Sermon of April 15, 2012–“Sunday Evening”

Our Cemetery with cross and full moon; Easter 2012.
I’ve honestly never noticed the sentence that comes right after the “Peace be with you” statement of the Risen Jesus. I guess I’ve always just focused on that peace which passes all understanding. However, this year what came to me very strongly was the sentence which comes after the Peace: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Verse 21).

I’ve always been very Biblical about the commands of Jesus. If he said it to his original disciples, my own bias is in favor of applying it to us today. So when the Risen Jesus sends out the disciples–I can’t help but think of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) or the Mission of the 70 in Luke 10, and parallel texts in Matthew 9 & 10 and Mark 6. (As an aside, I think one of those passages should be required readings for any ordination service.) Jesus is sending us out as well!

This led me to ask in this sermon: What kind of world is Jesus sending us out into? And the result of that question is here: Sunday Evening

John 20:19-31: 20:19 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.”
20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
20:24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
20:25 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.”
20:26 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.”
20:27 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.”
20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
20:29 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.”
20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
20:31 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.

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