Good News Youth Devotional

By Jacob Crouse (Music Coordinator at the Washington City Church of the Brethren (D.C.))

Luke 24:1-12 “…he saw and went away wondering about what happened.”

Whenever I hear something that’s sort of beyond my scope of vision, my first thought usually isn’t wonder. Information flows towards us at a wonderfully high rate and not all of it is reliable. It can be desensitizing. It’s not hard to relate to the Eleven’s initial reaction when they heard the news of Christ’s disappearance. They were skeptical that the resurrection had happened. What’s harder and more important for us to relate to the way Peter reacted to the news that the tomb was empty. He heard unbelievable news that, if true, could change everything! He rushed to do his own research and confirm what had happened. When he saw the tomb, his perspective changed from doubting to wonder. As we celebrate Easter in an age of knowing, we should take this passage to heart and gain inspiration from Peter. Following Jesus means to be full of wonder and search for the truth.

Good News: We are called to an active people, full of wonder.

Discussion question: What news have you heard and brushed off lately as just another crazy thing going on?

Go one step further: Next week is Earth Week. In honor of that, research about current issues with the climate. What are some ways human beings affect the environment both positively and negatively? What are some things people are doing to help resolve climate issues, both big and small? Try adding one of the solutions you find to you and household’s routine! If you don’t know where to start, check out for information and ideas.

Good News Youth Devotional

By Katie Heishman (Co-pastor at the Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren (Oh.))

Matthew 28:1-16 “…afraid, yet filled with joy…”

When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to visit Jesus’ tomb, the world literally quakes as an angel rolls away the tomb stone and sits on it. The guards at Jesus’ tomb are so afraid they fall over in shock. The angel encourages the women: “Do not be afraid.” Yet the women are fearful, too, and it’s with fear and excitement that they take off toward Galilee with the news of Jesus’ resurrection. While the women are still fearful, they’re propelled by bravery and joy to share their good news with the other disciples. Once the guards are revived, their fear leads them to act in a cowardly way by taking a bribe and lying about Jesus’ resurrection.

Fear is a powerful emotion and Jesus knows that fear can lead us to take the easy way out, like the guards. He greets the women in their fear and excitement, and tells them, “You’re holding on to me for dear life. Don’t be frightened like that” (The Message). The joy of resurrection is that Jesus seeks to free us from fear that would lead us to be cowardly or stop us from doing hard things. Through Jesus, we don’t need to be afraid of fear or be afraid of hard things. You have good news to share and hard things to do! Do not be afraid. 

Good News: Jesus frees us from fear and inspires us to bravery in the face of hard things. 

Discussion question: Where would you like Jesus to release you from fear, which limits you or holds you back? 

Go one step further: Breath Prayer (A helpful way to rely on Jesus and let go of fear is through a breath prayer.) 

Good News Youth Devotional

By Carol Elmore (Minister of Nurture and Music at the Oak Grove Church of the Brethren (Va.))

Mark 16:9-20 “…go into all the world…”

Mary Magdalene was the first on the scene to find that Jesus’ body was gone. The scripture tells us that she knew Him well and was indebted to Him because he had healed her early on. She was going to take care of Him, one last time, putting spices on His dead body. But He had risen, and was back in the flesh (almost?) to walk and talk among his friends once again. He took the time to tell them to SPREAD the GOOD NEWS that by using Jesus’ name, his disciples could heal the sick, remove demons, etc. (just your ordinary, everyday miracles, wink). “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” I was curious why, several verses throughout scripture, including this one, Jesus goes to sit “at the right hand of God”. Why the right hand? I learned that it, being the most often dominate hand, that it represents power! Jesus has the Power and Authority! This might be where the phrase “He’s my right hand man” comes from. But, the right hand was also used to give a blessing (Jacob blessed his children and grandchildren with his right hand in the book of Genesis). Our hands can tell the Good News of Jesus by doing works of strength (at workcamps, etc.), or through blessings (such as hugging an older person in your congregation, playing with children in the nursery, anointing someone who is ill, etc.).

Good News: Our hands can tell the Good News of Jesus’ love!

Discussion question: How does thinking about the good works of your hands change your thoughts when singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His hands”?

Go one step further:Look at your right hand (or your left, if it is your dominate hand). Think of times you’ve used your hand for good: hard work, a tender act of love. Thank God for ways you’ve used that hand to show the love of Christ to someone, and ask God to show you more opportunities. Sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

Good News Youth Devotional

By Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey (Co-Pastor at the Oakton Church of the Brethren (Va.))

Mark 16:1-8 “He has risen!”

The resurrection text in the Gospel of Mark says that when the women who go to the tomb discover that it is empty they are scared, confused, and flea. The Gospel even says that they say nothing because they are too afraid. And this is where the Gospel ends. Yet, we know the good news of a risen Lord today, so clearly at some point they got over their fear, and proclaimed that Jesus is alive, he is alive indeed. Even when we are afraid, are confused, and are unsure of what is happening, the reality that God can bring new life even in the midst of death, that God can still roll away stones, gives us hope to step forward. Fear may not go away, but the hope we find in Christ Jesus is stronger than our fear.

Good News: God still rolls away stones.

Discussion question: What worries/fears are burdening you today? What hope is carrying you through right now?

Go one step further: Here is a short video on how to do a Stone Prayer.

Good News Youth Devotional

By Gabe Dodd (Pastor for Youth and Young Families at the Montezuma Church of the Brethren (Va.))

John 20:19-23 “…I am sending you.”

The disciples were not only fearful and worried about the Jewish people that were looking for them, but they were also grieving the loss of their friend and teacher, Jesus. What an intense week they just finished. It started with a joyful entry into the city, some stark lessons about obedience, and conversations about love. Last week also included meals, footwashing, prayer, tears, pain, suffering, death, forgiveness, and sorrow; the realities of the world did not vanish overnight. Jesus has been redeemed in the midst of angry mobs and chaos. The first gift Jesus brings to his disciples is a message of peace and assurance. “Do not fear in the midst of the chaos of the world. The Lord has redeemed me in the midst of this chaos. The Lord is also redeeming you in this midst of this chaos.”

Though our lives today may seem chaotic, may we not fear, for the Lord is redeeming you in the midst of it. God works in us, even when evil lurks. Be at peace, for the Lord has sent Jesus, and the Lord will send you!

Good News: It is good news to know that God has resurrected Jesus from the dead, and that God will resurrect us too!

Discussion question: Imagine what it would be like to be set free from evil, and sent by God!

Go one step further: Practice stillness and peace via simple meditation. Check out these links for 5-10 minute meditations for teens.

Are we ready to rise?

Photo by T. C. Perch

By Traci Rabenstein, director of Mission Advancement

    “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
     There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. . . .
     The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’” ~Matthew 28:1-2,5-7

As Mary Magdalene and Mary went to the tomb, I can’t imagine what went through their minds as they experienced the earthquake and encountered the angel. Maybe a feeling of sickness in their stomachs? Feeling light-headed?  They must have looked at each other with confusion and concern about what everything meant. I wonder if they had to ask the angel to repeat the message—I wouldn’t have been thinking clearly enough the first time and would have needed to hear it again.

“Do not be afraid,” the angel said. “The One whom you seek is not here. He has risen just like He said. Go and tell the disciples that He will meet them in Galilee.”

Matthew says the women ran, with fear and great joy, to deliver the message to the disciples. Again, I wonder how many times the women needed to repeat the message:

“There was an earthquake. Did you feel it? An angel rolled the stone away and showed us that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. He is alive! And we saw him! Touched him and held on for dear life. He told us to tell you he’ll meet you in Galilee. You can’t stay here hidden, you must go and meet him. He’ll be there!”

Other gospel accounts tell us that some of the disciples went to the tomb to see for themselves. They just couldn’t comprehend what the women were saying and struggled to believe them. Why didn’t they just pack up and start their trip to Galilee? Why didn’t they have faith?

As we reflect on all the events of Holy Week, why do we ever lack faith? Why do we continue to stare into an empty tomb; some days just going through the motions? Even now, it can be easy to become complacent and comfortable with the rituals of our daily lives. “Oh, I’ll read the Bible tomorrow.” “I’ll find time to pray later.” “I’ll make sure Easter is special for me/my family next year.”

What Jesus did—by dying and rising from the dead—was revolutionary. It was a game changer! Even when we endure hardship and loss or the earth rumbles beneath our feet, we don’t need to fear because Jesus has conquered all death, darkness, and despair. We now have hope of God’s presence right now and the promise of eternal life. Our relationship with Jesus gives us assurance that we no longer need to fear anything.

Our mission, much like for Mary Magdalene and Mary, is to pass along the wonderful news that our Savior is alive and waiting for us. We are called to join the revolution of Jesus by teaching about his transformative work and inviting others to come and see him.

Regardless of what we are thinking or feeling right now, Jesus is alive and well and waiting to have fellowship with us. Are we ready for our spirits to rise with our risen Lord? Will we flee from fear, share a message of hope, and show the world another way of living?

Learn how the ministries of the Church of the Brethren reveal another way of living at or support them at .

(Read this issue of eBrethren.)