Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
The next 6 Sundays are in the Church Season of Easter. With the exception of May 8th, our Gospel readings will be in the Gospel of John. In John we will cover “The Good Shepherd”, “I Am the Way, Truth, and Life”, “The Holy Spirit”, and “Jesus’ Prayer for his Disciples”. This week it is Jesus’ Resurrection Appearances to the disciples in the house where they were staying. Each week we will also be reading from the Acts of the Disciples leading up to Pentecost Sunday. This may be a good time for a preaching series on Acts as United Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck asked us to do.
This week our lessons are:
Acts 2: 14a, 22-32 – This is part of Peter’s first sermon which he gave to the crowd in Jerusalem on Pentecost. After a long quote from Joel, Peter attests that death could not hold Jesus and he quotes other Old Testament passages in support. This reading is really too short. It should be the entire sermon which is verses 14-36.
Psalm 16 – Verses 8-11 are quoted by Peter in his sermon in Acts 2, above.
1 Peter 1:3-9 – Peter talks about a “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus and we are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the last time.” A difficult and dense statement. The resurrection brings us a new way of living (a new birth) and this new living is hope filled. In this new life we are protected by the God’s power “through faith”. Whose faith is unclear. Ours? God’s? Both? The answer is probably both but I lean towards God’s faith. Our faith wavers but God’s faith is trustworthy, true, and steadfast. This faith protects us for a salvation. However, this statement in verse 5 seems to say that the salvation will come at the last time. This seems curious. Peter then goes on to talk about our sufferings to be a test of our faith and the “outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls.” So, whose faith protects us?
John 20:19-31 – Jesus appears to the disciples two times 7 days apart. The first is on Easter Sunday evening and there are 10 disciples present in the room where they are staying/hiding/cowering. In this meeting Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit by blowing on them. One week later, Jesus reappears and this time there are 11 disciples. Thomas, who was not at the first appearance, must have not gotten the email notice about the first meeting. We often call Thomas “Doubting” but what he really wanted was what the other 10 experienced a week earlier. What would be a better nickname for Thomas? “Missouri”? (The Show Me State)
Have a great week celebrating the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May the word of God blow into your life with the power of God’s Faith.