April 7, 2013 - The Second Sunday of Easter

Today's Reading: John 20:19-31

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 20:1-24; Luke 4:1-15

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:29-31, ESV)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! In the name of Jesus. Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." That does not mean, "I will bless you if you will believe." That means, "If you believe, you must have been blessed by God, because if He weren't giving you faith, you would never believe without seeing."

So why does John write his Gospel? Why does the entire Bible exist? So you can believe even though you have never seen Jesus.

Is the Bible full of fact or fiction? Well, it tells you the truth. You can believe it. So I suppose most Christians would say it's a fact book. But it's much more than a fact book. It' s a faith book.

An encyclopedia is a fact book. So is your math textbook. So is an atlas. (An atlas is a book of maps us old-timers consulted before GPS and GoogleEarth existed). People take fact books off the shelf when they need information. Then they put the books back on the shelf.

The Bible isn't just intended to fill your brain with facts. It is intended to fill your life with faith — faith to believe that Jesus is the Christ, faith you need to live each day. So don't just take your Bible off the shelf when you need information. Read it daily. Listen to your risen Lord speaking in it. Listen to Him speak the peace you need in the midst of this chaotic life--like He spoke peace to His followers on Easter evening.

Turmoil roils around those followers — as it often does in our lives. The women say they saw Jesus. But maybe they just saw the ghost of Jesus. So maybe His spirit is alive but not His body. Thomas knows a resurrection requires a body. A resurrection is when you can put your finger in the holes where the nails were. A resurrection is when it's possible to touch a living body. They need a resurrected Jesus.

So do we. The Bible assures you that the Jesus who brings peace to your chaotic life has a resurrected spirit and body . He has flesh like yours, flesh that was crucified for you, flesh that once was dead but now is alive, living flesh that He gives to you in His Holy Supper.

No, you haven't seen Him. But the Holy Spirit grants you faith to believe anyway — faith to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And by believing you have life in His name. That' s why He gives you the Bible, the Bible that assures you: Christ is risen!

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.