Monday Devotional: April 1, 2024



Bible Reading: John 20:19-23 (CEB)

19 It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”

Our story today goes back to the very beginning of the community that would become the church. Only ten followers of Jesus are present: Judas has betrayed Jesus to the authorities and is no longer with them, and Thomas is absent. It is the night of the Resurrection, though the disciples have only heard what has happened from Mary. Understandably, they are behind closed doors, locked off from the world, fearful, afraid to come out of hiding, endangered, uncertain, and directionless. Their prospects don’t look good. Frankly, they look disastrous.

This is the perilous beginning of the community that would become the church. Their teacher and mentor has just been convicted of subversive speech, has been executed by a dishonorable crucifixion, and has been buried. They wonder whether they’ll be next. Their future looks darker than dark. Then, against all odds, that same Jesus is in the room with them. And Jesus gives them new life.

This is the Gospel of John’s most important story about the resilience of caring communities. These first ten followers of Jesus stuck together when they were under the gravest of threats. Facing their end and the end of their community, they didn’t abandon one another. But, really, they only came to life when Jesus appeared. They were overjoyed! This is the true meaning of the Resurrection. When the future of a community of Jesus’s followers seems humanly lost, the risen Jesus reappears among them — over and over — and makes hope possible again.

Many early Christian communities, doing the best they could but facing life-threatening forces, saw themselves in this story. It gave them the strength to go on. It happened once, at the very beginning, and it can happen again. Caring communities rely on something — and Someone — bigger than themselves.


Spirit of God, keep showing up to give us and our communities hope. Amen.

By Theodore Hiebert, The Upper Room Disciplines 2024, page 123.

Lenten Bible Study

The Third Day: Living the Resurrection
By Tom Berlin with Mike A. Miller

Session 5: Paul
Bible Readings: Acts 9:1-18
1 Corinthians 15:14, 19

ZOOM Session

Monday, April 1, 2024, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
For Zoom Link, send email to [email protected]


Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Conference Room, McGee Building