Home > Reading > Daily Reading – April 8, 2022

10:32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

– Mark 10:32-34


You can tell a lot about a person by paying attention to their body language. For example, if you’re in a discussion with someone who keeps looking at his watch and yawning you can be certain that the person is not engaged. However, if someone is leaning forward, attentively listening and offering feedback; they are engaged.

Look at the body language of Jesus in our Gospel reading. Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, we are specifically told that he was “walking ahead” of His disciples. This signifies that He is fully engaged in His mission. He was leading them. There was no turning back.

This group of disciples that followed included more than the Twelve. There was a crowd of disciples, and they were amazed and frightened by Jesus’ body language. Did He realize that He was walking into a trap? It was dangerous for Him to go “up” to Jerusalem. He was a man with enemies. But He was a man on a mission. A divinely inspired mission that led to the cross.

Martin Luther drew a clear and profoundly important distinction between a “theology of the cross” and a “theology of glory.” The later teaches people to believe that doing God’s will, trusting God’s plan, leads us to glory here and hereafter. This theology is particularly evident in the many forms of the prosperity gospel. James and John may have been the first spokesmen for the prosperity gospel. Evidently, they thought that following Jesus is about getting the best seats in heaven — and on earth.

The truth is that the path of obedience always means a cross. Think of it like this. Nothing truly good, nothing truly faithful, nothing really Christian can be done without suffering or self-denial. As Christian people we recognize that our vocation, our calling, includes a cross. It is inescapable. To paraphrase one theologian, “Jesus did not bear the cross instead of us, but he bore it ahead of us.” He showed us the way of life.

All of you reading this, or listening to this, are bearing a cross. I don’t just mean that you have hardships and suffering which are the common lot of humanity. I mean that you are choosing to do the hard thing, the right thing, in obedience to your calling as a follower of Christ Jesus. We do this individually, but we do not do it alone. The Church is a community of those who are called to follow Jesus. As we do so together we are also called to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

The NALS places the theology of the cross at the center of theological education and formation of future pastors and Church leaders. We are training a generation of leaders who understand the cost of discipleship and who can lead congregations to be communities in which together we “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This is the body language of the Church of Christ. A community of Christ’s imperfect followers who love and help others bear the cross.

Prayer: “Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross so that he might draw the whole world to himself. Grant that we who glory in his death for our salvation may also glory in his call to take up our cross and follow him; through you Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen” (Lutheran Book of Worship).

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. Eric M. Riesen

Exodus 9:13–35 (Listen)

The Seventh Plague: Hail

13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18 Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”’” 20 Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21 but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field.

22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” 23 Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.

27 Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.” 31 (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the LORD, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

2 Corinthians 4:1–12 (Listen)

The Light of the Gospel

4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Morning Psalms

Evening Psalms

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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