It has been a while since I've done one of these and I can't guarantee that I will manage to do one every week, and I won't be retyping the sermon I heard in church (I can't write fast enough to take it down anyway), just my notes and thoughts.
This morning's sermon started with a story about the shopping channel. Some people watch the shopping channel in preference to other shows and buy almost everything they see. Others prefer to wait and see what their friends and family have to say about the products being advertised.
Our first reading came from John 20:1-18 which says :-
The Empty Tomb
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
The apostle Peter was impetuous and would follow the Lord anywhere without question. John was a people person and was always willing to see to their needs.
When Mary came back with the story that the Lord's body was missing most of the people were not ready to believe her but John and Peter ran to the grave to see for themselves. John realised that the body had not actually been removed but that Jesus had risen just as He said He would.
Our second reading was from Acts 10:34-43 which says :-
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While John left the grave believing Peter left in bewilderment. When Peter later met with Jesus he came to understand what had happened.
God accepts anyone from any nation. It doesn't matter where you a from so long as you believe in Jesus you will be accepted by God.
Ads on the shopping channel work because people tend to believe the testimonies of others. Some people will come to believe in God if we give them our testimonies.
I guess the challenge this week is to find people that need God in their lives and give them our testimonies, which is something I've always had difficulty with since I never know where to start and I seem to always start in the wrong place.
May God bless you richly this week.