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Second Sunday of Easter Full Service 2020

April 19, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: John 20:19–20:31

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: John 20:19-31
Date: April 19, 2020; 2nd Sunday of Easter; Series A 
Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • The disciples had isolated themselves because they were afraid that, as Jesus followers, they too would be arrested, tortured, and crucified.
  • Peter was afraid of this while he watched it happen to Jesus - so he denied knowing him three times. 
  • Now he was with the other disciples trembling in fear, behind locked doors.
  • Into that locked room, full of fear and confusion, entered Jesus.  
  • This might have caused even more fear in the disciples.  They had abandoned Jesus after all - so maybe he was there to punish them.  
  • But, instead, Jesus speaks words that they needed to hear the most, “Peace be with you.”  
  • He showed them his hands and his side – the wounds of his bitter death were still visible - but he was very much alive!  
  • The disciple were glad when they saw the Lord and Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”
  • And this peace that Christ speaks cannot be found in this world.  
  • In Hebrew, the word for peace is shalom 
  • It means that everything is set in order, chaos is conquered, harmony is restored.  
  • Picture a kitchen after a big meal has been prepared and enjoyed. 
  • Dirty pots and pans everywhere. Crumbs and drips and spills. Dirty plates and cutlery and glasses all over the place. 
  • Picture those times when you walk into your kitchen and there is so much mess and chaos that you don’t even know where to begin! 
  • Now imagine that same kitchen sparkling clean, well ordered, with everything tucked neatly in its place where you can find it again.   That is shalom.
  • Sin interferes with the shalom - and in a far more severe ways than some dirty dishes in a kitchen.
  • The shalom in God’s creation has been disturbed by sin - and now the world is fallen with natural disasters, and injuries, and pandemics, and death.
  • And we all disturb the shalom, we interfere with the harmony, in our own sinful way.
  • Our self-centredness, our jealousy, our pride, our anger all chip away at the peace.  
  • Our refusal to love God above all other things. 
  • Our refusal to live according to God’s will.  
  • Our refusal to love one another as we love ourselves.  
  • So what we have is a fallen world full of chaos, fear, and disorder.  
  • But into this world of chaos, fear, and disorder entered Jesus - and there is shalom again.
  • God and humanity are reconciled.  We are reconciled with each other.  Shalom is restored.  
  • Jesus said, “’Peace be with you’” - and with these words he actually gives us peace. 
  • His words do what they say. 
  • So, if Jesus says “peace be with you” God’s peace is with you.
  • And with this peace, Jesus sent his disciples into the world.  
  • He said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  
  • Jesus knew that they wouldn’t be doing any good standing around inside of a locked room.  
  • And neither are we!
  • Like the disciples who were sent by Jesus - the church is sent.  We are the church.  You are the church.
  • We have been given a mission to disciple the nations.  All nations.  All people.  
  • We read in 1 John chapter 2 that  “[Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world”.  
  • God’s shalom is not just for us - he wants all people to receive it and experience it and so he sends his church into the world to live in peace and love and to proclaim that God has given us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 
  • You, an essential part of the body of Christ, have been sent into this chaotic world with God’s peace and order. 
  • Jesus sent out a bunch of fearful disciples with his breath of the resurrection and the Word of forgiveness and salvation.  
  • We are sent with that same Word of forgiveness and salvation.
  • We are sent to to tell the world that God is at peace with us because of all that Christ Jesus accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection.  
  • We are sent out of our Baptism, where Jesus breathed on us personally and gave us the Spirit. 
  • We are sent out having been nourished by God’s Word - and then we go in peace and serve the Lord - wherever the Lord has put us.
  • The church is like a set of lungs.  Lungs first inhale, they take in air.  Then they exhale, they blow air out.  
  • Like a good set of lungs, the church first inhales – it listens to the Word of God, it receives the Sacraments.  It takes a deep breath of resurrection air.  
  • And then the church, in each and every one of its members, takes that breath of God and exhales it into our corner of the world.  
  • In the place where the Lord has put us - we proclaim the Good News of salvation.  
  • We proclaim the peace, the shalom, we all have in Christ!
  • And so it’s essential that we inhale deeply of God’s gifts so that we don’t find ourselves out of breath with nothing to exhale to the world.
  • We heard in our Gospel reading that the disciples met up with one of their brothers who wasn’t with them when Jesus first appeared to them. 
  • They told Thomas the good news, “We have seen the Lord.”  
  • But Thomas wanted to be sure that Jesus is the real deal.  
  • Unless he sees and touches the wounds, he will not believe.
  • Eight days later, the disciples were together again, but this time Thomas was with them.  
  • Jesus came and stood among them and again said, “Peace be with you.” 
  • He turned to Thomas and said, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side.  Do not disbelieve, but believe.”  
  • Jesus gave Thomas the evidence he asked for - and Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God.”
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus would give us something so concrete, something so sure, to strengthen our faith?
  • Well, he has!  
  • In fact, he said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  
  • Christ has given us exactly what we need in order that we may believe, something concrete, something sure:  his Word; the waters of our Baptism; the bread that is his body; the wine that is his blood. 
  • It is through these means of grace that God brings us to confess with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”
  • Dear friends, inhale deeply of all that Christ has accomplished for you.
  • Exhale just as deeply.
  • Death is defeated - so what do we have to lose?  What are we afraid of?  Who, or what, can harm us?  
  • We have been sent into the world with the Good News that all people desperately need to hear and receive - that through the wounds of Jesus - there is peace, there is shalom, sins are forgiven, death is defeated, and that by believing we have eternal life in his name.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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