Questions for Pondering — April 23, 2017
Sermon Title: Be the Church: Sharing the Peace of Christ
Sermon Text: John 20:19-29
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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.” 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.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.”
2nd Sunday of Easter
Our Scripture reading from John tells the story of the first evening after Easter. In our minds, this should have been a joyous time. Just think about the wonderful celebration of Christ’s resurrection that we had here last week! Easter is a time to rejoice and certainly, we would expect, it would have been so for the disciples as well. However, rather than seeing the empty tomb and praising God for the greatest miracle of all-time, the disciples were scared and locked themselves away in a room. They were afraid that what had happened to Jesus might happen to them as well. They were experiencing anything but joy and peace. Yet, at the pinnacle of their anxiety and fear, Christ appeared and spoke a word of peace, a peace which transcends all understanding. This peace is the same peace that we have been given, and is what we are called to share with one another.
Questions to Ponder:
- Thomas responded with unbelief. The other disciples responded with fear and anxiety. How do you think you would have reacted had you been there that first evening when Jesus appeared?
- Passing the peace challenges us to be more than polite. It dares us to move beyond ourselves and create Christ-like community with others. How might we pass the peace of Christ with those even beyond our walls?