Thoughts on the Gospel Reading (abbreviated)
2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A
(See TEXT below John 20:19-31)
May 1, 2011
The Lectionary Gospel reading for this, the 2nd Sunday of Easter brings to us the upper room and the disciples in hiding, away from the world, living in fear and doubt. They had to be thinking, "OK, what is next?"
Suddenly, the risen Jesus stands among them and offers them peace and then tangible proof that he is alive. What are we to make of this Gospel account of Jesus with his disciples? What does it say to us? Or, said another way, we ask of the text the “who cares” question.
The Question of Fear and Doubt
We need not fear doubt and fear; these usually accompany the thinking person. Questions such as these -- Is this faith thing a true reality? Is it reasonable, lasting? -- are normal. The idea to remember here is that the opposite of faith is not doubt it is unbelief (Os Guinness).
The Presentation of the Peace of the Christ
The presence of peace is found within the experience of the person of the risen Christ. In this world of woe we are never promised smooth sailing -- quite the opposite. But, what we are promised is the power of Christ’s person, indwelling within us as we navigate the storms and craggy rocks.
The Reception of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, sometimes called the Spirit of the Christ, is GOD’s presence indwelling within the Christ-believer, and allowing that person to experience Christ’s presence as the wisdom of GOD, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)
The Offer of Life in Jesus' Name
What is offered in the Christ, supremely, is a new life and a new way to live. The new-life offer means that we have been given a new starting place, where our biography is altered and never the same. The new-way-to-live offer presents us with a way to live beyond the self-life -- which is sin’s definition -- toward a life with great fullness, which means we daily invest in others.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe." 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.