matthew 27:28–29
We sat around the table, each person adding a toothpick to the foam disc before us. At our evening meal in the weeks leading up to Easter, we created a crown of thorns—with each toothpick signifying something we had done that day for which we were sorry and for which Christ had paid the penalty. The exercise brought home to us, night after night, how through our wrongdoing we were guilty and how we needed a Savior. And how Jesus freed us through His death on the cross.
The crown of thorns that Jesus was made to wear was part of a cruel game the Roman soldiers played before He was crucified. They also dressed Him in a royal robe and gave Him a staff as a king’s scepter, which they then used to beat Him. They mocked Him, calling Him “king of the Jews” (Matthew 27:29), not realizing that their actions would be remembered thousands of years later. This was no ordinary king. He was the King of Kings whose death, followed by His resurrection, gives us eternal life.
On Easter morning, we celebrated the gift of forgiveness and new life by replacing the toothpicks with flowers. What joy we felt, knowing that God had erased our sins and given us freedom and life forever in Him! —Amy Boucher Pye
Lord Jesus Christ, my heart hurts to think of all of the pain and suffering You endured for me. Thank You for Your gift of love that sets me free.
The crown of thorns has become a crown of life.
INSIGHT: The horrific scene described in today’s reading serves to underscore how this fallen world and the powers of darkness held nothing but contempt for Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world. Yet Christ chose to suffer to redeem us: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
How might we praise our Lord for enduring the cross in order to erase our sins and give us freedom and life forever with Him?
For further study, see The Mockery and Majesty of the Cross at discoveryseries.org/hp081. Dennis Fisher
He Is Risen | Day 9: Fresh Faith
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Your devotional reading: Day 9
By: James Banks
Today’s Reading: John 20:24–29
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
When our son was struggling with heroin addiction, if you had told me God would one day use our experience to encourage other families who face these kinds of battles, I would have had trouble believing it. God has a way of bringing good out of difficult circumstances that isn’t always easy to see when you are going through them.
The apostle Thomas also didn’t expect God to bring good out of the greatest challenge of his faith—Jesus’s crucifixion. Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the resurrection, and in his deep grief he insisted, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands [and] put my fingers into them” (John 20:25). But later, when Jesus appeared to all the disciples together, out of the dust of Thomas’s doubts God’s Spirit would inspire a striking statement of faith. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28), he was grasping the truth that Jesus was actually God in the flesh, standing right in front of him. It was a bold confession of faith that would encourage and inspire believers in every century that followed.
Our God is able to inspire fresh faith in our hearts, even in moments when we least expect it. We can always look forward to His faithfulness. Nothing is too hard for Him!
God can change our doubts into bold statements of faith.
Read: Hebrews 10:1–10
Bible in a Year: Judges 9–10; Luke 5:17–39
We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.—Hebrews 10:10
During Holy Week, we remember the final days before Jesus’s crucifixion. The road Jesus traveled to the cross through the streets of Jerusalem is known today as the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows.
But the writer of Hebrews viewed the path Jesus took as more than just a path of sorrows. The way of suffering that Jesus willingly walked to Golgotha made a “new and living way” into the presence of God for us (Hebrews 10:20).
For centuries the Jewish people had sought to come into God’s presence through animal sacrifices and by seeking to keep the law. But the law was “only a shadow of the good things that are coming,” for “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (vv. 1, 4).
Jesus’s journey down the Via Dolorosa led to His death and resurrection. Because of His sacrifice, we can be made holy when we trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Even though we aren’t able to keep the law perfectly, we can draw near to God without fear, fully confident that we are welcomed and loved (vv. 10, 22).
Christ’s way of sorrow opened for us a new and living way to God. —Amy Peterson
Jesus, thank You for walking the way of sorrow and making a way for us to be reconciled to God.
Christ’s sacrifice was what God desired and what our sin required.
INSIGHT: In Romans 3:9-23 Paul describes how we are all sinners. Because of our sins we deserve God’s wrath (1:18). But God showed us how much He loved us by giving His Son to be the “sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood” (3:25). We are all “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (v. 24). Even though we still sin, we are justified, reconciled, and sanctified. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, we can live holy lives. K. T. Sim
He Is Risen | Day 8: Surprised!
Our Daily Bread Ministries
By: David McCasland
Today’s Reading: Luke 24:13–35
Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), an Italian artist, was known for his fiery temperament and unconventional technique. He used ordinary working people as models for his saints and was able to make viewers of his paintings feel they were a part of the scene. The Supper at Emmaus shows an innkeeper standing while Jesus and two of His followers are seated at a table when they recognize Him as the risen Lord (Luke 24:31). One disciple is pushing himself to a standing position while the other’s arms are outstretched and his hands open in astonishment.
Luke, who records these events in his gospel, tells us that the two men immediately returned to Jerusalem where they found the eleven disciples and others assembled together and saying, “ ‘The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.’ Then [they] told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread” (vv. 33–35).
Oswald Chambers said, “Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical connections. The only way a worker can keep true to God is by being ready for the Lord’s surprise visits.”
Whatever road we are on today, may we be ready for Jesus to make Himself known to us in new and surprising ways.
To find the Lord Jesus Christ we must be willing to seek Him.
Read: John 13:1–17
Bible in a Year: Judges 7–8; Luke 5:1–16
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet.—John 13:5
One day in physics class many years ago, our teacher asked us to tell him—without turning around—what color the back wall of the classroom was. None of us could answer, for we hadn’t noticed.
Sometimes we miss or overlook the “stuff” of life simply because we can’t take it all in. And sometimes we don’t see what’s been there all along.
It was like that for me as I recently read again the account of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. The story is a familiar one, for it is often read during Passion Week. That our Savior and King would stoop to cleanse the feet of His disciples awes us. In Jesus’s day, even Jewish servants were spared this task because it was seen as beneath them. But what I hadn’t noticed before was that Jesus, who was both man and God, washed the feet of Judas. Even though He knew Judas would betray Him, as we see in John 13:11, Jesus still humbled Himself and washed Judas’s feet.
Love poured out in a basin of water—love that He shared even with the one who would betray Him. As we ponder the events of this week leading up to the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, may we too be given the gift of humility so that we can extend Jesus’s love to our friends and any enemies. —Amy Boucher Pye
Lord Jesus Christ, fill my heart with love that I might roll up my sleeves and wash the feet of others for Your glory.
Because of love, Jesus humbled Himself and washed His disciples’ feet.
He Is Risen | Day 7: He Understands and Cares
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Your devotional reading: Day 7
He Understands and Cares
By: David McCasland
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 53:1–8
It was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
When asked if he thought that ignorance and apathy were problems in modern society, a man joked, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
I suppose many discouraged people feel that way about the world today and the people in it. But when it comes to the perplexities and concerns of our lives, Jesus fully understands, and He deeply cares. Isaiah 53, an Old Testament prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus, gives us a glimpse of what He went through for us. “He was oppressed and treated harshly . . . . He was led like a lamb to the slaughter” (v. 7). “He was struck down for the rebellion of my people” (v. 8). “It was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands” (v. 10).
On the cross Jesus willingly bore our sin and guilt. No one ever suffered more than our Lord did for us. He knew what it would cost to save us from our sins and, in love, He willingly paid it (vv. 4–6).
Because of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, He is alive and present with us today. Whatever situation we face, Jesus understands and cares. And He will carry us through.
He isn’t here! He is risen! —Luke 24:6
Read: Luke 23:44–49
Bible in a Year: Judges 4–6; Luke 4:31–44
Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering . . . ?—Lamentations 1:12
In the song “Look at Him,” Mexican composer Rubén Sotelo describes Jesus at the cross. He invites us to look at Jesus and be quiet, because there is really nothing to say before the type of love Jesus demonstrated at the cross. By faith we can imagine the scene described in the Gospels. We can imagine the cross and the blood, the nails, and the pain.
When Jesus breathed His last, those who “had gathered to witness this sight . . . beat their breasts and went away” (Luke 23:48). Others “stood at a distance, watching these things” (v. 49). They looked and were quiet. Only one spoke, a centurion, who said, “Surely this was a righteous man” (v. 47).
Songs and poems have been written to describe this great love. Many years before, Jeremiah wrote about Jerusalem’s pain after its devastation. “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” (Lamentations 1:12). He was asking people to look and see; he thought there was no greater suffering than Jerusalem’s. However, has there been any suffering like Jesus’s suffering?
All of us are passing by the road of the cross. Will we look and see His love? This Easter, when words and poems are not enough to express our gratitude and describe God’s love, let us take a moment to ponder Jesus’s death; and in the quietness of our hearts, may we whisper to Him our deepest devotion. —Keila Ochoa
Dear Jesus, as I look at Your cross, I have no words to express my gratitude for Your perfect sacrifice. But I thank You for Your love.
Look at the cross and worship.
INSIGHT: Can you imagine being personally responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus? Luke tells us the Roman centurion saw something that led him to conclude that he had just overseen the execution of an innocent man (Luke 23:47). Matthew adds that as the officer and his soldiers felt the earth shake violently under their feet they became terrified at the thought that they had just executed “the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).
In their world, Caesar was known as the son of God. But these Roman soldiers suddenly realized the emperor they answered to was nothing like Jesus. Entrusted with all power and authority in heaven and on earth, His death revealed the loving heart of His Father.
Imagine being the centurion reading what the apostle Paul later wrote to followers of Jesus in Rome. By this time, Jesus’s death was being proclaimed as good news to everyone (Romans 1:15-17). Paul described Jesus’s suffering and death as evidence of the God who continues to groan with us in our wrongs against Him, one another, and ourselves (Romans 8).
Can we see ourselves kneeling with this Roman officer in grateful worship? Mart DeHaan