“Peace be with you” The Second Sunday of Easter

well it is so good to be able to worship
with you in spirit and truth and I greet
you this morning with the words peace be
with you those are the words that Jesus
says when he peers in the upper room to
the disciples peace be with you and I
wager that the disciples were very
surprised and we all like pleasant
surprises this week my 19 year old
applied to college and got in and got
the pleasant surprise as well that he
did not have to take SATs because
they’re not being offered right now and
so he was very pleasantly surprised
since he was not looking forward to that
at all and I wager that the disciples
who were huddled in this upper room had
not been expecting or looking forward to
seeing their Lord crucified and buried
and now it says here in John 20 verse 19
on the evening of that day the first day
of the week the doors being locked where
the disciples
those were for fear of the Jews Jesus
came and stood among them and said to
them peace be with you when he had said
this he showed them his hands and his
sides and the disciples were glad when
they saw the Lord and I’m sure there was
quite a bit of fear and Wonder and
anxiety about the whole thing I mean
they were huddled together in this room
in fear with the doors locked
afraid that they were going to be hauled
away to jail they had joined a movement
to follow this messianic figure they had
embraced the vision and they had
prepared for victory on the night Jesus
is arrested Peter is wearing a sword
that he whips out and he strikes the ear
off of the high priests servant and
Jesus not only returns the ear to its
place miraculously but he turns to Peter
and says put away your sword Jesus was
and what and Jesus’s kingdom was not
what Peter was expecting and it’s always
just impressed me the beauty and of the
love and the patience of Jesus is that
Jesus is enduring Peter still walking
around with revolutionary ideas to the
very last moment he didn’t wash his
hands of Peter as an extremist he
patiently pastored him and even as he’s
being arrested
he’s pastoring and teaching them and yet
there he’s crucified and their leader
was dead and now they’re in this upper
room fearful disheartened disillusioned
Jesus had promised them a new world what
would they all do and then suddenly
Jesus appears in a room where the doors
are locked and to this he says peace be
with you and the question is why does
Jesus say this I mean it sounds like the
regular salutation and he brutes Shalom
and if you go to Israel today people say
Shalom to each other all the time they
say peace when you go to Arab cult
cultures and they say something varies
they say Salam which is based on the
same word but why does Jesus say this
why does he say peace why this when they
are hunted and in fear of their very
lives in fact what does Jesus even mean
by peace what is peace and can we ever
expect to see real peace the Jewish
conception of peace is more on the lines
of completeness and wholeness that
brings about a pervasive tranquility and
abundance to life and to society and to
society it’s about thriving and it’s
about joy and it’s about support and
it’s about nurture peace in this sense
is the total absence of war in fact it’s
it’s it’s utter opposite yet we have to
keep in mind
the war is a distinctly human thing only
humans really go to war animals can be
territorial they have combat rituals
over the female and over the pack and
things like that but you see only humans
are really political only humans have
greed only humans can have or lack true
peace and so Jesus says to them here in
verse 21 again peace be with you as the
father has sent me even so I am sending
you and when he said this he breathed on
them and said to them receive the Holy
Spirit for if you forgive the sins of
any they are forgiven them and if you
withhold forgiveness for many it is
withheld well we could go very very deep
down that rabbit trail right now but I’d
like to comment on this point is that
Jesus gives the spirit as the pathway to
peace Jesus’s goal in his death burial
and resurrection is peace and a world
with peace is a world where true
forgiveness reigns and that’s only going
to happen where God reigns and so it’s
always been a little bit of a wonder to
me why he addressed them like this and
the key thing is is this first time he
appears to his disciples he
says peace be with you and that brings
us to our first point is that Jesus
brings peace that is what he’s after
that is what he’s going toward Paul says
another place that all creation groans
and travails and suffering till now
suffering groaning is the fruit of the
lack of peace the world at war with
itself and so we can ask the question
what kind of peace is this what kind of
peace does Jesus bring into the world
and that peace is a peace in all
relationships now please don’t
misunderstand me
I am NOT talking about a touchy-feely
kind of hippy tie-dye kind of peace
where hey let’s all get along let’s
let’s let’s give up the things we argue
about let’s just all pretend like
everybody thinks the same and not talk
about anything controversial and let’s
all get along that’s not the kind of
peace that bring Jesus brings because
that peace won’t last
you see Jesus brings two things together
that the hippy peace can’t bring
together the hippy peace is people
getting along at the expense of truth
but Jesus brings truth together with
everlasting peace and that takes a
morale miracle that only God that can
bring because truth is controversial
tell someone who believes
passionately in women’s reproductive
rights and that the right of the mother
and the right of a Planned Parenthood to
take the life of a baby and tell them
that that is not true and that is wrong
you’re going to offend somebody but that
is a life and Jesus defends that life
and somebody may see this video today
and be offended but Jesus brings a piece
into the world that never compromises
the truth of justice in the world it
defends the unborn it defends the poor
it defends the needy it defends human
rights it reaches out to those who are
sick and suffering it feeds the poor and
so Jesus brings peace in all
relationships and this is on a cosmic
level and it begins first in this that
Jesus brings peace between God and man
who are at war as Paul says in Romans
5:10 for if while we were enemies we
were reconciled to God by the death of
his son so much more now we are
reconciled shall we be saved by his life
that’s how we understand Jesus’s words
here when he says peace be with you
without the death burial and
resurrection we are at war with God
we’re not on the side of God by Nature
we are at war with him Paul calls us
enemies but because of the death of the
son and his resurrection we are now
reconciled and we can be saved by his
life and that is where all peace begins
peace begins in that cosmic relationship
between God and man God is reconciling
all humankind to himself by faith in the
resurrection of the Son of God but
besides peace between God and Nan he
brings a second kind of peace which is
peace between all men we don’t see that
right now because the kingdom of God is
not here but he blows on his disciples
and he gives them the spirit and he
gives the potential and the power if
they submit to the still small voice of
the Spirit to begin to bring peace and
to begin to work for peace in the world
Jesus brings peace between us if we will
submit to it and thirdly Jesus
ultimately will bring peace on earth
because it’s founded in this death
burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus
triumphed over the grave you see Jesus
is reconciling all relationships and the
key thing for us to think about in the
Gospels is in in in the gospel of Christ
is that if we are not growing and
improving in our relationships then we
have the question of whether we’re
walking in the gospel because the gospel
reconciles us to God so that me we may
walk in his truth so that we may be
reconciled with one another so my first
point was Jesus brings peace the second
one second point is Jesus broadcasts
peace that’s the first thing he does
here when he tells them this he gives
the church its mission which is to bring
a taste of the kingdom to to bring
orders appetizers of the kingdom that’s
coming and this is passed on an act of
discipleship from God the Father to the
Son and to the church that’s what he
says here he says as the father has sent
me even so I am sending you the father
sends the
son to bring peace on earth and the son
fulfills his covenant of obligations to
the father and is raised from the dead
by the power of the Father and he passes
on those covenant ‘el obligations to
those who of us who are in Christ that
we might live as Christ because to live
is Christ and to die is gain Jesus sends
the disciples the church into the world
with what they’re armed with his peace
they are armed with the power of the
Holy Spirit and he blows on them and
this symbolism is symbolic of the first
man that he created in the garden it
says he formed man of dust from the
ground and then he breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life and now he’s
breathing into his disciples faces the
breath of the Spirit to take peace into
the world and so the church is called to
be peacemakers in the world does that
make us automatic peacemakers not always
we need to listen to the spirit we need
to walk in the spirit and so we have to
humble ourselves and we have to choose
to live in that peace Jesus hands over
that peace in the power of the Spirit
but we must choose daily to submit to
that power to live by it sometimes we
like to think and sometimes people will
try to tell us that if you’re walking in
the spirit the Spirit just overrides you
and just makes you do things makes you
godly against your will that’s not how
the Spirit works the Spirit is a small
voice tapping on your shoulder
saying are you sure you want to do that
see there’s this concept also in the New
Testament called quenching the spirit
and that’s when you’re feeling that kind
of conviction in your heart that
whatever you’re doing in this
relationship to somebody or whatever
you’re doing right now it’s not rubbing
well with you and you start stuffing it
down and saying you know I don’t wanna
hear that I’m right in this situation I
don’t want to listen
that’s quenching the spirit that’s not
listening to that still small voice of
God which is the spirit we don’t like to
listen to the conviction in our heart
we’d most of us would prefer to be right
than be righteous because it’s a lot
simpler and easier in the short term
it’s a lot more complex for us in the
long term though it’s not a long term
plan it is short minded thinking it’s
narrow thinking and it’s the kind of
thinking that Thomas was struggling with
here verse 24 says now Thomas one of the
twelve called the twin was not with them
when Jesus came and so the disciples
told him we have seen the Lord but he
said to them unless I see his hain’t in
his hands the mark of the nails and
placed my finger into the mark of the
nails and placed my hand into his side I
will never believe Thomas is the
scientific man or so he thinks
it’s the mantra I will not believe it
unless I see it but the gospel really
works the opposite way is st. Anselm
said is we believe in order to
understand we don’t understand in order
to believe you see we see the internal
truth and integrity of the gospel when
we believe it when we begin to look at
as a whole we see the witness of God’s
love and gospel in the world that he’s
forgiving that he’s loving no matter
what we’ve done that God is bringing
peace between sinner and the righteous
god of the world God has mercy and God
here in Christ is so patient with Thomas
he’s patient with us
he’s kind with us he’s kind with
anything that we’ve ever done and Jesus
can forgive any sin that’s been
committed he’s compassionate
but it’s not Sivan seeing that makes us
believe because we we really choose what
we want to believe at the end of the day
and so Jesus says to Thomas down in
verse 29 have you believed because you
have seen me blessed are those who have
not seen and yet believed why does he
say that well it’s because faith is the
substance of things hoped for it’s
something that transcends our worldly
experience it’s the evidence of things
not seen as the writer of Hebrews says I
have often wondered the precise
connection between Jesus’s offering of
peace and Thomas’s doubt I’ve always
have often wanted that like what what is
the connection between these two what
and it led me to this question what is
the source of all war and enmity what is
it what is this the source of all war
and strife in the world and the answer
is distrust unbelief amen that’s what
got us into this mess with you whether
you take the the Genesis story of Adam
and Eve literal or not the story tells
of the distrust of God the God made a
perfect world for Adam and Eve and he
gave him a place of perfect peace to
thrive it to thrive and the serpent
injects doubt he injects doubt and
distrust and they act on that distrust
the distrust is sown in the garden and
acted out on by the man that plunged the
human race into a state
of Perpetual distrust fear and war and
that’s why I said at the beginning that
war is a human thing because humans
distrust each other
distrust true distrust is something that
is very distinctly human and faith is
something that’s distinctly human
something that is created and shown only
in the image of God and some of this
today is entirely founded we cannot
fully trust each other because of our
sin nature our sin nature makes us
number one self-serving and number two
it makes us unreliable and so the
distrust we have for each other is
sometimes entirely justified maybe most
the time it’s entirely justified and I
think that’s exactly why Jesus said be
wise as serpents but as harmless as
doves and you see what he does there you
see what he says is to be shrewd and
careful because people can’t be trusted
even when they mean the greatest good
their sin nature can take over and they
will slip the knife into your rib cage
and we’ve all had it done to us and we
will we have all done it but it’s the
second half of that be as harmless as
doves what he says is watch out for each
other because we can’t fully trust each
other but what he says is take a posture
of never harming the other person you
see that’s love your enemies that be
wise as serpents and harmless as doves
is being careful around prickly
dangerous human beings but at the same
time being harmless and trustworthy and
someone who can be fully trusted even
though people may not choose to
and so eight days later Jesus’s
disciples were inside again and Thomas
was with them and all the although the
doors were locked Jesus came and stood
among them and said peace be with you
and he gently says to Thomas and he
gently says this to all disbelievers he
Gen he gently says it to all who’ve
committed sin all of us put your finger
here and see my hands put out your hand
and place it in my side do not
disbelieve but believe do not disbelieve
but believe and Thomas answered My Lord
my god
and so jesus said to him have you
believed because you have seen me
blessed are those who have not seen and
yet believed and that brings us to our
third point the gospel though it brings
peace because it also brings the truth
and the Spirit brings conviction into
our hearts our third point is the gospel
brings a temporary war in our members in
our bodies Paul says we war not against
flesh and blood but against
principalities and powers and every high
thing that exalts itself against the
knowledge of God Paul says in Romans 7
23 but I see in my members another law
waging against the law of my mind and
taking me captive to the law of sin that
dwells in my members you see it is peace
and truth and when those come together
in our lives in the in the power of the
we have a war between a sin nature
that’s pulling us one way and we have a
new nature that’s pulling the other way
and that is the war that the Christian
lives in until we go to be with the Lord
or the kingdom comes you see to become
Christ’s disciple is to become his
soldier to follow Jesus is to enter the
war to enter the fray of battle between
the spirit and the flesh and so in 2nd
Corinthians 10:3 Paul says for though we
walk in the flesh we are not waging war
according to the flesh for the weapons
of our warfare are not of the flesh but
have divine power to destroy strongholds
we destroy arguments in every lofty
thing that raise itself against the
knowledge of God and take every captive
every thought captive to obey Christ and
that is what the spirit does the spirit
if we humble ourselves and if we are
listening it will guide us to take our
thoughts captive but that takes
discipline to embrace Jesus is to
embrace the battle to embrace Jesus is
to embrace the battle for holiness and
the kingdom of God and there’s nothing
easy about it the gospel is simple but
it’s not easy we must learn to train our
mind to obey this gospel this is the
process of discipleship the learning
process learning to cast down the
imaginations that war that rebel against
God to take captive every thought of our
mind and bring them in line with the
obedience of God because whatever our MA
wherever our mind goes our body follows
the mind rules the body if we think on
unholy things we
we’ll live and do unholy things but if
we think on godly things we will grow in
godliness however imperfectly by the
power of the Spirit and so we bring our
thought life into unity with God’s
purpose and our body’s behaviors and our
lifestyles will follow yes the Christian
life is a war but it’s a war for peace
because Jesus has put this peace in our
hearts and we can live in this peace
until we are with him and most of us
right now in the midst of this odd
awkward and dangerous time as we face
this pandemic we have a lot of anxiety
there’s a lot of reasons to not have
peace and yet God gives a transcendent
peace a peace that transcends all these
events that you can rest on that Jesus
is the rock of our salvation and so
Jesus did all these signs in the
presence of the disciples and as John
says that they are written so that you
might believe that Jesus is the Christ
the Son of God and that by believing you
might have life in his name
that we might have life in his name no
matter what we’ve done that by believing
we have life in peace amen
I was unconscious I was crucified at the
death I believe the Holy Spirit the Holy
Catholic Church the communion of saints
the forgiveness of sins the resurrection
and the life everlasting
the Lord be with you and also with you
let us pray our Father who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come
thy will be done on earth as it is in
heaven give us this day
as we forgive those who trespass against
us and lead us not to temptation but
deliver us from evil
behind is the kingdom and the power and
the glory forever and ever amen
show us your mercy O Lord and grant us
your salvation clothe your ministers
with righteousness let you know sing
with joy give peace O Lord in all the
world only you can heal in safety
Lord keep this nation under your care
waiting for justice and truth with your
way if you don’t upon the earth your
estate in Hell among all nations let not
the media Lord be forgotten the Lord be
take away Creed in us clean hearts of
God and sustain us with adorable be
spared Almighty and everlasting God who
in the Paschal mystery established the
new covenant of reconciliation grant
that all who have been reborn into the
Fellowship of Christ’s body may show
forth in their lives
they profess by their faith through
Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one
God for ever and ever
well God out a king by the resurrection
of his son Jesus Christ on the first day
of the week
you conquered sin put death to flight
and gave us the hope of everlasting life
redeeming all our days by this victory
forgive our sins banish our fears
because bold to praise you to do your
will and strengthen us to wait for the
consummation of your kingdom on the last
great day through the same Jesus Christ
Oh God who have made of one blood all
the peoples of the earth you sent your
blessed son to preach peace to those who
are far off into those who are named
great dead people everywhere may seek
after you and find you bring the nations
into your fold pour out your Holy Spirit
upon all flesh and hasten the coming of
your kingdom through Jesus Christ not
beloved let’s take some time go over to
the Lord our own prayers personal
supplications for our lungs
intersections for those who are in need
and Thanksgivings for the blessings of
Father in heaven this day I asked that
you pour your blessings down upon this
congregation upon the surrounding
communities the state of Rhode Island
this wonderful country of the United
States of America indeed across the
whole world
those suffering right now from the
popular malady but also those who suffer
in vastly greater numbers from other
maladies persecutions and sin whatever
the tubing solves by the hands of church
by the truth of your word we thank you
for we pray that you will help us to
count our blessings right thank you for
the many blessings that you will bring
out of the chaos right now father we
pray you bring special comfort to those
who need those who are isolated those
who are following Christ especially from
Congregation for their care we just
thank you for caring the congregation
will continue to serve one another in
this time the best we can father let
your spirit continue to move on us
we talked about this morning let us hear
your still small voice convict us our
sin and humble us that we might walk
more closely with you and that we might
walk more intimately with one another
fire restore our love for you so that we
might have love for one another
whether I prayed for all those in
positions of public trust who must make
very difficult decisions lord I pray
miss Nick your Holy Spirit upon them
that you imbibed in truth and with
staying some hand that they would listen
to your guidance for the good of all who
depend on them for leadership
but they you know that we are social
you called us into communion with each
other to share the joys and tears of our
daily lives one to another I pray let it
Lord at this time when we have separated
that you would give succor to the host
feel lonely give a sense of community to
those who are separated will our bring
us back together under one roof again
one day
and father I thank you for the states
that have gone before us those whose
shoulders upon we stand today many who
have gone through much greater trials in
their lives that taught us by their
perseverance and their courage and they
trust in you to be the true face of the
church in the world
so now on the top of page 77 let’s pray
Almighty God Father of mercies we are
unworthy servants give you multiple
things for all your goodness and lies to
us to all whom you have pain we bless
you for our creation preservation and
all the blessings of this one
but above all mention of the love and
the redemption of the world by our Lord
Jesus Christ for the means of grace and
for the hope of glory and we pray give
us such an awareness of your messages
that with truly thankful hearts we make
sure warm to embrace not only with our
lips but in our lives by the giving of
ourselves to your service and by walking
before you in holiness and righteousness
all our days through Jesus Christ our
to who with you and the Holy Spirit
beyond worn throughout all ages
well I just want to take a couple
moments to thank you for worshiping with
us this morning those of you were at
home again thank you for your continued
faithfulness and serving one another
some have been doing their care groups
online calling and checking up on each
other that’s what the church is called
to do thank you for your graciousness
and thank you for your continued giving
which has been such a blessing to keep
the church just going and afloat and
going so don’t have a lot to announce
right now but we are continuing with our
face book services online every Sunday
morning and we just look so forward to
bringing this to you all and sharing
this with you and know from the bottom
of our hearts that you know that when
two or more are gathered in Jesus’s name
he’s in the midst
even if we’re spread all over and that’s
true of the church in the world that you
know the the truth the gospel is is no
Christian ever prays alone because we
pray with the whole church if you need
anything call the office let us know on
Facebook or email and we’ll serve you
and just stay safe and out of harm’s way
and so with that we’re going to conclude
our service.

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