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Jesus Christ Is Risen Today!

Today's Devotional

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:6

Before Charles Simeon attended university in Cambridge, England, he loved horses and clothes, spending a huge sum on his attire yearly. But because his college required him to attend regular Communion services, he started to explore what he believed. After reading books written by believers in Jesus, he experienced a dramatic conversion on Easter Sunday. Awaking early on April 4, 1779, he cried out, “Jesus Christ is risen today! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” As he grew in his faith in God, he devoted himself to Bible study, prayer, and attending chapel services.

On the first Easter, life changed for the two women who arrived at Jesus’ tomb. There they witnessed a violent earthquake as an angel rolled back the stone. He said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:5–6). Overjoyed, the women worshiped Jesus and ran back to tell their friends the good news.

Encountering the risen Christ isn’t something reserved for ancient times—He promises to meet us here and now. We might experience a dramatic encounter, such as the women at the tomb or as Charles Simeon did, but we might not. In whatever way Jesus reveals Himself to us, we can trust that He loves us.

How has God shown Himself to you? How have you changed because of your encounter with Him?

Risen Jesus, thank You for coming and dying on the cross that I might have life eternal. I worship You.


Matthew’s resurrection account is stunning, particularly in its honesty. In addition to the joy of the women upon seeing the risen Jesus (28:8), we’re also told of the disciples’ unbelief (v. 17). When you weave together the resurrection accounts in the various gospels (and 1 Corinthians 15), it’s clear that Jesus had appeared to His disciples several times at this point, yet some still doubted. We might find a small measure of comfort in that. In spite of all Christ has done for us and the ways He’s proven Himself merciful and faithful, we still can struggle with doubts as they did. Like the father of the demonized boy, we find ourselves praying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

By |2024-03-31T02:33:05-04:00March 31st, 2024|
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The Passion of Christ

Today's Devotional

The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Before Jim Caviezel played Jesus in the film The Passion of the Christ, director Mel Gibson warned that the role would be extremely difficult and could negatively impact his career in Hollywood. Caviezel took on the role anyway, saying, “I think we have to make it, even if it is difficult.”

During the filming, Caviezel was struck by lightning, lost forty-five pounds, and was accidentally whipped during the flogging scene. Afterwards, he stated, “I didn’t want people to see me. I just wanted them to see Jesus. Conversions will happen through that.” The film deeply affected Caviezel and others on the set, and only God knows how many of the millions who watched it experienced changed lives.

The passion of Christ refers to the time of Jesus’ greatest suffering, from His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday and including His betrayal, mocking, flogging, and crucifixion. Accounts are found in all four gospels.

In Isaiah 53, His suffering and its outcome are foretold: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (v. 5). All of us, “like sheep, have gone astray” (v. 6). But because of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, we can have peace with God. His suffering opened the way for us to be with Him.

What aspect of Christ’s life most impacts you? How does His suffering affect you?

Precious Savior, it’s hard to express how grateful I am that You suffered, died, and rose again for me. Thank You.

For further study, read I Am the Way: The Amazing Claims of Jesus.


The Song of the Suffering Servant we most often associate with Isaiah 53 actually begins in the previous chapter at verse 13. There, the servant is introduced as one who is wise and who will be “raised and lifted up and highly exalted” (52:13). If that final phrase sounds familiar, that’s because it’s one of Isaiah’s favorite ways to describe his encounters with Yahweh (God) Himself.

In Isaiah 6:1, the prophet recounts seeing the God of Israel in His temple “high [rum] and exalted [nasa’]”; in 52:13, the niv translates the same two Hebrew words as “raised and lifted up.” Isaiah associates the exaltation of the Suffering Servant with the very person of Yahweh, looking ahead to the Son Himself, Jesus.

By |2024-03-30T02:33:10-04:00March 30th, 2024|
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Jesus, Our Substitute

Today's Devotional

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

A wealthy twenty-year-old was drag-racing with his friends when he struck and killed a pedestrian. Although the young man received a three-year prison sentence, some believe that the man who appeared in court (and who subsequently served a prison sentence) was a hired surrogate for the driver who committed the crime. This type of thing has been known to occur in some countries where people hire body doubles to avoid paying for their crimes.

This may sound scandalous and outrageous, but more than two thousand years ago, Jesus became our substitute and “suffered once for [our] sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18). As God’s sinless sacrifice, Christ suffered and died once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), for all who believe in Him. He took the penalty for all our sins in His own body on the cross. Unlike a person today who chooses to be a substitute for a criminal to get some cash, Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross provided “hope” for us as He freely, willingly gave His life for us (1 Peter 3:15, 18; John 10:15). He did so to bridge the chasm between us and God.

May we rejoice and find comfort and confidence in this profound truth: Only by the substitutionary death of Jesus can we—sinners in need—have a relationship with and complete spiritual access to our loving God.

How has Christ’s substitutionary death changed your life? What does it mean for you to have access to God and eternal life because of Jesus’ death on the cross?

Dear Jesus, thank You for dying in my place so that I might have access to God.

Learn more about having a personal relationship with God.


In 1 Peter 3:13-14, the apostle encourages believers in Jesus to “do good,” even if they suffer for it. Believers in Christ aren’t to fear but are to trust in God and be prepared to witness for Him. Peter reminds us that Jesus suffered unjustly and died for our sins, “the righteous for the unrighteous” (v. 18). His was a once-for-all sacrifice. Whoever believes in Him as their Savior and repents of their sins receives His forgiveness. Our salvation doesn’t guarantee we won’t suffer; today’s passage and other Scripture passages tell us something quite different. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18); also, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (v. 20). And Paul tells us, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

By |2024-03-29T02:33:05-04:00March 29th, 2024|
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A New Command to Love

Today's Devotional

A new command I give you: Love one another. John 13:34

In a tradition starting as early as the thirteenth century, members of the royal family in the United Kingdom give gifts to people in need on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. The practice is rooted in the meaning of the word maundy, which comes from the Latin mandatum, “command.” The command being commemorated is the new one that Jesus gave to His friends on the night before He died: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus was a leader who took on the role of a servant as He washed His friends’ feet (v. 5). He then called them to do the same: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (v. 15). And in an even greater act of sacrifice, He lay down His life, dying on the cross (19:30). Out of mercy and love, He gave Himself that we might enjoy the fullness of life.

The tradition of the British royal family serving people in need continues as a symbol of following Jesus’ great example. We may not have been born into a place of privilege, but when we place our faith in Jesus, we become members of His family. And we too can show our love by living out His new command. As we depend on God’s Spirit to change us from within, we can reach out to others with care, affirmation, and grace.

How have you observed or embodied servant leadership? In what ways could you “love one another” today?

My great Savior, what a gift of love You give! Thank You for being the ultimate Servant, laying down Your life for me.


What does it mean that Jesus gave a “new” command to love (John 13:34)? A command to love was already central in Jewish faith (Leviticus 19:18). But what seems “new” is to love “as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, the disciples would be given a new example of self-giving love that should shape their lives. But far more than just an example, Jesus would also give them the ability to love this way. Through the gift of Christ’s Spirit, they could experience and share the love Jesus shared with the Father (17:22-24).

By |2024-03-28T02:33:05-04:00March 28th, 2024|
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Fruitful Believers in Christ

Today's Devotional

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. Mark 11:13

Cindy was excited for her new job in a nonprofit company. What an opportunity to make a difference! She soon discovered her coworkers didn’t share her enthusiasm. They mocked the company’s mission and made excuses for their poor performance as they looked elsewhere for more lucrative positions. Cindy wished she’d never applied for this job. What looked great from afar was disappointing up close.

This was Jesus’ problem with the fig tree mentioned in today’s story (Mark 11:13). It was early in the season, yet the tree’s leaves signaled it might have early figs. Nope. The tree had sprouted leaves, but it hadn’t yet produced fruit. Disappointed, Jesus cursed the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again” (v. 14). By the next morning the tree had entirely withered (v. 20).

Christ once fasted forty days, so He knew how to go without food. Cursing the fig tree was not about His appetite. It was an object lesson. The tree represented Israel, which had the trappings of true religion but had lost the point. They were about to kill their Messiah, the Son of God. How more barren could they be?

We may look good from afar, but Jesus comes near, looking for fruit that only His Spirit can produce. Our fruit need not be spectacular. But it must be supernatural, such as love, joy, and peace in hard times (Galatians 5:22). Relying on the Spirit, we can bear fruit even then for Jesus.

What fruit do others see in you? How might you be more fruitful?

Holy Spirit, prune me so I might bear more fruit.


The barren and withered fig tree, representing an unfaithful nation soon to be overrun by its enemies, is a common Old Testament image (Isaiah 28:4; 34:4; Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 2:12; Joel 1:7, 12; Amos 4:9; Nahum 3:12; Habakkuk 3:17). Quite often, the center of Israel’s faithlessness was its abuse of the temple services, and the prophets used a withered fig tree as a warning of the temple’s destruction. In fact, the passage quoted in Mark 11:17 is just such a text. Jesus quotes the prophet Jeremiah who condemns Judah for hypocritically thinking that temple attendance would expunge the guilt of her idolatry (see Jeremiah 7:2–4, 8, 11).

Adapted from Moving Mountains: The Practice of Persistent Prayer.

By |2024-03-27T02:33:12-04:00March 27th, 2024|
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Missing the Basics

Today's Devotional

You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29

For decades, McDonald’s ruled fast food with their Quarter Pounder burger. In the 1980s, a rival chain cooked up an idea to dethrone the company with the golden arches. A&W offered the Third Pound Burger—larger than McDonald’s—and sold it for the same price. Even more, A&W’s burger won numerous blind taste tests. But the burger bombed. Nobody bought it. Eventually, they dropped it from the menu. Research revealed that consumers misunderstood the math and thought the Third Pound Burger was smaller than the Quarter Pounder. A grand idea failed because people missed the basics.

Jesus warned of how easy it is to miss the basics. Religious leaders, scheming to trap and discredit Him during the week He was crucified, posed a strange, hypothetical scenario about a woman who was widowed seven times (Matthew 22:23–28). Jesus responded, insisting that this knotty dilemma wasn’t a problem at all. Rather, their problem was how they didn’t “know the Scriptures or the power of God” (v. 29). The Scriptures, Jesus insisted, aren’t first intended to answer logical or philosophical puzzles. Rather, their primary aim is to lead us to know and love Jesus and to “have eternal life” in Him (John 5:39). These are the basics the leaders missed.

We often miss the basics too. The Bible’s main aim is an encounter with the living Jesus. It would be heartbreaking to miss it.

How do you miss Scripture’s basics? How can you return to the basics . . . to Jesus?

Dear God, sometimes I get lost even amid good things. Please help me.


Matthew 22 contains one of the many examples in the Gospels of a “shame/honor contest.” Much of the Eastern world today is still rooted in the concept of shame and honor because those cultures are more defined by community expectations than by individual rights. In Western culture, however, the individual is more prominent. In a shame/honor contest, the goal is to take honor from someone and bring shame on them. This requires an audience—the community.

In Matthew 22, the religious leaders attack Jesus in front of the crowds with a series of questions intended to dishonor Him in the eyes of the people (v. 15). Christ answers with irrefutable wisdom, and the religious leaders fail in their attempts to shame Him.

By |2024-03-26T02:33:13-04:00March 26th, 2024|
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Love God by Loving Others

Today's Devotional

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

The Alba family experienced the rare occurrence of birthing two sets of identical twins just thirteen months apart. How did they juggle their parental responsibilities as well as their jobs? Their community of friends and family stepped in. Grandparents on both sides took a set of twins during the day so the parents could work and pay for health insurance. One company gave a year’s supply of diapers. The couple’s coworkers donated their personal sick days. “We couldn’t have done it without our community,” they agreed. In fact, during a live interview, the cohost removed her mic and ran after one renegade toddler, continuing the communal investment!

In Matthew 25:31–46, Jesus tells a parable to make the point that when we serve others, we serve God. After listing acts of service, including providing food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, lodging for the homeless, clothes for the naked, and healing for the sick (vv. 35–36), Jesus concludes, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (v. 40).

Imagining Jesus as the ultimate recipient of our kindness is true motivation to serve in our neighborhoods, families, churches, and world. When He prompts us to sacrificially invest in the needs of others, we serve Him. When we love others, we love God.

How might you serve Jesus in your community today? How can you love God by loving others in your path?

Loving God, please open my eyes to the needs of others around me so I can help meet them and love You better.


In the parable typically referred to as “the sheep and the goats,” Jesus describes separating people when He returns as one would separate “the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). The two groups are separated based on their care of others. The group identified as “righteous” (v. 37) and the other group both address Jesus as “Lord” (vv. 37, 44). This would have reminded hearers of Christ’s words in Matthew 7:21—that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

By |2024-03-25T02:33:05-04:00March 25th, 2024|
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Renaissance in Jesus

Today's Devotional

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. John 12:24

We know Leonardo da Vinci as the renaissance man. His intellectual prowess led to advances across multiple fields of study and the arts. Yet Leonardo journaled of “these miserable days of ours” and lamented that we die “without leaving behind any memory of ourselves in the mind of men.”

“While I thought I was learning how to live,” said Leonardo, “I was learning how to die.” He was closer to the truth than he may have realized. Learning how to die is the way to life. After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday; see John 12:12–19), He said, “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” (v. 24). He spoke this about His own death but expanded it to include us all: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (v. 25).

The apostle Paul wrote of being “buried” with Christ “through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:4–5).

Through His death, Jesus offers us rebirth—the very meaning of renaissance. He has forged the way to eternal life with His Father.

How do you measure the value of your life? How might you need to change those values?

Dear Father, I can find meaning and purpose nowhere else but in You.


In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Jesus predicted His death at least three times. The first prediction followed Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah (reported in Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-32; Luke 9:21-22). The second and third instances are found in Matthew 17:22-23; 20:17-19; Mark 9:30-32; 10:32-34; and Luke 9:43-45; 18:31-34. These gospels all record Christ explicitly saying that He would die at the hand of the teachers of the law and would rise three days later.

The predictions in John’s gospel, however, are more subtle (12:7-8; 13:33; 14:25-29). In John 12:23-36, Christ’s death is predicted in somewhat poetic language. Jesus said that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (v. 23) and that seeds need to die to produce more grain (v. 24). Each of the gospel writers recorded their stories for a deliberate purpose and to serve an intentional end.

By |2024-03-24T02:33:13-04:00March 24th, 2024|
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Extravagant Love

Today's Devotional

Live such good lives . . . [that] they may see your good deeds and glorify God. 1 Peter 2:12

My seatmate on the flight told me she was nonreligious and had immigrated to a town that was home to numerous Christians. When she mentioned that most of her neighbors went to church, I asked about her experience. She said she could never repay their generosity. When she brought her disabled father to her new country, her neighbors built a ramp to her house and donated a hospital bed and medical supplies. She said, “If being a Christian makes one so kind, everyone should be a Christian.”

Exactly what Jesus hoped she’d say! He told His disciples, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Peter heard Christ’s command and passed it on: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).

Our neighbors who don’t have faith in Jesus may not understand what we believe and why we believe it. Don’t sweat it, as long as there’s one more thing they can’t understand: the extravagance of our love. My seatmate marveled that her Christian neighbors continue to care for her even though she isn’t, in her words, “one of them.” She knows she’s loved, for Jesus’ sake, and she gives thanks to God. She may not yet believe in Him, but she’s grateful that others do.

Who do you know who needs Jesus? How can you love them for His sake?

Heavenly Father, let Your light shine through me.

For further study, read Pray First: The Power of Prayer in Sharing the Gospel.


In the books of 1 and 2 Peter, the apostle Peter writes to comfort and encourage Jewish believers in Jesus “who are living as foreigners” (1 Peter 1:1 nlt)—known as the Jewish diaspora—throughout Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and are now facing persecution because of their faith in Christ (vv. 1, 6). As a disciple of Jesus, Peter understood, for he too was persecuted and even jailed three times for sharing the gospel. The apostle most likely wrote his letters around ad 62-65 from Rome, where it’s believed he was martyred during Emperor Nero’s rule. At this time in the Roman Empire, Nero initiated a great persecution of believers in Jesus who were tortured and killed for their faith. Peter wrote to encourage believers in Jesus to live in such a way that nonbelievers would be drawn to Him—with lives characterized by good deeds, even though they were far from home and in difficult circumstances (2:12).

By |2024-03-23T02:33:14-04:00March 23rd, 2024|
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Next Step of Love

Today's Devotional

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

What would cause someone to help a competitor? For a restaurant owner named Adolfo in Wisconsin, it was the opportunity to encourage other struggling local restaurant owners adapting to Covid regulations. Adolfo knew firsthand the challenges of operating a business during a pandemic. Encouraged by another local business’ generosity, Adolfo spent his own money to purchase more than two thousand dollars in gift cards to give away to his customers to use at other restaurants in his community. That’s an expression of love that’s not just words but action.  

Building on the ultimate expression of love demonstrated by Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life for humanity (1 John 3:16), John encouraged his readers to also take the next step and put love into action. For John, to “lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (v. 16) meant demonstrating the same type of love exemplified by Jesus—and that would most often take the form of everyday, practical actions, such as sharing material possessions. It wasn’t enough to love with words; love required sincere, meaningful actions (v. 18).

Putting love into action can be hard because it often requires personal sacrifice or disadvantaging ourselves for another person. Enabled by God’s Spirit and remembering His lavish love for us, we can take the next step of love.

How have you experienced love in action? How can you take the next step to love someone in a practical way?

Dear Jesus, please help me to follow Your example and take the next step to demonstrate genuine love in my actions today.


In 1 John 3, the author focuses on the concept of love lived out in practicality. Like Cain, a lack of love-in-action is comparable to hatred and murder (v. 15). Instead, the author appeals to the example of Jesus, whose act of laying down His own life demonstrates the kind of love we should live out as His children. But what does that love look like practically? The letter makes it very simple: care for the physical needs of fellow believers (vv. 17-18).

And lest we think that the words of 1 John 3 are only a recommendation, it’s important to remember that God took Israel to task—destroying their wealth and sending them into exile—in part because the wealthy failed to care for the needy among them (see Amos 5:11–12). God deeply cares for the poor and marginalized, and we demonstrate Christlike love when we show them that same care.

By |2024-03-22T02:33:10-04:00March 22nd, 2024|
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