Sermons 2008
"Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Easter 2A 2008 John 20:19-31

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” In the Gospel according to Saint John, these are the words which Jesus spoke to Thomas the Doubter – and with which he challenges us across the centuries until he comes again. He challenges us to seek him however we can – and to accept him however he chooses to reveal himself to each of us, and to rise to the demands that he places upon us.

Some of us may remember the April 17 issue of US News & World Report of last year. The front page was Jesus bleeding face on the way to Golgotha taken from the painting, Ecce Homo – Behold the man – by Juande Juanes, now in the Prado Museum, Madrid.

The headline was equally eye-catching: “Christ’s Mission: New debate about the role of Jesus in the world.” The article asked: “What did Jesus do? An alternative story of the birth of Christianity includes Jesus’s quite worldly dynastic ambitions. But is it true?…. The Kingdom of Christ: A bold new take on the historical Jesus raises questions about a centuries-long quest.” Sounds almost like Saint Thomas the Doubter revived again, doesn’t it.

All the fanfare was a result of the newly publicized Gospel of Judas, first rediscovered in Egypt some thirty odd years ago. Some of you may have seen the National Geographic Special about this old manuscript. Obviously there are echoes of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code in all the hoopla.

In the National Geographic book by Herbert Krosney, an American scholar is quoted as saying that the Gospel of Thomas “could create a crisis of faith.” It could, but only if we lost our sense of perspective and were overly susceptible to uninformed doubt.

Remember Jesus challenge to Thomas and to us: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” We are the ones who have not seen the physical evidence proper. But we do have the Gospel accounts – the canonical gospel accounts that is: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

It is important to remember that as fictional and unorthodox gospels proliferated in the centuries after the First Century AD, the councils of the Church followed an essential basic rule: the accounts closest to the human life of Christ on earth were the standard by which subsequent ones would be judged. As some people and Gnostic churches in the Second Century and onward began to invent their own versions of Christianity, the heart of the New Testament canon, the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, plus the letters of Saint Paul were generally accepted by the majority of the Churches by 130 AD. And the full canon of the Scriptures was established by a Church Council in 382 AD, identical to the canon listed by Saint Athanasius fifteen years earlier. Neither the Gospel of Judas or the more famous Gospel of Thomas (which actually authenticates parts of the canonical gospels) were included.

These recent discoveries of such noncanonical writings force us to confront our own skepticism and doubt. Healthy questioning and doubt serves to strengthen our own faith. Remember the father who asked Jesus to save his son from death: Jesus said to him, ‘All things can be done for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’

I must confess that is often my own cry and prayer: I believe; help my unbelief. And prayers are answered.

For me, the final word was rung down by my Seminary Professor of Old Testament. He remarked one day, when some fake coffins were first unearthed in Jerusalem, “If they discovered even a box of bones labeled Jesus of Nazareth, and the bones really were his, it still would not make any difference to my faith in Jesus Christ.”

He’s alive; Hallelujah, he’s alive.


Parts from InterNet and subscription sources.