English: Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Signs and Works in John’s Gospel – John 20:19-29
W – O – U – N – D
See also: Mk. 9:24; 8:20, 21; John 14:5; Heb. 11:6; Luke 24:39; Zech. 13:6; Is. 53:5
Witnesses – v. 19 — Ten disciples were prepared to say they had seen the risen Lord.
Objection – v. 25 — Thomas just could not take their word for it. Thomas was not there, he did not see.
Uncertainty of unbelief – v. 25 — It wasn’t the case that Thomas would not believe. He would if only his conditions were met. If we were to rely on him as a witness, then we can be grateful that he was cautious.
Nail prints – vs. 26-28 — When Jesus returns he shows the nail prints and invites Thomas to touch them. These were the wounds that Jesus received on the cross. In the history of the church they are called the stigmata. Perhaps Thomas knew in some sense that these were wounds he should have received. Scripture teaches that he was wounded for us. These were the wounds that should have been ours.
Declaration of Divinity – v. 28 – 29 Thomas may have been cautious, but he was no doubter. He declares Jesus to be Lord. Have you ever made that decision to declare Jesus to be Lord? Why not follow Thomas’ example?
In response to Thomas’ belief Jesus offers us a beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Exemplary story: In the news this past week one of the first persons to receive a full face transplant was married to a woman who was a burn victim. The man without a face married the woman whose body was covered with burn marks. What a story of love. A still greater story of love is the story that we can be embraced by a risen Savior whose hands bear the wounds he received on the cross.
How a Saint entered into Glory – Good Old Jim Curtis
On Sunday, November 18, 2012, a simple graveside service was conducted for James Darryl Curtis of Elizabethton, Tennessee.
He was an inspiration to me in life, and he proved to be an inspiration in death.
He was a friend, mentor, encourager, and pastor to our family. He had assisted me in pastoral training as a young man. He performed the marriage for my wife and me, and after attending my late wife in her illness he performed her funeral. I will miss Jim.
To know Jim was to know someone who knew how to have a good laugh on himself.
The stories about Jim seem endless. Yes, he was serious about his love for the Lord, and he was committed to finding fun in life. I shall focus on just one thing from his funeral that is an inspiration even now.
It was no surprise to any of us that he consulted with the undertaker about his burial rites. What was done was true to form. He was outfitted in a short-sleeved plaid shirt. He asked that he be laid to rest with his pens in his shirt pocket and with a jar of peanut butter placed in the casket.
Egyptian pharaohs buried treasures and slaves with them in pyramids to prepare for the after-life. Native Americans buried hunting bows, arrows, and axes in preparation to meet the Great Spirit. What Jim did makes perfect sense to me. He would need his pens in case he wanted to make a note for a sermon. He wanted some good ole’ peanut butter to enjoy during snack-time.
May God bless Jim’s wife, his three sons and their families, and the community that loved him dearly.
Bird – Seagull enjoying the sunset (Photo credit: blmiers2)
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
As we approach Thanksgiving we have a choice. We humans who have life have breath. No doubt you have “everything” going on just about now. Don’t we all? We may be feeling the weight of life, and some days are weightier than others.
Birds know how to do it. Cows know how to do it. The black cat that was purring on Sunday afternoon knew how to do it.
Do what? What’s the choice? As we breathe in and as we breath out let a word of thanksgiving be upon our breath.
English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Our reading comes from Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11
(1) Then he said to Moses, “come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, (2) but Moses alone is to approach the lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”
(9)Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up (10) and saw the God of Israel. Under His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. bud God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
While we were in college and still dating, my late wife invited me to go home to meet the parents. The meeting included a sit-down meal at the family dining table. For my part I was on my best behavior. My wife had asked her parents to be on their best behavior. As we dined we sensed a thrill of reverence.
When Moses was preparing to receive the commandments, we are told that he took Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the Elders along to participate in a sacred feast. The text says they ate and drank and were not harmed. At this banquet with the Lord of Israel they experienced the thrill of reverence.
As you approach the communion table to receive the bread and the cup, do you sense the thrill of reverence?
Holy Spirit dove window (Photo credit: hickory hardscrabble)
Study 2: Roman 12:2: The Acceptable Will of God
See: I K 21:27-29; Gen 50:20; Rms. 8:28; Deut 4:24; Lev 19:2; Ps 106:1-2; Jn.3:17
Corruption of sin – both the world and individuals suffer
Holiness of God – God does not join in the corruption of the world nor surrender
Obstacles turned to opportunities – Robert Schuler’s phrase
Steadfast love – God does not give up like the father waiting on the prodigal
Evangelism – God’s goal through the suffering and turmoil is to win back the world
Exemplary story: On the internet was a story: “How to make a vacation at home – 21 tips.” One tip was to make a lemonade stand. To do it you turn lemons into lemonade.