A message for the week starting on Sunday the 16th of April 2023
Lectionary Week: Second Sunday of Easter
Prescribed Texts: Acts 2:14a, 22-23, Psalm 16, 1 Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31
Jesus Meets People Where and How They Need
Focus text: John 20:19-31
Typical of John’s gospel, the post-crucifixion narratives in this chapter explore in fine detail the reactions of Jesus’ disciples to the news of the resurrection. John 20 offers us four different experiences of these people, who were closest to Jesus.
When Jesus’ disciple sees the empty tomb, he “saw and believed.” Mary needed to hear Jesus call her name, before she realised, He had risen. In the focus text we read about the other disciples, who believed it once they saw the marks on Jesus’ hands and feet, while Thomas needed to feel and touch the wounds first.
When it comes to faith and the resurrection, we all have different lived experiences. Whether we believe easily like John, or we need to have a personal encounter and hear God’s call clearly, like Mary. Maybe we need to see for ourselves like the disciples or to feel and experience, like Thomas. Jesus meets people how, where and when we need it. We can create spaces in our own lives for those encounters by making time to spend with God – whatever that looks like for you – or simply being open and present in the moment, so that we can hear or see or feel when God reveals Godself to us.
The risen Jesus reveals Himself to the disciples in order to comfort, reassure, equip and motivate them to continue their work. These meetings with friends and followers are not only meant to comfort, but also serve as a call to action. After each meeting the disciples are once again sent out into the world.
“Don’t hold me but go tell my brothers and teach them that they are children of God.”
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Through our own encounters with the Lord, we become the people who are sent as Jesus did: By going to meet people where they are and according to what they need. Is this not especially relevant in the context of the HIV pandemic?
Maybe there are people God has already put in your heart. It could be someone you know, who is living with HIV; someone you often walk or drive by; perhaps a colleague at work; someone who lives in your area; a family member; a stranger.
To think about (or discuss):
Take some time to call to mind the people God is pressing on your heart today. In which practical ways can you show up for them today/this week? In what ways do you yourself need to be comforted/reassured/equipped/encouraged? Share with God in prayer or with someone you trust to meet you in the way you need.
Written by: Rev. Bianca Truter-Botha, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator and trainer