Touch and See

Posted by on Apr 18, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Touch and See

The gospel lesson for this 3rd Sunday of Easter comes from John 24 verses 36-48. This section is a continuation of a story we considered a year ago, that of the people talking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus is appearing to various people who have been following him and who are considered some of his disciples. He is appearing to them because there is still a tendency for the people involved to consider the appearances of Jesus a vision, rather than a reality. All the disciples are still attempting to grasp the reality and truth of the resurrection. Therefore, Jesus is appearing to them to calm their minds and to help them realize that this occurrence, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, was written about in many areas of the Old Testament, or as the people of Jesus time heard…the Hebrew writings read in the temples.In this section, Jesus appears again to his disciples and finds them still startled, terrified and thinking they were seeing a ghost. Jesus asks them why they are frightened. He asked them why they still allow doubts to come into their hearts and beings. He says they can touch him to find out that he isn’t a ghost…as he has bones and skin. Then…while the disciples were still questioning what they had heard and seen, Jesus asks them if they have something to eat. The disciples gave him a piece of fish, that he ate in front of them. It appears we have another reminder that the Resurrected Christ is also the Crucified Christ.Then, Jesus “opened their minds” to the scripture. I would expect it would have been in the similar way when Jesus was talking to the two men on the Road to Emmaus. Jesus tells these disciple that everything written about him was in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms and he fulfilled them all.As a reminder, there are two verses these people may have heard. One was from psalm 22:1 that says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mary and the disciple named, John, heard these words at the cross, didn’t they? The words are recorded in Matthew 27:46. Also, another interesting verse from Psalm 22:18, “they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lot.” This occurred in Matthew 27:35. After teaching them the significance of the Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures, Jesus commissions the disciples to tell all of the need for repentance and that forgiveness of sin is available to all people who believe in Him. He also assures them that he will be with them always, he will never leave them and they will be given power from on high.Let’s look for a little while at the various people these disciples will be teaching and proclaiming the Good News to. I’m sure there will be a variety of people and not all will be agreeable to all they have to say. What are they going to do when they encounter some questions? What are they going to do when someone states emphatically they don’t believe?We know that these disciples are not going to only people of their own race or background. They will be going to people of different ethnic backgrounds, different religions, etc.Are they going to not speak the words Jesus taught them? Are they going to shun the people that aren’t totally like them? How are they going to be able to really preach the truth of Jesus in the light of differences? What are the truths? Repentance from sin. Forgiveness of sin. They...

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Showing and Believing

Posted by on Apr 8, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Showing and Believing

Our gospel lesson for the 2nd Sunday of Easter is from John 20:19-31. This is a continuation of our lesson from Easter Sunday that revealed to us Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In this reading, which is the evening of the resurrection, we see the disciples still hunkered down in the Upper Room out of fear of the crowds on the streets, which included the Jewish temple leaders as well as the Roman rulers. Mary Magdalene, as well as John and Peter, had told the disciples what they had seen in the empty tomb and Mary had brought them the message Jesus wanted her to give to the disciples. John does not say how many disciples are there, but it can be assumed that all of the women who were following Jesus as well as the disciples were there. These disciples had been in this room since before Jesus was arrested, beaten and crucified. They left the crowds and escaped to safety and the only one who had witnessed the crucifixion was John. Peter had run away when he heard the cock crow and remembered what Jesus had said about his denial of Jesus three times.I am wondering what they all thought of what Mary had told them. Were they skeptical of what she saw and said Jesus had spoken to her? I would imagine they were. Then…suddenly Jesus appeared in the room through the closed, locked door. Jesus first words were, “Peace be with you.” This is a normal greeting but would have possibly been rather shocking to the disciples when they heard it. Here, these people had been following Jesus for 3 years and were just now realizing what Jesus had been teaching them when they were meeting as a small group. He told them countless times he would suffer and die but would ascend to heaven. He states to Mary, “I am ascending to my Father and to your Father to My God and to your God.” Now…he is here with them.Jesus showed them his hands and feet, to release some of the skepticism they had been experiencing. They rejoiced….as what they had seen was that the Resurrected Christ was also the Crucified Christ. Jesus then commissioned them to tell others what they had seen and breathed on them, giving then the authority to forgive other people that they would be teaching and ministering to.The breathing on the disciples was symbolic of what they would experience when they were given the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit could not come to the people until Jesus had risen and had left them. But what we DO see, if that Jesus is acknowledging in action that He is also the Spirit that would be following them in their work. Just look at what we have seen in the past two weeks. We have seen Jesus give us his body and blood in the Lord’s Supper…what he did for all of us. Now, the disciples are receiving the symbolic gift of the breath and blessing of the Holy Spirit that would be given to them (sent to them) later. Now, we come to an experience that occurred 8 days after this first appearance of Jesus. Jesus appears again to them, but this time, Thomas is with them. Thomas had been voicing the skepticism during these 8 days that the disciples had most possibly voice prior to Jesus’ appearance. He wanted to see what they had seen. He wanted to experience what they had experienced. We don’t know if Thomas was in the room when Mary came to them the...

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