Monday, April 20, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of April 19, 2020

Link to Worship Video for 4/19/20 – HERE
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Scripture Reading: Psalm 100
Holy Gospel: John 20:19-31

Message: “A Word of ‘Peace’ Please!”

“Now Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord!’ ” John 20:24-25.

This Easter event is practically as well known as THE Easter event! Every year, for congregations following the historic lectionary, worshippers hear the account of Thomas’ absence on Easter eve; often following which they hear about the presence of his doubts and demands the subsequent week.  There is some good application and reflection material in there to be sure.
During this pandemic quarantine time we’ve been doing some significant reflection and subsequent application on a portion of the story we’ve perhaps skipped over too quickly before. Where was Thomas? Why was he gone? All of them knew the threat! Each of them was at risk! Martyrdom doesn’t discriminate by age, background, gender, ancestral territory!

Yet, while the others hid indoors to keep safe, Thomas ventured out of that space. Was he picking up supplies, checking in on an elderly believer, keeping a look out for the authorities? Perhaps as interesting as that question is, there is another as intriguing! Why did Jesus choose to enter the room when Thomas wasn’t inside? John tells us it was in the evening when the disciples were together that Jesus appeared. Could they all have been together in that house earlier in the afternoon? Is it possible Thomas was due back but was running a little late? Did Jesus realize that Thomas was absent? (I think we know the answer to that question.) Which begs the former…Why did Jesus choose to join the disciples when one of their number was yet missing?

I can’t help but think that part of that answer is…me…and you. As with Thomas, so with us, His care is intimate and personal. He knows our struggles and cares for us in their midst. He knows our anxieties and doesn’t ignore that they are real. He knows what draws our eyes to ourselves and acts to put them squarely on Him. Let me be His mouthpiece today (or His typist as the case may be)…The Risen Jesus knows your struggles, The Risen Jesus knows your anxieties, The Risen Jesus knows what is obscuring your view from focusing on Him, and this Risen Jesus comes to you presently, personally, and purposefully to grant you that which only He can provide, “Peace be with you! Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)  Those gathered in that room receiving that message and we scattered in our homes reading this message, can’t help but recall that our Lord used these same words prior to His crucifixion, and they open us to a whole new reality following His resurrection, “Peace be with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
-Pr. Kevin Kritzer


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