Keyword Search




  • Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company
    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company


    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A

Perhaps the most usable theme that is present in all of these texts selected for us for the Sixth Sunday of Easter in Series A is expressed in Psalm 66:16: “Come and hear, and I will tell you what God has done for me!” There is personal testimony in each of these texts, and there should be personal testimony in the message that we proclaim on Easter 6.

Psalm 66:8-20
Psalm 66 is an excellent example of an individual Hymn of Praise. It illustrates the essential elements of worship among the ancient Israelites, and we can readily see that our worship of God as Christians does not differ greatly from the elements of worship depicted here. Since Psalm 66:8-20 serves so well as individual preparation for worship, it could be sung by a choir or soloist at the conclusion of the organ prelude.

The Newer Testament selections for this occasion provide a strong personal testimony of the message of the resurrection of Jesus within history, as an event from the past that has great significance for the present and for the future. More than anything else, this is what is distinctive about Christianity compared to Judaism and Islam, two religions in which resurrection is also anticipated, but primarily at the end of this world of time and space, on the “judgment day.” The selections from Acts, 1 Peter, and John come to us from different segments of the developing Church from approximately the same time period, around 85-95 CE. In these Newer Testament texts, we have good indications of what the resurrection of Jesus meant to various individuals and groups of followers of Jesus near the end of the first century. Perhaps we will want to incorporate something from each text into our proclamation of the Easter message this weekend as we share our personal testimony of the resurrection of Jesus.

Acts 17:22-31
Perhaps in every congregation there are some persons who, like the Athenians represented in this text, perceive that God is basically “unknown.” In a style reminiscent of classical Greek oratory, the Lukan playwright has Paul address such people skillfully, beginning by meeting them where they are and proclaiming God as known through Jesus, a man chosen by God, raised from the dead, and assigned the responsibility of evaluating the entire inhabited world for God. In these few verses, therefore, the inspired Lukan writer encapsulated what must have been an important aspect of early Christian mission, the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus to intelligent, critically thinking Greeks apart from the context of the Jewish synagogues. By means of the literary drama that we have in Acts 17:16-34, the Lukan writer provided for us a thumbnail sketch of that aspect of the mission.

Even though our own proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus to people today who are similar in their thinking to the Athenians depicted in this text may be as lacking in outward evidence of success as was the proclamation of the Lukan writer’s Paul in Athens, this kind of proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus remains vitally important. Since Acts 17:22-31 addresses this important aspect of Christian mission more directly than any other Newer Testament text, we should share our personal testimony of the resurrection of Jesus to the “Athenians” where we are this coming weekend. To the people today who are similar to the Athenians depicted in Acts 17, we should admit that from the standpoint of reason God is basically unknowable and unknown to us, but that we “know” God through faith, more specifically here by faith in God as the Risen Christ. To put this in another way, God is known through Jesus in a unique way. We “know” God not by irrefutable reason, but through God-given faith by which we feel God’s presence and God’s actions in our lives. The person of Jesus chosen by God, raised from the dead, and assigned the responsibility of evaluating the entire inhabited world is central in the Christian proclamation.

1 Peter 3:13-22
The reading actually should begin with 1 Peter 3:8. There are five important issues in this text. First, there is the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the Christ (3:18). Second, there is the proclamation of where Jesus as the Christ is now, in heaven, “at the right hand of God” (3:22). Third, there is the proclamation that after Jesus had been raised from the dead he spoke to the spirits of those who had been destroyed at the time of Noah (3:19-20). Fourth, there is the somewhat obscure analogy between salvation on Noah’s Ark and salvation now through Baptism in the name of Jesus as the Christ raised from the dead (3:21). Finally, there is the insight into the effectiveness of suffering, if necessary, as those being addressed are revering Jesus raised from the dead as Lord rather than Caesar as their Lord (3:8-17). Obviously, there is much in this text for us to proclaim.

John 14:15-21
This selection is certainly one of the most beautiful and most meaningful portions of the basic John 14 “farewell discourse” of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. Especially beautiful and meaningful is 14:19c, “Because I live, you too shall live!” Those who hear this message and respond to it will not be left as orphans. Instead, the Spirit of Truth, who is another Paraclete like Jesus, will be with them forever in order to provide for them whatever they may need. In 1 Peter 3:8-22 and in John 14:15-21 God and the People of God are said to be mutual advocates of each other. We are called to proclaim this on the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Leave a Reply

  • Start
    Thriving!
    From Surviving to Thriving: A Practical Guide to Revitalize Your Church



     
    SermonSuite
    Dean Feldmeyer
    Living as One
    Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11

    Rarely does a group of people spontaneously come together as a cohesive unit. Cohesion is something that takes hard work, a shared vision and purpose, lots of practice, and a whole heap of prayer. Even with all that, sometimes it doesn’t happen. When it does, however, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of power that comes with the knowledge that you are part of something that is bigger, and more real, than you could ever be by yourself.
         Some people experience it in sports. One example is in baseball when the ball comes to the shortstop, and without thinking he snags it and throws to the second baseman, who throws on to first for a perfectly executed double play. Or when a guard is leading a fast break down the basketball court and goes up for a layup, but instead of shooting drops the ball off, without even looking, exactly where he knows his teammate is going to be.
         Some experience it in the arts, like when an ensemble of musicians or singers hits that perfect chord that sends chills up the spine or when a group of actors performs a scene so well that they can sense the electric tension running through the audience.
         And sometimes we experience it in church, in the singing of hymns or in the pursuit of a mission project or in the easy camaraderie around a table during a pot-luck dinner. However we experience this gift of group cohesion, this wonderful sense of corporateness, it is not given to us for its own sake or because it makes us feel special. It is given to us so that we might have power to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves and so we can effectively spread the good news of God’s grace as it comes to us in Jesus Christ....more
    Surprises
    You hope for good surprises, but many of life's surprises are the bad kind. The new Christians Peter writes to have been surprised by facing persecution for their faith. Verse 1, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." Jews, especially Jews who lived outside of Palestine, were used to being treated as different and sometimes were despised for their faith. Yet, these Christians Peter writes to are Gentiles and so they're shocked. They became Christians just in time to be persecuted. Then Peter breaks the news that persecution is ordinary for Christians. Jesus said that if they persecuted him, they'll persecute his followers....more
    David Coffin
    After the big event
    It is about one year after the big 150th anniversary at First Church. Pastor Amy arrived just in time for the celebration event. It is evening as she arrives early for the church council meeting in R.R. Cucklemeier Hall. She still sees coffee cups, a t-shirt hanging up in the glass display, as well as limited edition dinner plates with a “150th Anniversary of First Church” logo on them. A year ago when she was called to be the pastor, she never promised to bring back the good old days of R.R. Cucklemeier, only that she and the congregation would work and struggle together to discover a new future. However, certain newly elected church leaders who had taken a year off church had these implicit expectations....more
    C. David McKirachan
    Intimacy
    John 17:1-11
    On so many levels, my father has been my model for ministry and, come to think of it, for living.  Now let’s not forget that without my mother, the great communicator and manipulator, he would have never become the model for anything.  His absence allowed the space to be colored in with glowing shades of power and compassion.  But truth be told, he spent more time at work than he did at home, and though he came home almost every evening for dinner, he worked in the yard, season and weather not factors that seemed important, sat at the head of the table, protected by awe and assumed importance of his authority (which he rarely demonstrated), and retired to the wing chair in the living room (if he didn’t have a meeting), smoked his pipe beside the fire and read, listening to the Victrola scratch out Bach or Beethoven.   As a result I had to get to know my father over years of following him around and watching and listening....more
    Janice Scott
    Anything can happen
    It's always interesting to ask children whether they have any idea of what they will do with their lives. Some are very sure and answer immediately, saying that they will become a nurse or a doctor or a teacher or whatever they have set their heart on. Others have absolutely no idea....more
    Mary Kay Eichelman
    Stickers Anyone?
    Object: Stickers put all over a child

    What do you think of  ______________(child with stickers all over them)? Don't you think he is a little sticker happy?  We often get stickers if we've gotten a good grade or done something really well. But do you think a child should get a sticker for just being quiet?...more

Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen

Archives