Blessed are You By Ed 4/28/2019
"Blessed are you."
We've been following the book of Mark as we look at the story of Jesus, and we saw last week the end of the book. Pastor Don explained the sudden and abrupt close of the book, noting that the story isn't over! We are a part of that story.
Today I want to talk about the idea of blessing. Knowing Jesus is the blessing that makes all the difference in life. That blessing involves knowing our purpose. Jesus has a job for us!
As we begin this week in John's Gospel, we go back a bit and notice that Jesus has not yet appeared to His disciples. * Mary Magdalene raised the alarm, saying: "I have seen the Lord! " (John 20: 18b).
The disciples are together, hidden for fear of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly Jesus is among them.* He says, "Peace be with you! " (John 20:19b)
They go from hiding in fear to joy at the presence of the risen Jesus.
They just saw Jesus killed, who wouldn't be afraid? If they could do that to
Jesus, what about them?
Jesus provides proof that it is He. He shows them His hands and side, pierced by
the nails and the spear. They are overjoyed. (John 20:20).
Overjoyed because they love Jesus.
Overjoyed because this changes everything.
Always with Jesus, everything changes.
Jesus brings His peace. "Peace be with you."
His presence is a sign of Jesus' victory over sin, death and the devil.
Jesus again wishes them peace and commissions them. Breathing on them, He says: "Receive the Holy Spirit". He tells them that they can forgive sins, or not. (John 20:21-3)
Jesus has work for them to do, and gives them authority to do it.
Thomas wasn't there during Jesus' appearance. * When the events are described to Him, he states, "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." (John 20:24-25)
A week later, while they were all together, Jesus appears. He wishes them all peace, and remarks to Thomas, * "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:26-27)
Thomas believes* saying, "My Lord and my God! " (John 20:28)
Jesus tells him, * "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
It's worth talking about this idea of blessing.
We use this term a lot.
It's almost a Christian "code". (Explain)
What is blessing?
Abraham and Issac - the world will be blessed. (Story)
'The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:15-18
Interesting how Abraham doesn't withhold his son, and later, neither does God. Through the Son God doesn't withhold, the blessing God promises comes to pass. Abraham's descendants, physical and spiritual, (us) can't be counted across space and time. Jesus moves the Kingdom of God forward and we are part of this.
Earlier in the life and ministry of Jesus we hear this story...*
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." John 14:5-7
Jesus identifies blessings to come to the believer. Knowing the Father, coming to the Father, knowing the way.
Way, truth, life... Truth first.
Blessing comes from knowing the truth, in rejecting deceit.
The truth is in facts. In knowing what's right, what's true.
The truth is in a person, in Jesus.
Knowing Him, is knowing the Father. *
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on,
you do know him and have seen him."
People spend their entire lives looking for how to live.
What should I do?
(The rich young ruler...)
What is important?
Love the Lord
Love your neighbor (from weeks ago...)
Jesus gives eternal life.
Jesus gives whole life.
Quantity and quality.
Alienation/connection. (Problem today)
From our first reading today:
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:3-4
Our fellowship, being a family, brings joy. We can love our neighbor, our brothers and sisters because we love Jesus and He loves us. We can get real about who we are, and Who's we are.
This makes all the difference.
Notice that Jesus opens His conversation wishing them Peace.
Peace comes from knowing our purpose, our place. Where do we fit? Why am I here? Jesus has the answer for each of us. Our purpose has meaning. It's a role chosen for us by God. Jesus says,
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. "
Yoked animals work. That's why they are yoked. We are called to work, too. The promise is that the work will fit us. After Jesus met with the disciples, he commissioned them. He gave them a job. He gave us jobs too.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I like to sing. I'm a shower singer, a car singer.
I like it.
With a new role, new friends, new fun.
It's worship, and it's blessing
Blessing to others,
and to me.
Spiritual gifts inventory
Faith, admin, teaching
I enjoy doing what I have been gifted to do.
I have been blessed with these gifts, to bless others.
How about you?