Sunday April 23rd, 2017 – Second Sunday of Easter
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Everything about my call to serve God centers around LIFE. Life is sacred to me, and anytime I see the word “life” in Scripture I pay close attention! Three of our readings today make reference to LIFE.
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31
You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ Acts 2:28
Life is a common theme in the Bible, and yet trying to define it is almost impossible when you consider the breadth and depth of it in its various contexts in both the Old and New Testament. A few that come to mind are Eternal Life, a Life that pleases God, the Word of Life, and Jesus as Life.
Life is also the opposite of death, and I find many people are willing to talk about Life but few want to talk about death.
The first and last Scripture references above are connected, Peter is quoting Psalm 16:11 when David is expressing his security that God is his refuge and will protect him from death and the grave. King David is assured that death cannot steal from him the promise of eternal pleasures with God as the Father has shown him the path of life. Peter wants to reinforce the point David made and takes it a step further by stating that Jesus has conquered death when God raised Him to life (v.32).
The good news that Christ is victorious over death is not understood by many people we encounter every day. People fear death because they do not have the assurance of eternal life, and they do not believe they are going to heaven, while hoping there isn’t a hell.
The Church is the perfect place to pull back the curtain on the mystery of death and help people see that the Scriptures have been written so that they may believe in Jesus and that, in believing, they may have life in His name.
Thank you Lord Jesus for defeating death and making a way for us to live for eternity in heaven with You and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Give us life-affirming ministry that allows us to share Your Gospel of Life with those who fear death, that others may come to know You and heaven would be full of Your people praising You for all eternity.
This month’s reflections are written by Deacon Georgette Forney. She was ordained to the vocational diaconate in the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy in the Anglican Church in North America in 2014. As well as serving as President of Anglicans for Life, She is also the Co-Founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, an effort to raise awareness about the physical, spiritual, and emotional harm abortion does to women and men and to help those who are hurting after abortion find healing.
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Tags: Author: Georgette Forney, death, Gospel of John, Jesus Christ, life, scripture,