Easter 2: “These Things Are Written…”
April 19th, 2020 – John 20:31
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, may you receive from God the good you have not deserved, not get the bad you have, and may you have peace with God through the blood of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
This is For That
A toothbrush is for cleaning your teeth. A hairbrush is for brushing your hair. A book is for reading. A chair is for sitting. A cup is for drinking. A stapler is for stapling.
The pastor is playing captain obvious today.
Things have a primary purpose. A calculator is for calculating.
Although most things have a primary purpose, as you know, they can also be used for other things. Like a calculator cannot do much else but it can spell words upside-down like “Boo”! Most things have a primary purpose.
How Can You Believe Unless You Are Told?
When you tell someone something or write it down for them to read, it has the purpose of making the person you are telling believe something. Think about it… When you say “look out!” to someone you are trying to get them to believe there is something that they need to watch out for. If they don’t believe you, they might get doinked in the head. When you tell someone “I love you” you are trying to get them to believe that you feel a certain way about them and will act a certain way towards them. When you tell someone “we will meet at noon for lunch at Timmies” you are trying to get them to believe that you will show up to have lunch with them at a certain time and place.
In all of these cases, if you never tell anyone these things, how are they supposed to believe the things you tell them? You would have many lonely lunches without telling the people you want to eat with you will meet for lunch. You cannot believe something unless you are told.
Communicating information is so people will believe in something. For example, hot water freezes faster than cold water. This is known as the Mpemba effect. Tree rings get wider during wet years. High heeled shoes were originally worn by men. Competitive art used to be in the Olympics. Our queen has trained as a mechanic. Did you know some of these things? Do you believe some of these things now that I have told you? I only believe these things because I looked at some of these things up and read what someone else has said. I have no reason to doubt them, so I believe them. We do this all the time with the information we have all around us.
Do you believe that China exists? Have you ever been there? I haven’t been, but I trust it is there based on what various people have said, and written, about it.
How about Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus existed? Do you believe that Jesus died? Do you believe that Jesus came back to life? Do you believe that Jesus performed miraculous things? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who prophets foretold? Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins? Why do you believe these things (or not believe these things)?
In order to believe these things about Jesus, you would have to be told, or better yet, shown. If some people were shown, and they told you, that would seem trustworthy enough too, right? Paul writes ‘how can they believe in one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them” (Rom. 10:14).
Our Gospel reading this morning from the Gospel of John is John, who witnesses these events with Jesus and wrote them down to tell us about Him. After telling us about the risen Jesus coming into a locked room and Thomas coming to believe by sticking his hand in Jesus’ hands and side, John says that Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples that aren’t written down. John tells us that these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. (John 12:31).
The purpose of this entire book is so that you, the reader, us! may believe!
Believing in Jesus doesn’t end there. It is not just knowledge you believe that doesn’t affect anything. John says these things are written so we may believe and by believing we may have life in His name!
How Do You Live Your Belief?
You have life because of Jesus who has been preached to you! You have life because God has sent His Word into the world so that we may believe in Him and rise back to life after we die. We have forgiveness and we trust in the ways He tells us He forgives us in the absolution, baptism, and supper.
How do you live your beliefs? If you believe that hot water freezes faster than cold, and you want to make some ice cubes quick, are you going to fill the tray with cold water or hot?
You live your belief! You meet that person for lunch you’ve arranged to eat with, you duck your head when someone says “look out!” You buy a plane ticket to China (if it’s safe). You come back to the places God forgives your sins – because you believe when God tells you that you have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and you believe Him when He tells you He forgives all your sins in the sacraments (John 20:22-23; 1 Peter 3:21; Matt. 26:28).
You live with a constant, underlying, peace knowing that because Jesus lives you will too! (John 14:19). You will live after death. You know that persecutions and hardships will come in this world, you can expect them, but we can take heart that Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). You live with humility knowing that we are all sinners, and yet, Christ died to forgive all people. You live with the command to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing and teaching them all that we have been taught about Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20). You live your belief loving God and loving your neighbour.
What is our mission? What are we doing as a church? Why do we keep coming to services online, and why will we go back to gathering together in person after? Why do we have Bible studies, confirmation classes, devotions, men’s breakfast, Christian moms, GriefShare and all the others? Why do we have a new LED sign, a tea and bazaar, a church building to meet in, VBS’s and all the rest? Why do we have a pastor and his family we support?
We do all of this because we believe in something we have been told. We believe the things that have been written. We believe God. We believe the solid evidence for Jesus. We believe the evidence for Jesus’ death and resurrection. We believe by God’s undeserved gift to us of faith and the Holy Spirit He has sent to us through His Word and baptism.
We continue to know, show, and grow in the love of Jesus, we do all that we do as a church because we believe that these things are written that everyone may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that by believing all people may have life in His name. We live in the reality of the resurrection. He is Risen! R: He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!