Sunday 19th April | Sermon
Faith Ministries stories Pastor John Kalwiter
Easter People with an Easter Faith.
Reading :John 20:19 -31
The resurrection is over Jesus has risen from the dead.
Where are the disciples now, they are scared, the master was arrested tried and crucified right before their very eyes. One of their own had denied Jesus 3 times when it was crucial to stand up for him. It seemed like the time spent with Jesus was for nothing, because when it came to the crux, they all scattered and fled from him just as the master had prophesied.
They are now behind locked doors hiding from the authorities wondering what to do next. They were thinking perhaps that the last 3 years was time mis spent , they could’ve done better in life. What was the reason Jesus came into their lives? They believed in him …..what he said….. now what was to happen? Mary said he was alive, but they still hadn’t seen him.
A rather helpless situation, feelings of guilt, fear, desperation, confusion, perhaps anger, no direction , not knowing what should happen next, and Jesus isn’t there to tell them what to do.
Imagine the surprise, the joy when Jesus appeared before them. Christ knew what was needed in this specific context, when his disciples and friends were confused afraid and helpless. The disciples needed encouragement in their belief, in Jesus the Christ. They needed to see Jesus. Their faith and their spiritual eyes needed to be strengthened, empowered and assured yet again that Jesus is the way the truth and the light and that Jesus speaks the truth.
Jesus appeared at the right time and from his appearance, we know that Jesus holds, yes, his fallen disciples, close and dear to his heart.
NZ is now waiting for our Prime Minister and her cabinet to direct us forward in this COVID 19 lockdown. Whether we are to remain at Level 4 after 4 weeks of isolation and shutdown or go down to Level 3. We all have our own opinion on this I’m sure. How are we feeling emotionally? Is there confusion, fear, anger and maybe a feeling of being helplessly in the hands of the government and their decision making. Can we compare this to how the disciples were feeling after the resurrection and before the Messiah had appeared to them in the locked room?
That is why we have been praying for our government during this crucial time, in our Parish prayer times. Prayer is powerful and as the leaders of our nation meet and deliberate, we need to know that Gods hand will be upon them. We must remember always to pray for our leaders.
Though the word of God was written so many years ago, you and I are still mentioned in the word of God. We are mentioned a few times. “Blessed are those who have not seen but have come to believe.” That is you and I . We as believers today are blessed because we believe that Christ rose from the Dead is victorious and continues to reign. We believe that, despite not having seen him. These disciples knew him in the flesh, but you and I know him as the Spirit of God. We are Easter people living after the death and resurrection, but still our faith is restored, encouraged and empowered every time we hear and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.
Last week during the Easter Sunday sermon, I mentioned that Jesus prayed for us, that we would be one. We in Christ, must be united through Christ. Jesus has been praying and interceding on our behalf for a long time. We are blessed, as we believe but we haven’t seen, and Jesus prays for us and that we have unity. United we stand, divided we fall.
Does that give you some indication of how special we are to the Lord and how special our role is once again here on earth?
Jesus assures us that our faith is not in vain. We were reminded last Sunday of the joyous experience that the resurrection brings. Our God is victorious over the trials we go through. Do we believe that Christ still reigns, even though thousands of people have passed away due to this COIVD 19 virus. Pray for those families, pray for our frontline people, pray that God’s protection, healing and comfort is with those who are mourning. We do not go through this pandemic without our faith. Our faith has been renewed, and I believe that Jesus Christ is still present in the world, with us, alongside us as we go through this trial.
As Easter people, this is a time for all Christians to unite and show others that Gods love compassion and mercy is still present and living through all, but in particular through the body of Christ. Remember that God works through the body of Christ, speak the words of Christ, be the arms and the feet of Christ, especially when we are in lockdown. Everything starts in our little bubble.
Christ then breathed on them saying “receive the Holy spirit if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any they are retained.” This is Jesus giving authority to his church, the body of Christ. Then it was the disciples, today it is you and I. Know your part or your role in this life. Know your calling as a child of the Risen Christ. On Christ’s first appearance after the resurrection, to the disciples, as a group, he says “Receive the holy Spirit”
As Easter people, we are one with the Spirit of God, the disciples were dependant on Jesus the man, so Jesus says receive the Holy Spirit.
Receive the Holy Spirit Hamilton East Methodist Parish, receive the Holy Spirit St Johns 9.30 am congregation, receive the Holy Spirit Wesley 11.00 am congregation , ciqoma na Yalo Tabu our Fijian congregation and Mou ma‘u Laumālie Mā‘oni‘oni ā. to our Tongan Congregation
May you all receive the Holy Spirit as we embark into this season of Easter (50 days), we have been empowered and infused by the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit. We are to show and proclaim the love of Christ and the word of God inside our bubbles, then to go out (when we can), into the community and into the world and show the love of God. We are to proclaim life in abundance through the risen Jesus Christ as a gift to all, who will receive, with grace and humility. Happy Easter.
Look up, Look up and read the word of God.
Visit Hamilton East Methodist Parish Facebook Page for the video clip.