The Reverend Elizabeth Bowyer
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Introduction to the Readings for Easter 2

This morning’s readings coming to us from the gospel according to John were thought to have been composed two or three generations after Jesus walked the earth. Each year on this, the second Sunday in the season of season of Easter, we hear stories of how his first followers, the disciples, gathered together for safety in community behind closed doors. In the aftermath of Jesus’ death on the cross, we might imagine the faithful huddled together, wondering what to do next. Listen with care to what captures your imagination and your hopes for living faithfully found in these two encounter stories with the risen Christ.

Reading from the New International Version of John’s gospel, Chapter 20, verses 19-31. Jesus Appears to His Disciples.

On the evening of the that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said: “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God, amen.

(copyright, Holy Bible, New International Version, Biblica. Inc, 2011)