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The Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2024

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The Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2024

This text is not only appointed for the Second Sunday of Easter in this, the one-year-lectionary, but it is also the appointed text for the Second Sunday of Easter in all years of the three-year-lectionary. The reading essentially has four scenes. The first scene is that of Jesus coming into the upper room sealed by a locked door and the disciples’ fear. The second scene has the disciples recounting their locked room experience to Thomas who had been absent that night. In the third scene, the circumstances of that first night were duplicated except that on this night Thomas was there and confessed his belief. The concluding scene is but a commentary and commendation of the entire book of John to you so that you, like Thomas, may believe and have life in Jesus’ name.

To have life in Jesus’ name means to be sent out by Jesus in the same way that Jesus was sent out by the Father (vs. 21). Recall, if you will, the manna which fed God’s people while they were in the wilderness. The manna came daily. The people harvested sufficient manna for the day… for two days if it was the day before the Sabbath. The manna could not be stored up. If the people tried to accumulate it, the manna turned rancid and filled with worms. Having life in Jesus’ name is like that manna. You can’t accumulate it, nor can you store it up. God’s people receive that life from the Word… the Word of God, Jesus Christ. It comes fresh to them from the pulpit, the font, and the altar. Neither can God’s people stay accumulated together, they must be sent out as Jesus himself was sent. Faith and life in Jesus’ name must be received fresh. Accumulated, they are but yesterday’s faith, a faith gone rancid and full of legalism. Once the Word has delivered God’s people to faith and life in Jesus’ name, they must be sent out. Otherwise, they, too, become rancid and full of themselves. This gathering in and this sending out is the Holy Spirit’s work, breathed out by Jesus himself. Gathering and sending are the inhalation and the exhalation of the Holy Spirit.

Table Talk: Discuss the necessity of the sending out, the dangers of yesterday’s faith, and the hazards that befall believers in a bunch.
Pray: Heavenly Father, send me out yet keep your hand upon me. Amen

John 20:19-31

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you. 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, we have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. 27 Then he said to Thomas, put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe. 28 Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! 29 Jesus said to him, have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed is those who have not seen and yet have believed.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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