28 April 2019 – Second Sunday of Easter
John 20: 19-31
Believing in Jesus is, first of all, believing Jesus—believing him when he says he has come to show us our true life, the life that God intends for us; believing that it’s all about compassion and forgiveness and generosity; believing that love is the most important thing in how we treat each other, and how we treat our neighbors.
Believing in Jesus means welcoming him and his words into our hearts and lives, so that his Spirit is alive and active through us; so that his way of life becomes visible in the way we live our lives; so that his work continues to be done through our hands. And blessed are you, who have not seen, yet have come to believe.
It turns out that being physically close to Jesus, to be able to see him or touch him, conveys no significant advantage for believing in Jesus. . . The most important thing is being touched and changed by Jesus, because believing in Jesus means being open to him and to his word, which means that our lives will change. Jesus’ message will transform us. It will make us see the world in new ways. It will open our hearts to neighbors in need. And it’s a lifelong process—a process of being converted from a way of life that is all about us and what we want, to becoming part of Jesus’ work of love to remake the world, to heal it and make it whole. –– Aaron J. Couch
Peter and the apostles indicate that obedience to God must take precedence over obedience to humans. Their response is kerygmatic: God has raised Jesus who was put to death and exalted him at his right hand as the Savior who brings repentance and forgiveness of sins.
That this testimony of the apostles is also the testimony of the Holy Spirit has been the traditional teaching of the church.
However the accusation that the Jewish authorities “put [Jesus] to death, hanging him on a tree” (5:30) attributes a level of culpability that is not accurate and has been responsible for the enormous sufferings of Jews at the hands of Christians. While some Jewish authorities brought Jesus to the attention of the Romans who crucified him, it is the sins of all humanity that bears the true responsibility. –– Regina A. Boisclair
Revelation was written to a church experiencing persecution, and scholars believe it was composed during the reign of Domitian (81–96 C.E.). When the reading tells us that the author experienced his vision on “the Lord’s day,” it indicates that by the decade of the eighties in the first century, some Christians had already added or transferred the weekly observances to Sunday. . .
In language likely based on liturgical doxology, the reading continues to offer glory and power to Christ whose blood, shed out of love, frees his followers from their sins and makes them into a kingdom of priests who mediate between God and the rest of humanity.–– Regina A. Boisclair
Aaron Couch is a co-pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon.
Regina Boisclair, a Roman Catholic biblical scholar, teaches at Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska.
Homily Service 43, no. 2 (2009): 94-105.