2nd Sunday of Easter
Believe the Impossible . . . Or Impossible to Believe?
Text: Genesis 15:1-6
It happens all the time. Something good happens, maybe even something great. A great success. A great victory. A great blessing. You are soaring as high as can be. Your heart is beating with a vibrant faith and trust in God. God is good. Your faith is good. Life is good. You are filled with joy and peace.
But what almost always seems to come next? Something bad. Something disappointing. Something frightening. Suddenly the heartbeat of your faith is nearly flat-lining. The once vibrant faith and trust turns into doubts and worries. Is God really good? Life doesn’t seem very good. Now you are filled with anger, frustration, and those powerful doubts and worries.
It happens to us all the time. Why?
When things are going well, when your faith in God seems to be strongest, Satan knows that is the ideal time to tempt you. When better to tempt than when our guard might be down? When better to tempt than when we might be a little overconfident? When better to tempt than when Satan can make us fall the farthest? And like a fish gobbling up a sparkling lure, our sinful selves love to chomp down on doubts of God’s promises. Read the rest of this entry
Text: 1 Peter 1:16-21
“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
That’s the American way! We want proof. We want evidence. We want empirical data. Even photos or video footage aren’t good enough. Those can be doctored up and edited. Thus, we won’t believe anything until we see it first!
We can understand why the lessons for this coming Sunday are so important. They all revolve on trusting in things we haven’t seen. Abraham believed promises from God that seemed impossible. Thomas didn’t believe his disciple buddies had seen the risen Savior Jesus. And in the present, we face a similar challenge: We haven’t ever seen our Savior and our God Jesus Christ!
Peter gives us great encouragement today. The words of Scripture aren’t made up like Harry Potter playing Quidditch. This isn’t the Hunger Games. Peter and the other apostles were eye witnesses and ear witnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We can be sure that Scripture is true and that Jesus is truly our Savior because these are real things that real people saw and heard. Ever wonder why there are four gospel accounts? We would call that today in our culture corroborating evidence!
Even more, Peter continues to assure us about the veracity and validity of Scripture by informing us that these weren’t made up or embellished stories, either. Rather, the prophets and apostles spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. God inspired and helped write every single word–every single letter even–of his Holy Word.
We weren’t around when the Bible was written. We have never seen Jesus. But yet we still trust. This is called “faith.” What a blessing to have this gift of faith given to us by God to believe what we have never seen which such sure confidence!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I have never seen you. I have never heard your voice. Yet continue to give me a sure and certain faith that sees and hears you through the pages of Scripture. Give me a confident trust that you are my Savior and that your words in Scripture are true. Erase my doubts and strength my belief. In your name I pray, AMEN.
The Feast of Saint Simon and Saint Jude
Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled
1. You have God’s pleasure
2. You have God’s presence
3. You have God’s peace
Text: John 14:21-27
Something wasn’t quite right. The tension was nearly tangible. It was as if something big was about to happen.
That whole week Jesus had been talking more and more about suffering and dying. He had been saying he had to leave. His preaching had been fiery—even turning over money tables in the temple.
Only hours before this, they began what was supposed to be just another ordinary Passover meal together. But the tension only increased. Jesus said that one of the Twelve was going to betray him. Everyone was completely confused. Judas ran out of the room. What was that all about? Then Jesus instituted a new meal with a new covenant for forgiveness. Why was that necessary? Then they sang a hymn and went out toward a favorite place of prayer—the Garden of Gethsemane.
As they were walking now, Jesus started back up with the “gloom and doom” talk. He said Peter was going to deny him. He said again that he was going to be leaving. Where was he going? What was going on here? Peter was hurt that Jesus would think he would deny him. Thomas asked where Jesus was going. Philip asked to see God the Father because maybe that would help them believe. We heard today how Judas asked why Jesus seemed to be revealing himself only to the disciples.
What was going on here! The disciples were confused and concerned. They were troubled and afraid. Read the rest of this entry
2nd Sunday of Easter
Love and Believe What You Cannot See (because Jesus gives)
2. An Inheritance
Text: 1 Peter 1:3-9
I go to church every single Sunday. I was there on Easter when we had the massive crowd last week. I attend every Bible study. I read my Bible on my own. I pray as much as I can. I try my hardest to live according to my faith. I do all of those things . . . but still nothing. I haven’t seen any results. I haven’t seen life get any easier. I haven’t seen anything get better. And I certainly haven’t seen Jesus.
What if this religion stuff is just made up? What if God is just a placebo—something fake people use to make them feel better psychologically? I want to believe in God. I want to believe the Bible. But where’s my proof? When is my life going to get better? When am I going to see some signs from God? When is God going to talk to me?
These are tough questions for Christians. Our faith could be so strong. But then life happens. Problems occur. Sicknesses and sorrows plague our hearts. Suddenly what we thought was a sure foundation seems to be sinking sand. So we start to ask questions. We wonder. We doubt, just like Thomas in the gospel today.
Peter wrote to encourage Christians like us. His encouraging words are in verses 3-9 of 1 Peter 1. This morning Peter tells us why we can Love and Believe What We Cannot See. Read the rest of this entry