Monday of Easter Week
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. – I Corinthians 15:33.
Is this a fitting text for Eastertide? It seems not. But learn what happened on Easter Day.
Some of the guards, on recovering from their faint and fright after the angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the sepulcher, hurried into the city and told the chief priests all the things that had come to pass. These then assembled with the elders and took counsel. And, as a result of their deliberations, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying: “Say ye: ‘His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were taught. This, then, became the common report among the Jews (Matthew 28:11-15). And this, or a similar report, has been adopted by unbelievers of all times. In our day, too, there are such unbelievers. Even large numbers of pastors and religious professors, who are modern rationalists, preach, teach, and stoutly maintain that Jesus has not risen from the dead. And they gloss their Jewish, anti-christian, and Scripture-profaning teaching with many a spurious tale. And the superficial masses flock after them.
But do not be deceived, my dear Christian! Scripture says: “Evil communications [Greek: ‘companionship’] corrupt good manners [Greek: ‘morals’].” If you allow the close companionship of the wicked to influence your thinking, your morals will become corrupted; your faith in the Word of God and in your Savior, Jesus Christ, will be weakened and possibly even destroyed. Association with those that deny the resurrection of Christ will lead to the destruction of your saving faith, if you believe their lies. Earlier in the same chapter, St. Paul writes: “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17). In this Eastertide, you will hear much of what the Scriptures have recorded of the resurrection, the bodily resurrection, of Jesus. Lend your ear to these precious truths. There strengthen and quicken your faith.
PRAYER. – My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Thou didst take my sin and death upon Thee, and didst completely overcome and destroy them for me. Thou didst rise from the dead – the Conqueror and the Prince of Life – and didst give to me righteousness and eternal life. I pray Thee so to continue to strengthen and to steel my poor soul by Thy Word and the Holy Spirit, working through that Word, that I may continue to be kept safe from all evil associations, and that I may continue to firmly believe in Thee, who didst rise and ever lives, my true Savior. Amen.
I know that my Redeemer lives;
what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save!
He lives all-glorious in the sky;
He lives exalted there on high.
(Hymn 200, st. 1 and 2; TLH)