Easter 3B

image: wikimedia


Voice in the Wilderness: Katey Zeh

Featured Musician: Christopher Grundy

PSALMIST: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Tasty Wafer: TNS 5-6: Diana Butler Bass!

Featured Musician: Christopher Grundy


Exegetical Notes

Luke 24:36b-48

Initial Thoughts

  • Earliest Christian art in the catacombs of Rome show meals of bread and fish, not bread and cup -  makes for a messy (and smelly) communion

Bible Study

  • 5th of 6 post resurrection stories in Luke 24 (Feasting on the Word, Year B, vol. 2)

    • Women and two "men" at the tomb (vv. 1-8)

    • The women's announcement to the eleven (vv. 9-11)

    • Peter's verification of the empty tomb (v. 12)

    • The road to Emmaus (vv. 13-32)

    • Gathering in Jerusalem (vv. 33-39)

    • Jesus and his followers in Bethany (vv. 50-53)

  • Right after Emmaus- very similar

    • Reveals himself

    • Eats

    • Teaches

    • Send Out

  • Post-resurrection Eucharistic meal?

    • John 21 and Luke 24- Emmaus?

    • Unlike Emmaus- the Eucharistic verbs are not used, nor is the meal shared

    • Perhaps not a Eucharistic meal, but proof of bodily resurrection because ghosts can’t eat food

    • Body, Spirit and Resurrection

    • The bodily resurrection was very important for both the early church (2 John 7, Origen, On First Principles, trans. G. W. Butterworth, slightly altered (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1973), 5.) and modern Christians (one of the 5 fundamentals which define “Fundamentalism”)

    • Does the bodily resurrection matter to daily life today?

  • Four fold movement with response:

    • Jesus is revealed - fear

    • Fear is a part of life, despite being told 365 times in scripture not to fear - we do. The problem is not fear in and of itself, but we cannot let fear control us

      • The disciples are being controlled by fear - not going out to proclaim but gathering together

      • Jesus speaks, eats, invites them to challenge their fears and touch him - joy

    • Jesus breaks their fear by meeting them where they are, not through rebuke

      • Jesus teaches - minds are opened

      • Teaching comes after revelation and fellowship

      • See Jesus revealed, experience Jesus- then learn more - this is opposite of most of our churches which require new member classes, Sunday School and confirmation before one can truly experience full membership in the body of Christ (ok that is a little harsh, but you get what I am saying)

    • Jesus commands- up to you

      • As in many of the post-resurrection stories there is a “sending out”

      • Proclaim: Repentance, forgiveness of sins to all people

      • What does it mean to proclaim something in Jesus’ name (v.47)?

        • Does it mean to do it in the spirit of that person? That person’s name gives authority to what is being proclaimed

        • Does not seem to mean- you must believe in this certain doctrine or the proclamation is not true

  • What is the nature of this risen Jesus?

    • Real

      • Two actions reveal that Jesus is real.

        • Examination of hands and feet

        • Eating the fish

      • This is no figment of imagination or ghost.

    • Mysterious

      • This story must be seen alongside the Emmaus story, where Jesus is unrecognizable, but mysteriously both vanishes and is recognized at the breaking of the bread.

    • Resurrection gets meaning from Scripture

      • The study of the prophets and “all that has been said about me”

    • Scripture gets meaning from Resurrection

    • Mission of the disciples is to preach the good news of repentance and resurrection.

      • Resurrection happens through Repentance

      • Repentance only possible because of Resurrection

Thoughts and Questions

  • Does the bodily resurrection matter? John Crossan doesn’t think so (See John Dominic Crossan. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, Harper One, 2009.)

  • This “is a narrative that addresses theological questions that thoughtful people often ask when the chords of the “Hallelujah Chorus” have faded. What was the risen Jesus like? What is the meaning of resurrection? How is this Jesus present now?” (Charles Cousar, Texts for Preaching, p. 294) These are questions that the preacher must consider in preparation, and perhaps even ask in the midst of the sermon, but need not necessarily answer.

  • Jesus understands the disciples fear and concern. He meets them there and invites them to move through their fear by touching, tasting and seeing. How might we also meet people in their anxiety and invite them through it?

    • When we encounter fear and skepticism- how we respond? With “peace”?

  • What does it mean to proclaim something in Jesus’ name (v.47)?

Acts 3:12-19

Initial Thoughts

  • What does an Easter community look like?

    • Lectionary bounces through Acts, tiptoeing so as not to upset the Pentecost experience that is coming.

    • Last week was about the community of Acts 4:32-35

    • Next week goes to another Peter speech about Jesus.

  • Context

    • This passage is the middle of a scene in which Peter and John heal a man crippled since birth. Peter is speaking to the people who gathered after seeing Peter heal the man.

Bible Study

  • Aspects of an Easter Church (Greg Carey, Workingpreacher.org)

    • Not a solo operation - Peter may be speaking but he is not alone

    • Proclamation and Witness

      • Jesus is part of Israel’s larger history and our history

      • Proclamation includes both the prophetic (speaking truth) and the pastoral (invitation to healing)

    • Authority

      • Not by virtue of Peter’s preaching, or healing, or the crowds which had gathered- all this is possible because of Jesus

      • “His name itself has made this man strong,” Peter proclaims.

      • By what authority do churches serve?

  • Accusation and Invitation

    • Beware anti-Jewish messaging and address it head on (this is not one where you can “just read it”- you need to address this issue)

      • This is a passage about Jews talking to Jews - let us not forget that Peter denied and fled during the crucifixion and stands as guilty as those to whom he is speaking

      • Arguably- Peter is more culpable because he didn’t “act in ignorance”

    • The accusation from Peter is for us all- we have all crucified Christ

      • “Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended” -Hymn - I Crucified thee

    • This is not an accusation against the Jews but against us all - when we remain silent while the innocent are killed, when we resort to violent means, when we don't love ourselves, neighbor or enemy - we are complicit in the power of crucifixion

    • BUT - the holy but of the Gospels - it isn’t too late! In resurrection God has declared that your worst sin (killing God) will not have the final word. God offers a new invitation- “come home, come home- all ye who are weary come home. Earnestly and Tenderly Jesus is calling- calling, O sinner home home”

    • Eternal God → Jesus of Nazareth → Resurrection → Transformation here and now.

  • Who is the church is opened even to those who crucified Jesus and if the killers of God are welcome-everyone is

Thoughts and Questions

  • What does the Easter church look like? How are we changed to be a community proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ?

    • Are we trying to do it alone or are we working with others in our community?

    • Are we celebrating all the things we have done or are we celebrating what God is doing through us?

    • Are all of our actions (both internal and external) a proclamation of the radical invitation to grace as exemplified in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

  • Atonement is a tricky thing (which is why there are so many theories of atonement), but in the end God

1 John 3:1-7


Initial Thoughts

  • Opening words from the United Methodist Book of Worship liturgy for a Service of Death and Resurrection, p. 141.

  • No surprise that these words would be used as words of hope in a time of mourning, but in a way, using this reading at a funeral misses the point.

  • 1 John is a “letter” about living in a community with Christ. It is very much rooted in this world, and how to live and act as followers of Christ.

Bible Study

  • Love and Light

    • These are the twin themes of 1 John that matter the most. God is light and God is love.

    • God is light, so we should remain in the light.

      • Remain in the truthful teaching of this particular community.

      • Other communities are focused on the wrong thing, and deny that Jesus is the Christ.

    • God is love, so we should love one another.

      • Remain in relationship with Jesus by loving each other as Jesus loved.

      • Remain in love, so that when he comes, you can be sure of his love.

    • Remaining in the light is of utmost importance, and the way to do that is to love one another.

  • God’s children.

    • Those who recognize that Jesus is the Christ are called children of God. Those that don’t recognize that are in darkness.

      • Author has little room for gray area - same as Gospel of John. Many dichotomies can be troubling, but also demand response.

    • Avoid deception (stay in the light) by being righteous

    • Right understanding of the nature of Jesus leads to right relationship with God, leads to right relationship with each other.

    • Being a child of God means that you will live a particular way - the way of love.

    • Sin is acting out of motivation that is not of love.

    • “Christian Perfection,” is not about being mistake-free. It is about allowing the love of God to be the motivating factor in all you do.

  • Be sinless.

    • 1 John 3:6 “Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him”

    • Seems to be a direct contradiction to 1 John 1:8 “If we claim, ‘We don’t have any sin,’ we deceived ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

    • So, are we deceived if we claim to be without sin, or are those who abide in Christ sinless?

      • Tense suggests a habit of sinning. So is it okay to just sin at random times?

      • Some suggest while we are with Christ, it is impossible to sin, but we step out of relationship when we sin. So are we constantly stepping in and out of relationship like a bad boyfriend?

      • “There is a genuine tension, both within the text of 1 John and within the experience of the church, regarding the reality of sin on the one hand, and life as God's children on the other.  What is clear is that the author will allow neither self-delusions of sinlessness nor a casual acceptance of sin within the lives of God's children.” (Brian Peterson, from Working Preacher)

Thoughts and Questions:

  • The grounding of who we are is in God’s love as revealed through Jesus. Everything we do as a Church and as Christians, must be read through the lens of the love of the Father. This is the only ground on which we can stand. Righteousness then, is living as a reflection of that love.

  • What exactly that will look like is still not known. It has been revealed to us. We have a glimpse of what it is to live in perfect love. That glimpse is Jesus Christ. We are called to do the same, but it has not been fully revealed. As people following Christ though, we are called to live it out as much as possible. We are called to be pure as Christ is pure. We are called to love as Christ loved, to forgive as Christ forgave, to invite as Christ invited. When we cease loving, we are no longer following Christ.


Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com,@pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”,"Real Ride"and“Summertime”) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).