Best Friends Forever

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus has opened the way to the Father so that “whatever you ask of the Father” in Jesus’ name, “he will give it to you” (John 16:23). We pray, therefore, in the confidence that we will be heard and answered, that our “joy may be full” (John 16:24). We pray because the Gospel has been preached to us and the Lord has opened our hearts to believe the Gospel (Acts 16:10, 14). We pray in the name of Jesus because we have been baptized into Him, as Lydia and her household were baptized (Acts 16:15). We have been healed, and we live and walk and pray in newness of life (John 5:8-9). For we stand upon the firm foundation “of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:14), and our temple is “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22).

In His Grip

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the Father and became flesh among us in order to rescue us, His sheep. He laid down His life for us and took it up again in order to give us eternal life. By the preaching of His Gospel, He calls His sheep to Himself and keeps them with Him forever. As they hear His voice and follow Him, “they will never perish” (John 10:28), for “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29). In the same way, faithful pastors (literally, “shepherds”) “care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28), “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Therefore, with all the company of heaven, the Good Shepherd gathers His flock in worship, as they cry: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:10).

Do You Love Me?

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12), who by His cross has conquered sin and death. With His blood, He has “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). This same Lord Jesus visits people of all nations and calls them to Himself by the Gospel, even as He “was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead” (John 21:14). He restored Simon Peter to faith and life, and He commissioned him to feed His lambs and tend His sheep (John 21:15-17). Likewise, He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus and brought him repentance, so that the persecutor of Jesus might carry and confess His name “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

An Unlikely Witness

On the Lord’s Day, St. John the apostle was given a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, He is the Living One, “the firstborn of the dead” (Rev. 1:5). He died for all people, and behold, He is alive forevermore! Therefore, He has “the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18). For His death atoned for sin and conquered death, and in His resurrection, He opened the kingdom of heaven to us. The “sharp two-edged sword” of His mouth (Rev. 1:16) calls you to “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” that by such faith “you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). To that end, He sends His ministers of the Word, as the Father sent Him, “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)

A Stone Rolled Away

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

Faces in the Crowd

The King of Israel comes into His royal glory by the path of humble obedience “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). He “goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:22), according to the Scriptures, willingly submitting to His Father’s plan for the salvation of sinners. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). His suffering and death open the way of repentence for the forgiveness of sins because He goes to the cross bearing the sins of the world. In his resurrection, God the Father vindicates His people and has compassion on His servants (Deut. 32:36). He kills to make alive; He wounds in order to heal. In remembrance of Him, we praise God, confessing “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).