iTrust blog
Hey iTrust! 13 May 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Hey iTrust!

This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday of Easter (13 May 2012). It also happens to be Mother’s Day in the U.S., so don’t forget your mother!

 

Sorry this is so late this week, time got away from me. We’re still watching Chariots of Fire, and will be for another few weeks.

 

Once again, after Chariots we’ll watch a video series called “Is the Bible Reliable? – Building the Historical Case.” That will be followed by a series called “Does God Exist? – Building the Scientific Case.” Dr. Dale Brant will join us for this last one, adding commentary along the way. When we complete our look at support for God’s existence from the scientific data, Dr. Brant will spend a few additional weeks reviewing the other classical arguments for the existence of God, with particular attention to the objections raised by the so-called “New Atheists” (i.e., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.).

 

Here are the Scripture readings (lectionary) for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!

 

First Lesson – Acts 10:34 –48

Gentiles Hear the Good News

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

 

Second Lesson – 1 John 5:1 –8

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

 

Gospel Lesson – John 15:9 –17

Love One Another

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Summary

The Lord Jesus Is with His Church in the Apostolic Ministry of the Gospel

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus is with His Church through the word of His Apostles, who “are witnesses of all that He did.” He was anointed by God “with the Holy Spirit and with power” and “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,” and so He was with those whom He sent “to preach to the people” (Acts 10:38 –42). The Holy Spirit is bestowed on those who hear that apostolic preaching, who are “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,” so that “everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43 –44, 48). For as He came by the water of His Baptism, even to the blood of His Passion, so the Spirit testifies to the truth with “the water and the blood” in the apostolic ministry of the Gospel (1 John 5:6 –7). By these means, Christ Jesus speaks to us, that His joy may be in us and that our “joy may be full.” For this purpose He appointed the Apostles to “go and bear fruit,” in order to make known His divine friendship to us (John 15:11 , 15–16).

 

 

See you in iTrust!

 
Hey iTrust! 6 May 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Hey iTrust!

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday of Easter (6 May 2012).

I’m glad most of you found the documentary on the life of Eric Liddell to be interesting and worth watching. Now, as we watch the Best-Picture-Oscar-winning movie of 1981, Chariots of Fire, we’ll be able to discern the “Hollywood spin” as they dramatize the story of Eric Liddell and the 1924 Olympics. That’ll take us a few weeks, probably into late May.

 

I know you guys can read Wikipedia as well as anybody, but if you want to get a little more background on the two main characters in Chariots of Fire, here are the links:

Harold Abrahams – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Abrahams

Eric Liddell – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Liddell

And the movie itself, Chariots of Firehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chariots_of_Fire

 

Once again, after Chariots we’ll watch a video series called “Is the Bible Reliable? – Building the Historical Case.” That will be followed by a series called “Does God Exist? – Building the Scientific Case.” Dr. Dale Brant will join us for this last one, adding commentary along the way. When we complete our look at support for God’s existence from the scientific data, Dr. Brant will spend a few additional weeks reviewing the other classical arguments for the existence of God, with particular attention to the objections raised by the so-called “New Atheists” (i.e., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.).

 

Here are the Scripture readings (lectionary) for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!

 

First Lesson – Acts 8:26 –40

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

 

Second Lesson – 1 John 4:1 –21

God Is Love

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

Gospel Lesson – John 10:11 –18

I Am the True Vine

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Summary

Jesus Christ Is the True Vine Who Bears Much Fruit in Us

God is Love,” and He has manifested Himself to us by sending “His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9 , 16). By the ministry of the Gospel, “He has given us of His Spirit,” so that we also believe and confess “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” In this way we “abide in Him and He in us,” and we “love one another” (1 John 4:2 , 7, 13). Such divine love is exemplified in Philip’s preaching of “the good news about Jesus” to the Ethiopian eunuch. And when “they came to some water,” the eunuch was baptized into the very Gospel that Philip had preached (Acts 8:35 –38). That Ethiopian was thereby grafted into “the true Vine,” Jesus Christ (John 15:1 ), just as we are. Already we are clean because of the Word that Christ has spoken to us and by the washing of water with His Word. We now abide in Him by faith in His forgiveness. As He abides in us, both body and soul, with His own Body and His Blood, He “bears much fruit” in us (John 15:3 –5).

 

See you in iTrust!

 
Hey iTrust! 29 Apr 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Hey iTrust!

Sorry this is a little late this week. This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter (29 April 2012).

 

Just another ten minutes or so of the documentary on the life of Eric Liddell, then we start the Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire. That’ll take us a few weeks, probably into late May.

 

Remember, after that we’ll watch a video series called “Is the Bible Reliable? – Building the Historical Case.” That will be followed by a series called “Does God Exist? – Building the Scientific Case.” Dr. Dale Brant will join us for this last one, adding commentary along the way. When we complete our look at support for God’s existence from the scientific data, Dr. Brant will spend a few additional weeks reviewing the other classical arguments for the existence of God, with particular attention to the objections raised by the so-called “New Atheists” (i.e., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.).

 

Here are the Scripture readings (lectionary) for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!

 

First Lesson – Acts 4:1 –12

Peter and John Before the Council

And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

Second Lesson – 1 John 3:16 –24

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

 

Gospel Lesson – John 10:11 –18

The Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

Summary

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Lays Down His Life for the Sheep

The Lord Jesus is “the Good Shepherd” who “lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11 ). His life is not taken from Him, but He lays it down willingly, of His own accord, because He knows and loves the sheep. As the One sent by the Father, He has the “authority to lay it down,” and the “authority to take it up again” (John 10:18 ). So has He done, and now He continues to love and serve as the Good Shepherd of the sheep by the voice of His Gospel. He thus calls all people into the fold of His Church, so that there may be “one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16 ). That is why the Apostles “were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2 ). Since “there is salvation in no one else,” His voice rings out to this day through the preaching of His name, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 ). His voice comforts our hearts against all condemnation and gives us courage to “love one another” and “to lay down our lives for the brothers,” as He laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16 , 23).

 

See you in iTrust!

 
Hey iTrust! 22 Apr 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Hey iTrust!

This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of Easter (22 April 2012).

Welcome, newbies, to the weekly “Hey iTrust” email! We are sincerely glad that you have joined us and look forward to four years together!

We usually don’t burden you with attachments, but there’s an important one this week. For those of you who made the Annual iTrust Newbies Dinner Sunday night at the Brants, you got a preview of what’s in the attachment. For those of you who didn’t, and for you parental units, take a look, please. This document lays out the motivation, the mission, and the plan for iTrust, specifically the high school youth Sunday class at Faith Lutheran Church, Capo Beach.

Also included as the last page is the class roster for 2012, with as much contact information as we could gather. If you see anything missing or incorrect on that roster, please let us know by return e-mail. Thanks.

The purpose of the weekly “Hey iTrust” note is to give a regular peek at what’s going on in class. This last Sunday, and continuing this week, we are watching a documentary on the life of Eric Liddell, followed by the Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire. That’ll take us a few weeks, probably into late May. After that we’ll watch a video series called “Is the Bible Reliable? – Building the Historical Case.” That will be followed by a series called “Does God Exist? – Building the Scientific Case.” Dr. Dale Brant will join us for this last one, adding commentary along the way. When we complete our look at support for God’s existence from the scientific data, Dr. Brant will spend a few additional weeks reviewing the other classical arguments for the existence of God, with particular attention to the objections raised by the so-called “New Atheists” (i.e., Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.).

Lest you have any concern that our apologetics efforts in class get too esoteric or philosophical and somehow miss focusing primarily on Jesus, take heart: we begin each class with what we call our “Montgomery Minute.” This is a series of questions and answers regarding apologetics, extracted from a week-long set of programs that Dr. John Warwick Montgomery did on Issues, Etc. Todd Wilken asks the question, and Dr. Montgomery gives a concise answer. We are still working through Section 1, titled “Objections to Theism.” The roadmap for the rest of Montgomery is Objections to Miracles, then Objections to the Exclusivity of Christianity, then Objections to the Problem of Evil, then Objections to the Text of Scripture, and finally Objections to the Resurrection. That’ll keep us busy for more than a year! And these little snippets also keep us grounded in our focus on Christ the Savior as the goal of apologetics.

The last thing these e-mails do each week is to present for all of you the Scripture readings (lectionary) for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!

 

First Lesson – Acts 3:11 –21

Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

 

Second Lesson – 1 John 3:1 –7

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

 

Gospel Lesson – Luke 24:36 –49

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Summary

The Preaching of Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins Makes Us Pure

The risen Lord Jesus taught His disciples “that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead” and “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:46 –47). Therefore, St. Peter preaches repentance and forgiveness to the people of Jerusalem. As he proclaims that Jesus fulfilled all that “God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets” (Acts 3:18 ), he also convicts the people of their sin, because they “delivered over and denied” this Lord Jesus and “killed the Author of life.” Yet God “glorified His servant Jesus” and raised Him from the dead (Acts 3:13 –15). St. Peter calls the people to repent, so that their “sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 –20). Through this forgiveness of sins, and by faith in this forgiveness, the Father shows His love for us, in order that “we should be called children of God, and so we are” (1 John 3:1 ). Thus we hope in Him and are made pure even “as He is pure,” because “He appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5 ).

 

See you in iTrust!

 
Hey iTrust! 15 Apr 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Hey iTrust!

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter (15 April 2012).

This week we welcome the newbies! And don’t forget, our welcome dinner party is this Sunday night, April 15, at the Brant’s home in Lake Forest.

With our “Montgomery Minute” we are still working through Section 1 on “Objections to Theism.” Next time is the question about “arguing someone in to the Kingdom.” Can it be done? You should know the answer, but we’ll hear Dr. Montgomery’s thoughts on the subject. The roadmap for the rest of Montgomery is Objections to Miracles, then Objections to the Exclusivity of Christianity, then Objections to the Problem of Evil, then Objections to the Text of Scripture, and finally Objections to the Resurrection. That’ll keep us busy for more than a year!

Now that the newbies have joined us, we will watch a documentary on the life of Eric Liddell, followed by the Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire. That’ll take us a few weeks, and after that we’ll watch the video series “Is the Bible Reliable? – Building the Historical Case.” Later in the summer, we’ll work though the series “Does God Exist? – Building the Scientific Case.” Dr. Dale Brant will join us for this last one; and maybe even for these last two. I hope to get back to Matthew later in the year.

 

Here are the Scripture readings for this coming week, plus the summary note of how they tie together. We always encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures before you get to church. We think you’ll find that valuable!

First Lesson – Acts 4:32 –35

They Had Everything in Common

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Second Lesson – 1 John 1:1 –2:2

Christ Our Advocate

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Gospel Lesson – John 20:19 –31

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Summary

The Risen Christ Breathes His Peace in the Holy Absolution

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus appeared to His Apostles on the first Easter Sunday. He “came and stood among them,” and with His Word and the wounds in “His hands and His side” He granted them His peace (John 20:19 –20). He sent them as ministers of the Gospel in His name to bestow the life-giving Holy Spirit for us and for His whole Church through the forgiveness of sins (John 20:21 –23). Through this apostolic ministry He calls us to believe that He “is the Christ, the Son of God,” so that by such faith we “may have life in His name” (John 20:31 ). The Apostles “have seen and heard” this divine life manifested in the flesh of Christ, and those who succeed them in this apostolic ministry now proclaim that same Absolution to us, so that we “too may have fellowship” with the risen Christ, with the Apostles, and “with one another” (1 John 1:1 –7). The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church lives by “their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” and all who believe this Word are “of one heart and soul,” because in Him they truly have “everything in common” (Acts 4:32 –33).

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