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Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Acts 9:1-19 - link to NRSV text
John 21:1-14 - link to NRSV text

In last week's gospel, a doubter made contact with the Body of Christ and found his Lord.  In this week's epistle, a persecutor is touched by the Body of Christ and becomes an apostle.  And in this Sunday's gospel ... you're not gonna believe this ...

Jesus has breakfast with his disciples.

I think this is worth emphasizing.

I'm serious.  I'm serious because I think this Sunday's gospel is a serious challenge to how a lot of Christians talk about Jesus.

I can imagine that a lot of Jesus' earliest followers -- the ones in Galilee who left their homes and villages and nets, and in some cases their parents or spouses, to follow Jesus -- might have done so in part out of a conviction that because Jesus was The One, the Messiah, he would at some point knock off this whole blessed-are-the-meek thing and emerge from a phone booth with a big red 'M' on the chest of his spandex suit (thanks to Scott Bartchy for the image) to do what The One was expected to do, namely kick the enemy's butt and put the good guys in power.

The cross was a huge blow to these people.  But I can imagine that some, hearing that Jesus had been raised from the dead, would think that the moment had come for Jesus' true nature to be revealed to the world, that the moment had arrived for Jesus to act like The One -- meaning, of course, that the time had come for him to take names and kick butt.  I think that this Sunday's gospel was meant in part to take on people with expectations like that.  In this Sunday's gospel, Jesus DOES show his true nature.  Jesus does precisely what The One is supposed to do, what is needed for God's kingdom to come and God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  And it's breaking bread, not kicking butt.

Sometimes we Christians still talk about Jesus as if he were going to be undergoing a personality transplant at some point in the future.  Sure, up until his death on the cross Jesus acted as a friend to tax collectors and sinners, and he broke bread and told stories and healed.  But in the Second Coming, it's going to be a very different scene; that's when we'll see his real nature, his real strength.

But there was a second coming of Jesus.  We call it Easter.  According to today's gospel, in Jesus' second coming, he behaved pretty much as he did the first time around.  He invited people to breakfast.  He fed them.

Why do we still talk about Jesus as if he's going to become The Christinator next time around?  Jesus said he'd be there wherever two or three gathered in his name, and he's been true to his word.  Every time that a couple or more of us have gotten together over the last couple of millennia, Jesus has come again.  We've got to be at least at the Trillionth Coming by now.  I've only witnessed a few thousand of those occasions in which the risen Jesus has come again, but it's enough to convince me that Jesus' personality and mission have stayed pretty much the same.  When Jesus shows up, it's to teach and heal and reconcile, and to enjoy a good meal.  I believe that the one who is Alpha and Omega is going to have the same mission in the end that he's been carrying out since the beginning, and that's to reconcile us to one another and with God.  What else could we think -- would Christ's mission in the Second or the Third or the Twenty-Nine Trillionth Coming be any different from the mission of Christ's Body?

I've heard many a sermon talking about the wonders of the apostolic age and speculating on how wonderful it would be to see those wonders again.  I've heard quite a few talking about what Jesus is going to do when next he comes.  But I think in many of the nostalgic or apocalyptic stories we tell about how Jesus worked in the past or will work in the future, we're forgetting the greatest of Jesus' miracles and slighting his miraculous work among us in the present.  Jesus brought humanity together to break bread, to enjoy God's gifts with anyone who would hear the invitation to the feast. We may not realize how blind we are until we find scales falling from our eyes.  We may not realize how hungry we are until we've decided to sit down with Jesus and the motley crowd he gathers.  But there's always enough healing power -- and enough home cooking -- to go around.  Soup's on!

Thanks be to God!

April 19, 2004 in Acts, Easter, John, Year C | Permalink

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Dylan's lectionary blog: Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

« Second Sunday of Easter, Year C | Main | Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C »

Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

Acts 9:1-19 - link to NRSV text
John 21:1-14 - link to NRSV text

In last week's gospel, a doubter made contact with the Body of Christ and found his Lord.  In this week's epistle, a persecutor is touched by the Body of Christ and becomes an apostle.  And in this Sunday's gospel ... you're not gonna believe this ...

Jesus has breakfast with his disciples.

I think this is worth emphasizing.

I'm serious.  I'm serious because I think this Sunday's gospel is a serious challenge to how a lot of Christians talk about Jesus.

I can imagine that a lot of Jesus' earliest followers -- the ones in Galilee who left their homes and villages and nets, and in some cases their parents or spouses, to follow Jesus -- might have done so in part out of a conviction that because Jesus was The One, the Messiah, he would at some point knock off this whole blessed-are-the-meek thing and emerge from a phone booth with a big red 'M' on the chest of his spandex suit (thanks to Scott Bartchy for the image) to do what The One was expected to do, namely kick the enemy's butt and put the good guys in power.

The cross was a huge blow to these people.  But I can imagine that some, hearing that Jesus had been raised from the dead, would think that the moment had come for Jesus' true nature to be revealed to the world, that the moment had arrived for Jesus to act like The One -- meaning, of course, that the time had come for him to take names and kick butt.  I think that this Sunday's gospel was meant in part to take on people with expectations like that.  In this Sunday's gospel, Jesus DOES show his true nature.  Jesus does precisely what The One is supposed to do, what is needed for God's kingdom to come and God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  And it's breaking bread, not kicking butt.

Sometimes we Christians still talk about Jesus as if he were going to be undergoing a personality transplant at some point in the future.  Sure, up until his death on the cross Jesus acted as a friend to tax collectors and sinners, and he broke bread and told stories and healed.  But in the Second Coming, it's going to be a very different scene; that's when we'll see his real nature, his real strength.

But there was a second coming of Jesus.  We call it Easter.  According to today's gospel, in Jesus' second coming, he behaved pretty much as he did the first time around.  He invited people to breakfast.  He fed them.

Why do we still talk about Jesus as if he's going to become The Christinator next time around?  Jesus said he'd be there wherever two or three gathered in his name, and he's been true to his word.  Every time that a couple or more of us have gotten together over the last couple of millennia, Jesus has come again.  We've got to be at least at the Trillionth Coming by now.  I've only witnessed a few thousand of those occasions in which the risen Jesus has come again, but it's enough to convince me that Jesus' personality and mission have stayed pretty much the same.  When Jesus shows up, it's to teach and heal and reconcile, and to enjoy a good meal.  I believe that the one who is Alpha and Omega is going to have the same mission in the end that he's been carrying out since the beginning, and that's to reconcile us to one another and with God.  What else could we think -- would Christ's mission in the Second or the Third or the Twenty-Nine Trillionth Coming be any different from the mission of Christ's Body?

I've heard many a sermon talking about the wonders of the apostolic age and speculating on how wonderful it would be to see those wonders again.  I've heard quite a few talking about what Jesus is going to do when next he comes.  But I think in many of the nostalgic or apocalyptic stories we tell about how Jesus worked in the past or will work in the future, we're forgetting the greatest of Jesus' miracles and slighting his miraculous work among us in the present.  Jesus brought humanity together to break bread, to enjoy God's gifts with anyone who would hear the invitation to the feast. We may not realize how blind we are until we find scales falling from our eyes.  We may not realize how hungry we are until we've decided to sit down with Jesus and the motley crowd he gathers.  But there's always enough healing power -- and enough home cooking -- to go around.  Soup's on!

Thanks be to God!

April 19, 2004 in Acts, Easter, John, Year C | Permalink

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.