Happy 4th of July everyone! May your grilling go smoothly and your fireworks be loud and obnoxious, as they should be.
This Sunday we’re going to be reading John 20:19-31, which finishes up the chapter. Many believe this was John’s original ending to his gospel, but added chapter 21 later on. In this chapter we’ll be reading about Jesus’ appearance to the rest of the disciples – and we’ll be considering the ramifications of the risen Christ in the midst of his followers.
Jesus shows up in the middle of a locked room. He is obviously present in a new kind of physicality, one that is not hindered by normal obstacles. Think about that locked door and the symbolism of it. What kind of doors do we lock in life…and how effective are they in keeping Jesus out?
The first thing out of Jesus’ mouth is the common greeting: Shalom. It means peace, wholeness, stability of life. John is using this event to convey the meaning of Christ’s presence with us still – and how his presence brings with it wholeness and fullness of life. In what ways have you found stability, wholeness and well being in the presence of Christ?
Jesus commissions his followers to do the same thing he’d been doing. That would be unthinkable if he didn’t follow it up by giving the Holy Spirit to empower us for such a task. How can we start developing habits of following the Holy Spirit’s lead to do good and help the oppressed in this world?
V23 is a stumper. I have heard an opinion on what he’s saying that I’m persuaded by (I’ll share it Sunday) – what do YOU think he’s saying?
The account of Thomas is awesome to me. I love that dude. Do you think Tommy was doubting Jesus, or the testimony of the other disciples? Is there a difference when it comes to the gospel, in your view? How did Jesus interact with Tom: rebuke, anger, irritation, compassion, care…? What was the first thing he said to him? Do you think that Jesus is angered by our questions or honest skepticism? Do you believe that doubt and sincere searching is debilitating to faith, or can it actually encourage and enhance faith? How does Jesus’ interaction with Thomas inform your view?
Okay…well…again, I’m really looking forward to this passage! I think we’ll have a lot of good stuff to chew on!