Sermon Notes - April 23
Introduction: We continue our celebration of the Day of the Resurrection with this episode from the Gospel of John. Mary Magdalene has shared with the disciples that she has found the tomb empty. She goes back to the tomb and while outside looking in sees two angels. Finally a man behind her gains her attention. Finally she realizes that this is not just any person, but Jesus himself. She goes back again to tell the disciples she has actually seen and talked with Jesus!
I) The disciples, despite the news from Mary Magdalene are unable to leave the room. They have locked themselves in and have become more dead than alive so fearful have they become of what might happen to them. As darkness is about to descend one can only imagine what their conversations may have been like as they must have been at least musing over what Mary had shared with them.
II) Without so much as a knock to announce his presence Jesus is found standing among them. He gives the typical Jewish greeting, ‘peace be with you’ which must have seemed anything but usual given the circumstances. After showing them the nail marks and where the spear had entered into his side he once more tells them ‘Peace be with you”. This new peace will no longer allow them to act as the dead but spring to life giving them new found purpose in all they do.
III) Jesus breathes on them and tells them that the sins of nay that they retain are retained and the sins of nay they forgive will be forgotten. What jumps out to me in this scene is that Jesus now sends them out into the world. They are no longer to remain hidden, entombed in their own fear. Instead they are to be energized to go into the world to share this new vision they have received of God’s love. A love that will overcome all trepidation they may feel and embolden them to reach out to a world that is itself dead without any realization that there is the potential for life in Jesus’ name. We too, are given this opportunity now as we hear this final word from Jesus to Thomas today. Thomas would not believe until he had seen for himself. Jesus notes that most of his followers would never have the opportunity that Thomas and the rest of the disciples had to gaze on the risen Christ. We are faced with the opportunity to share about God with those around us. As we continue our spiritual journey as we remodel our sanctuary we have the opportunity to make our presence known to our immediate neighbors. What are you willing to do to help those around us here in South Harbour or in your immediate neighborhood to become aware of St. Michael’s and our ministry to the community?