A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-35)
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
> [This is considered “Low Sunday” liturgically.]
> Many of the portraits in Acts are idealized and may not be totally accurate.
> Capitalism by definition does not follow Christian teachings.
> “There was not a needy person” reference can also be found in Deuteronomy (15:4).
> This ties in with the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.
1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
when brethren live together in unity!
2 It is like fine oil upon the head *
that runs down upon the beard,
3 Upon the beard of Aaron, *
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
4 It is like the dew of Hermon *
that falls upon the hills of Zion.
5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *
life for evermore.
> This is the 14th of the 15 songs of ascent.
> This Psalm may have given rise indirectly to monasteries as we know them today.
> These verses were written in a type of poetic format.
A Reading from the First Letter of John (1:1-2:2)
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
> This book was written most likely in the first or second century after the death of Christ.
> There may also be connection with the Book of Revelation — not sure.
> The author of this book is unknown. 2 John and 3 John identify their writer.
> The emphasis is on Jesus coming in the flesh.
> The mention of “beginning” refers to the beginning of Jesus and not the beginning of the world.
> Another name for advocate is Paraclete, who is someone who stands up for you in a trial.
> Eternal life may reference now… quantitative vs. qualitative.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (20:19-31)
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger . here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
> These events are taking place on the eve of Easter Day.
> The followers are concerned for the Jewish authorities who put Jesus to death… they may be next!
> Cannot tell exactly how many disciples were present.
> This highlights the gift of the Spirit for John – not fifty days later as in Luke.
> There is a connection with Genesis (2:7): breathed on him — a new creation.
> In Luke, the Spirit is there from the beginning; for John, it there after Jesus dies and is resurrected.
> Only in John is it mentioned that Jesus is nailed to the cross.
> John is the only one that mentions that Jesus’ side was pierced.
> Blessed are those who believe and have not seen — this was probably the original ending.
> Chapter 21 was added later.