Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Third Sunday of Easter (April 15, 2018).
Season & Preparations
Christ is risen! Yes, the season of Easter continues and focuses on Jesus’ appearances to His followers until His ascension, forty days after His resurrection. Our celebration of Christ’s resurrected presence among His people is noted with white paraments and the lighting of the paschal candle, which continues until Ascension.
As noted last week, the season of Easter utilizes readings from the Book of Acts rather than Old Testament Readings. As you prepare your bulletins, worship folders, or slideshows, be sure to note the readings from Acts as either “New Testament Reading” or “First Reading.” I recommend “First Reading,” then likewise calling the Epistle the “Second Reading” for the sake of consistency.
Readings & Theme
Each of the readings this week has an element of joy that God gives us in the gifts of repentance and faith.
The First Reading, from the Book of Acts, records a sermon by Peter in Solomon’s portico, which was a section of the temple in Jerusalem. This reading picks up in chapter three, verse eleven. In verses 1–10, Peter and John encountered a man who had been lame since birth. Peter healed the man, and the man arose and walked. In Peter’s sermon in the pericope for this Sunday, Peter asks the crowd why they are staring in wonder at what has happened. Peter confesses it is not by his own power that this lame man has been healed, but rather by the power of Jesus, the Author of Life. Peter recounts the death and resurrection of Jesus and calls upon the people to repent.
The Sundays of Easter work through most of the Epistle of 1 John. This week’s reading is from chapter three. John encourages his readers with the good news that the Father has loved us in such a way that we are now the children of God. John also writes that Jesus “appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin” (v. 5). In response to the Father’s love and Jesus’ appearance, we are to abide in Jesus, practicing righteousness.
The Gospel for Easter 3 is from Luke 24 and records an appearance of the resurrected Jesus to His disciples. The disciples are startled by Jesus’ appearance, thinking they have seen a spirit. But Jesus calms their hearts and minds by offering His hands and feet for them to see and touch, for as Jesus says, “Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (v. 39). The disciples marvel at Jesus. Further proving His bodily resurrection, Jesus asks the disciples for something to eat. They give Him a piece of broiled fish, which He eats in their presence.
Then Jesus continues His task of teaching the disciples, opening their minds to understand how the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled and that the Scriptures point to Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. This message is to be proclaimed to all nations and it will begin in Jerusalem on Pentecost.
Hymns & Music
The Hymn of the Day for the Third Sunday of Easter is “With High Delight Let Us Unite” (LSB 483). Stanza one picks up on the latter part of the day’s Gospel:
To set us free
Is ris’n and sends
To all earth’s ends
Good news to save ev’ry nation.
Many Easter hymns will fit the First Reading and the Gospel, including “Christ Is Risen, Christ Is Living” (LSB 479) and “The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done” (LSB 464).
The Epistle is a popular text for hymns, including “Children of the Heavenly Father” (LSB 725) and “God Loves Me Dearly” (LSB 392).
Additional Resources for Worship & Study
If you plan to work through 1 John for a sermon series or Bible study during the Easter season, I highly recommend Bruce Schuchard’s Concordia Commentary: 1–3 John.
Looking for additional information on planning for the Third Sunday of Easter? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.