Monday, April 13, 2009

Some Thoughts on John for the Second Sunday of Easter

This is new to me. I have been reading your blog now for awhile and enjoying it. I decided to volunteer to post some of my thoughts as a way to take my turn.
Here is what I'm going to do. I will share with you some of my thinking at this stage of the game. It is Monday and early in the process of building a sermon and for me that begins with looking at the scripture and letting it speak to me. So I will "think out loud" with you listening in.
The passage I will be looking at is John 20:19-31 and ,wow, I see a lot of things that peek my interest and stir my thinking. Here are some of the those things:
It is the fist day of the week, Easter evening and the disciples are hidden because of fear.Fear of the Jews we are told. but not all Jews, they were Jews. No, they were filled with fear because the authorities might do to them what they did to Jesus. So they are locked away behind closed doors. The Serendipity Bible asks the question, "Have you ever gone to your room and locked the door? Why?"
There seems to be a lot of matched statements and events. The disciples are afraid and Jesus comes to them and gives them peace. Jesus is sending the disciples as he was sent by God. They are warned that they have the power of offering forgiveness or withholding forgiveness. They see and believe and blessed are they who believe and have not seen. This might be an interesting track to pursue.
Another issue that jumps out to me and was mentioned by the New Interpreter's Bible is that while Thomas doubted the report of the disciples of Jesus resurrection, the disciples doubted the report of the women.Lots of doubters. Besides Thomas was only asking for the same evidence that others received. Jesus appears to him when he was with the other disciples a week later. Is this a lesion on missing out when you break fellowship? Jesus appears to him only when he is with the others not alone. Yet there is not criticism of Thomas by Jesus. Just the presentation of the proof asked for. Notice too, that Jesus shows both the disciples and Thomas the scars. The crucified Jesus is also the resurrected Jesus. The commentaries mention that Luke 24:41 tells the reason was to prove that Jesus was not a ghost. It is interesting to note that the disciples rejoice after seeing the scars not when they first see Jesus.
I want to go back to the greeting of "Peace be with you". That seems like a common greeting but it is repeated later. Is it like the toss off phrase we use, "How are you?". It can be asked in a way that dose not expect an answer or when you really want to know, "How are you?" Jesus is not just saying "Hi" He really wants to respond to our fear with the gift of peace.
The concept that keeps drawing me back is the promise that those that have not seen and yet believe will be blessed. That even ties to the way this passage ends. These stories we are told are not everything that happened but these are written that you may believe and by believing you may have life.
Is this the way to faith without seeing? Believing the stories of those who have seen?
These are some of my first thoughts. Sorry they are not more pulled together. Hopefully, and with the Lord's spirit, they will be pulled into a message by Sunday.

Tom Felts

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