Archive for the “SundaysComing” Category

We come to the end of our journey through the Gospel of John this Sunday as we tackle john 20:19-31.

It’s evening on Easter Day, the disciples are scared and locked in a room.

Apart from Thomas.  He’s somewhere else.

And Jesus appears.

A whole load of stuff is happening in this short passage.  Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit by breathing on them, just like Genesis 2:7.  There’s some talk about forgiving sins and retaining which is something we really need to discuss because it doesn’t mean what it says, at all.

And then a week later Thomas finally gets his own encounter with the risen Christ.  His encounter is much more like the encounters with the people who met Jesus earlier in the story; the man born blind and the Samaritan woman at the well.  Thomas gets what he needs after expressing his questions and doubts.  There’s something in that for us, I think…

So, what are your questions and doubts?  What do you find hard to believe about Jesus?

 

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The Gospel of John is about revelation.

Who is Jesus?

Who are we?

All the encounters we have witnessed as we journeyed through this Gospel tell us the truth about Jesus, the people he met, and about ourselves.

The trial before Pilate lays bare humanity.

Our humanity.

It shows us just where power really lies

what love really looks like

and just how much we need God’s grace.

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The questions we ask expose our priorities.

Are you the king of the Jews?

That’s Pilate’s question to Jesus in John 18:28-40.  That’s the only question that matters to a political governor.  Are you a problem for me?  But Pilate is asking the wrong questions… so Jesus asks some of his own.

The exchange ends with Pilate asking the right question… ‘what is truth?’

I wonder…

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John 18:12-27

We jump ahead to Jesus’ trial this week on our journey through Holy Week, but in many ways the trial is secondary, at least for us this week.

We’ll explore that story and also the story inside the story… what happens in-between.  In the night.

Peter’s denials.

1… 2… 3…

Standing in the courtyard.  Waiting.  Trying to keep a low profile, but stay close enough to hear what’s going on.

Doesn’t he do what we all would do?  To save our own skin?

No.  I’m not with him.

Never met him.

I’m not one of his followers.

It’s as easy as 1… 2… 3…

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John 13:1-17 is about feet…

Washing feet… dirty, smelly feet!

We usually read this passage on Maundy Thursday so to deal with it this early in Lent gives us the chance to look at it in a very different context.  (We have skipped a chapter so it’s worth reading chapter 12… there are lots of connections!)

In this passage the washing of feet happens during dinner!!!  During the last supper.

Foot washing didn’t happen during dinner.

It happened when you arrived to wash away the dirt of the journey.

You did it yourself.

Or a slave did it.

So, there this is something else going on here apart from hygiene.

This is a Gospel moment… but we know that.  It’s a demonstration of what love looks like.  OK.

But it’s also near the end of the road.

Judas is there.  The man who leaves and betrays him.

Peter is there.  The man who denies even knowing Jesus…

and both get their feet washed, even though Jesus knows what they both will do.

This is an incredible act of love.  Way beyond what we might imagine.  Jesus loves them despite their anger and doubt and denial.

Perhaps there is hope for us after all…

 

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John 11:1-44

Lazarus.

Jesus’ friend.

Dying.

And what does Jesus do?  Something else.  There’s no hurry.  No rush to see him or any hint that he might save him.  So many miracles, so many strangers healed, made whole, restored… why not Lazarus?

Again the story is laden with symbolism but there’s some real raw emotion in here too.  Mary and Martha are two of his closest followers and Jesus seems pretty indifferent about their brother’s fate.  I wonder how they felt about Jesus at that point?

 

Of course it all turns out well in the end… or does it?  Lazarus will spend the rest of his life as the man who died.  And not just for a moment.  He was dead for days.  Long enough for decay and stench to set in.

How do you come back from that and live?

How do you come out of the darkness of the tomb back into the light?

But that’s exactly the point… I AM the resurrection says Jesus.

And Lazarus lives again.

(Perhaps The Stone Roses… for the offering?)

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I’m thinking…

That’s what the start of the week is for.

On Monday mornings at Morning Prayers we explore the scripture passage from the day before and shed more light on it having had time to reflect and digest.  When I get home I read the passage for this week and the process of thinking starts again.

I’m going to start sharing some of these initial thoughts, just in case you want to do some thinking too!

It’s Transfiguration Sunday.  Usually we would read the story of Jesus on the mountaintop where he changes and is joined by Elijah and Moses.  Instead we’re exploring a different kind of transfiguration…

John 9:1-41 – A man born blind receives sight

We take a big jump this week from chapter 4 to chapter 9 (you should read the bit in between!).

On Sunday our story of the Samaritan woman happened at midday, in contrast to Nicodemus’ nighttime visit.  Now we are plunged back into darkness and light in this story of a blind man.  There is loads going on and much of it reflects where John’s community find themselves;  Thrown out of the synagogue, at odds with the religious authorities because they can see while others are blind.

As always, John is writing in several levels at once.  There are some issues that jump out:

  • Sin and questions about who is to blame.
  • A healing that echoes back to the Genesis 2 creation story involving both seeing/light and water.
  • Religious rules that hinder rather than help.  Is healing on the Sabbath ‘work’?

I like that the man can see but doesn’t know who did it, or at least what Jesus looks like, and that his friends don’t recognise him now that he can see!  It’s like partial illumination… something that for the man is completed in his second encounter with Jesus.

Lots to think about.  What do you see???

 

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