A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary (April 27)

Sermon (April 27) – “Who Were the Twelve Disciples of Jesus? Thomas”

Acts 2:14a, 22-32
In our reading from Acts chapter two, the disciple, Peter explains to a crowd of people in Jerusalem the meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection. 

Peter is trying to explain that the resurrection of Jesus is the fulfillment of promises made through King David centuries earlier.

Verses 25-28 – Peter emphasizes the resurrection of Jesus by quoting Psalm 16 which he believes to have been written by King David. This points to the future resurrection of Jesus.

Verses 29-30 – Peter points out that David was not referring to himself in this Psalm since he died and they can point to his burial place. He must have been referring to a future king (Jesus.)

John 20:19-31
Our Gospel reading from John chapter twenty tells us of two times when Jesus appeared before the disciples following his resurrection. This story focuses on the disciple, Thomas who needed to see in order to believe.

Verse 23 - The risen Christ is giving them authority to forgive sins. God will work through them to forgive sins since only God can forgive sins. They are being given the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Jesus in the world.

As John likes to do in his gospel, he is using the creation story to tell the story of the first day of the week and how the Spirit is being given to the disciples. In the creation story, the wind (Spirit) breathes life into humanity.

Thomas has shown reservations in being a disciple. He sarcastically says that they will die in Jerusalem with Jesus (11:16), complains that Jesus isn’t making things clear enough (14:5) and now doubts the other disciples that Jesus is alive.

Even with all of these doubts, Thomas is actually the first person in the Gospel to refer to Jesus as God!

Verse 29 isn’t a rebuke by Jesus as much as it is an encouragement to others to believe that he is risen.

The opening of John’s Gospel with the phrase “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” is fulfilled in this scene of Jesus with Thomas. This is the visible expression of the presence of God in the world!

[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.] 

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