John 20

Vs. 20, “After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”  Certainly, one of the most theologically important aspects of Christology (Study of Christ) and our faith is the fact of resurrection.  Having recently read through the other synoptic Gospel accounts (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24), we have a rich understanding of Jesus’ appearances to His disciples.  John takes us a bit deeper into the discovery of not finding Jesus’ body (vs. 1-9).  After waiting the full Sabbath Day (Saturday), She along with the other women came to attend to Jesus’ body in the tomb that was bought by Joseph of Arimathea.  John gives us almost a humorous account of him outrunning Peter to the tomb.  After their inspection of the tomb, Mary lingers and has an encounter with Jesus (vs. 10-18).  Jesus’ appears to the disciples on Sunday evening (Easter Sunday) as they hide with locked doors in fear of the Jews (vs. 19-23).  In this little section houses one of the most theologically controversial passages in Scripture!  Question: What does John mean when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on them (Vs. 22)?  When we look at the full scripture, we are quite familiar with the giving of the Holy Spirit seven weeks later at Pentecost to the early church.  Theologians have debated whether or not those in the upper room were given the Holy Spirit earlier.  And lastly, we are given a memorable encounter with doubting Thomas (vs. 24-29).  We can’t help but see the patient love and teaching Jesus gives to Thomas.  The disciples had the privilege to see many things, that were done for their benefit as well as ours to help increase our faith (vs. 30-31).

Regarding application…We Are Blessed.  Vs. 29, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” There are moments in Jesus’ dialogue that He is looking past the disciples and envisions His church!  Similar to Jesus’ prayer (John 17), Jesus again is referring to us!  It’s natural to have a tendency to be envious of the disciples who had such an intimate relationship with our Lord.  Yet, Jesus is reminding us (the church) that we are even more blessed!  Serving the church over all these years, I’ve seen God work in mysterious ways.  Yet, the most intimate moments are not found in the unexplainable.  Our faith is based on what we do not see.  The disciples were challenged to believe Jesus was truly the Son of God.  We don’t even have the physical manifestation of Jesus, yet our faith is challenged even more.  But are more blessed.  I’ll take that!  Take time in your day today to focus on the blessings rather than the struggles.

Tomb

Leviticus 3

Vs. 1, “If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the Lord an animal without defect.”  This fellowship offering is also known as the “peace” offering (shalom).  This fellowship offering was similar to the burnt offering in that the offering was made by fire with an aroma that would be pleasing to the LORD (vs. 5, 16).  Cattle, sheep and goat were used, however female animals could be used unlike the burnt offering.  Question: What was the purpose of the fellowship/peace offering?  It was a voluntary offering that would be followed by the sharing of a meal with the parts of the animal used.  There could be a few reasons for this offering; expressing gratitude or giving a vow.

Regarding application…Joyful Sacrifice.  This is a wonderful reminder that not all sacrifices should be sobering.  There is a tendency to come to the LORD only in times of trouble.  But this fellowship offering reminds us that there is a time for joyful sacrifices, a time of voluntary giving not motivated by legalistic purposes.  Being joyful is not just an emotion like happiness.  Having joy is a mandate given from the LORD.  In the busyness of our lives, this is a poignant reminder to come with joy when we attend church.  There are not enough faces filled with joy in the pews of our churches.  Let us be people who give with a joyful heart to the LORD and his church!

John 14

Vs. 6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  This was a troubling night (vs. 1), but Jesus would offer them hope!  He was paving a way for all of us to one day find our home (vs. 2-4) with our Father in Heaven.  Many scoff to this day on Jesus’ claim that He is the only way.  I’ve even seen believers adhere to Universalism (belief that all religions are similar and can lead to divine good).  That is false teaching.  Philip seems to be excited at the prospect to see the Father one day, but little did he realize the Father is in Jesus (vs. 8-14).  Question: Jesus is leaving, what will they do?  They might feel like orphans (vs. 18), but we know now that we are not left on our own.  There is a peace (shalom) that will come (vs. 15-31).  And to top it off, Jesus promises us He will be coming back (vs. 28).

Regarding application…Promised Holy Spirit.  Vs. 16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”  We are not alone.  This peace that will come is the Holy Spirit.  Think of the picture we are given in Scripture when it comes to the Holy Spirit; the dove which is a picture of purity and peace.  Question: Do you trust promises made by others?  Too often we have a hard time grasping the promises of God when we have been let down by those we love hear on earth.  Our parents, teachers, pastor’s, friends have not always been able to keep promises. It’s a bit understandable why the hesitation on being able to trust in the promises of God.  In the storms of our lives, we know that we are not abandoned.  When we put our faith in Jesus, the promised Holy Spirit now dwells in us and keeps us sealed until eternity!  Let that be your encouragement as you go about this week!  Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, is with us each step of the way!