Lord Jesus, Your word tells me that the gospel on which I have taken my stand and by which I am saved is grounded on the claim that you died for my sins according to the Scriptures, that you were buried, and that you were raised on the third day, also according to the Scriptures. I thank you for John’s written record of the unimpeachable testimony of both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, that you indeed were dead when your body was taken down from the cross, and that you were indeed buried, laid in a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. I draw assurance from this that any theories that you didn’t actually die or that the disciples went to the wrong tomb on Easter morning have no basis in fact or history. Father, We see you working in seemingly coincidental ways here to fulfill prophecy by prompting men of wealth to see that the body of Christ was buried in the tomb of the wealthy as Isaiah had prophesied. We pray that you will continue to prompt men of wealth to put their resources at your disposal for kingdom business. And we pray that you will remind us that even in dark moments you are still working all things together to do your will. Lord Christ, I thank you for the eyewitness testimony of Mary Magdalene and both Peter and John that your tomb was empty on resurrection Sunday. They found the linen strips in which your body had been wrapped lying there, and they found the burial cloth that had been around your head folded up by itself separate from the linen, as if you had carefully and without hurry removed it and set it aside before you left the tomb. I thank you too that John and Peter came to believe that you had been raised from the dead against their own belief and conviction. When they came to the tomb, they did not yet grasp the Scripture that you had to rise from the dead, and so when they saw the empty tomb, they went away believing Mary’s report that the tomb was empty, not because you had risen from the dead, but because your body had been stolen. I take assurance for my own faith in knowing that they were compelled to change their minds by your own appearance to them, alive from the dead. Lord, there are times when, like Joseph, ______________________ and I keep our faith in you to ourselves, following you secretly because of our fear of men. I pray that, like him, we may grow stronger and bolder in our faith and more and more willing to be publicly and unapologetically identified with you. We are grateful that you have not given to us a spirit of fear or timidity, but instead have given us a Spirit of power, love and self-control. Please fill us with that Spirit today. I thank you for dying for my sins, that I may be forgiven of my sins, come to know both you and your Father, and have the promise of eternal life. It is in your name I pray, amen.