How to Fail Your Way to Heaven
You know what are some of my favorite moments in Scripture? The little “Easter eggs” of Jesus’ humanity, things like Jesus falling asleep, Jesus drawing in the sand, Jesus playing with kids. And how about Jesus rising from the dead, appearing to his disciples and saying, “So, have you got anything to eat?”
It’s right for us to always keep in mind that Jesus is God. But we also have to remember that he was man. He got hungry. He cried when he felt sad and laughed when he felt happy. He got tired. He got bored.
Because he was God, none of those feelings ever led him into sin, like they do us. He never spent a car ride trying to pass the hours by seeing how annoyed he could make his older sister. He never smacked Peter over the head for saying something really stupid. But he did unleash some Biblically righteous anger on those traders in the temple, didn’t he? And he wasn’t shy about calling Peter “a Satan” when his friend tempted him to take the easy way out.
It’s the tightrope walk we all try to balance every day, honoring our human emotions while still answering God’s call to be better. Being perfect isn’t the domain of the Christian — that’s the domain of Christ only. Trying and failing, then trying again (and failing again) and again and again? That’s the domain of the Christian.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS ©LPi
April 18, 2021
Third Sunday of Easter
We often act out of ignorance. Armed with the best of intentions, we think we are seeing clearly and correctly, but we are not. We don’t always understand the full meaning of things and only perceive part of the truth. Hence, our judgments and actions can be impaired by myopic, incomplete or erroneous perceptions. The meaning of life, understanding of human experience, and negotiating life’s challenges can all become skewed without proper understanding and vision. The resurrection of Christ is the corrective to our incomplete and limited view of life. Looking at things with the eyes of faith brings a depth of clarity and understanding to how we see God, ourselves, others, and the world.
Even the disciples struggled with their limited understanding and ignorant perceptions. It was only when Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures that their eyes were opened. It was their “aha” moment when everything clicked. We all want the substance of our lives to come together, make sense, and have meaning. This is easier to achieve when things are going positively and life is good. It is when suffering, disappointment, death, hardship, and injustice enter the picture that things can become unsettled and disoriented. Our faith in the goodness and love of God is tested. We tend to shift our focus on these difficult and challenging moments and do not see them within the greater picture of how God intends life to unfold. We can gain, from the passion and resurrection of Christ, the clear vision we need in order to move away from ignorance to enlightenment.
We need our “aha” moment when everything comes together and clicks. It can come in a fleeting instant when we feel totally connected with God, where we find ourselves, others and all of creation. It is a moment when all is right and good, regardless of how difficult our journey. Our “aha” moment assures us that God is here, right with us, in us and around us bringing us a gift and blessing we can receive nowhere else: peace. In those brief sacramental encounters when we are lifted up out of ourselves and centered, we can hear God say, “peace be with you,” and we feel secure. It’s all okay. The resurrected Christ has the power to bring this gift to us. Some people, as they are facing their deaths, remark about this peace. When looking into the window of eternity, they experience a depth of joy and are amazed at God’s goodness and closeness. We are called to be witnesses to this Good News.
Monday: Acts 6:8-15/Ps 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30 [1ab]/Jn 6:22-29
Tuesday: Acts 7:51—8:1a/Ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 7b and 8a, 17 and 21ab [6a]/Jn 6:30-35
Wednesday: Acts 8:1b-8/Ps 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a /Jn 6:35-40
Thursday: Acts 8:26-40/Ps 66:8-9, 16-17, 20 /Jn 6:44-51
Friday: Acts 9:1-20/Ps 117:1bc, 2 [Mk 16:15]/Jn 6:52-59
Saturday: Acts 9:31-42/Ps 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17 /Jn 6:60-69
When Jesus came to his friends after Easter, they could hardly believe he was real. Jesus told his friends it was okay to touch him. Jesus had bones. He had muscles. He had scars from the cross. Jesus even ate a piece of fish to show that his stomach worked okay. Yes, they had all seen Jesus die, but God raised him to life. Moses and King David and the prophets had all written about the Savior. The Scriptures all came true through Jesus. He really is alive. If you believe in Jesus, don't keep it a secret. Tell your friends that Jesus is their savior, too.
God, give me the words I need. I want everyone I know to follow you.
Something to Draw
Draw a picture of yourself telling your friends about Jesus.
Mission for the Week
Send a letter to the missionaries your church supports. Ask them how your family can help them spread God's love with other people.
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In publicly bearing witness to Jesus’ resurrection, Peter urged the people to repent of their sin of ignorance and their denial of Jesus.
How does Jesus’ resurrection from the dead inspire you to repentance?
John teaches his community that the key to avoiding sin is to follow Jesus’ commandments.
What do you find challenging in this seemingly simple and clear instruction?
Luke tells us that the resurrected Jesus opened the minds of the disciples “to understand the Scriptures” and see how his suffering, death, and resurrection was connected to repentance and forgiveness of sins.
What tools do you use to better understand our faith?
God already has the solution.