7. Jesus appears by the Sea of Tiberias – artwork presented by Phill Hopkins for #easterjourneys

John 21: 1-14

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them,“Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”  He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciplewhom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14  This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

 

 

Find out about Phill Hopkins the artist here: http://www.phill-hopkins.co.uk/

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6. Jesus Strengthens the Faith of Thomas – reflection presented by @ichurchorg for #easterjourneys

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the middle, and said, “Peace be to you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.”Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.”John 20.24-29 World English Bible version
worried man image courtesy of pkavithal on sxc.hu
despairing man image courtesy of leroys on sxc.hu
generic Jesus figure image courtesy of alexlobo on sxc.hu
scared man image courtesy of filipes on sxc.hu
They called him ‘Doubting Thomas’ because he asked for proof. As if faith is the easiest thing in the world. As if nobody has ever imagined they’ve seen the dead restored to life. As if it was likely that Jesus was alive.Being told by other people that Jesus was back from the dead isn’t good enough. Thomas knows himself, he knows he won’t believe until he sees him.Even seeing him isn’t good enough – Thomas has to feel him, to feel the wounds, before he can believe the man he sees is the man who died on the cross three days before.

Thomas doesn’t want a picture perfect Jesus, carrying on as if nothing has happened.

He wants the Jesus he knows, a human being who has suffered and died and yet somehow – unbelievably, impossibly – has risen again, wounds and all.

Faith can be a struggle.

When we’re surrounded by people who seem completely sure of their faith, it can be embarrassing to admit doubt. We try to force ourselves to believe, to hide our doubts, even from ourselves, even from God.

But God knows our hearts, and knows our doubts, and loves us.

God’s love is not dependent on our belief. It just IS.

ALLELUIA!

ghostly figure image courtesy of tijmen on sxc.hu
wounded hand image copyright
disapproving eye image courtesy of gabetarian on sxc.hu
man with open arms image courtesy of voidx on sxc.hu

by Pam Smith and Caroline Birchmore
Pam is the Priest in Charge of i-church, and Caroline is the Technical Co-ordinator

Be Thou My Vision – Jeff Wooldridge – Courtesy of Godly Christian Music

4. Jesus appears on the road to Emmaus – a song presented by @artsyhonker & @informutation for #easterjourneys

 

Be known to us in breaking bread,
But do not then depart;
Saviour, abide with us, and spread
Thy table in our heart.

There sup with us in love divine;
Thy body and Thy blood,
That living bread, that heav’nly wine,
Be our immortal food.

–James Montgomery (1771-1854)

Music by Mike Bailey.

 

Luke 24:13-34
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called
Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other
about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and
discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes
were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you
discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still,
looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him,
‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things
that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What
things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a
prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how
our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death
and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem
Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these
things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us.
They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find
his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a
vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were
with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but
they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are,
and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!
Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and
then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the
prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the
scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked
ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying,
‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly
over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with
them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then
their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from
their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning
within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening
the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to
Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered
together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has
appeared to Simon!’

2. The finding of the empty tomb – Now the Green Blade Rises performed by @metanoiauk for #easterjourneys

Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”  So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

~ Matthew 28:1-10

 

1. Jesus is raised from the dead – a reflection by @jamesprescott77 for #easterjourneys

Jesus raised from the dead

The day of Jesus resurrection began, in many ways, as an ordinary day. Three women going to the grave of a close friend who had died cruelly and unjustly two days earlier. United in their grief and sorrow, devoid of purpose. They had put all their hopes in this man, and He had been cruelly and ruthlessly taken away from them – seemingly before His time. Jerusalem, they had thought, would be His great triumph.

But it seemed like only defeat. There was no sign of hope. But they could not forget the impact He had on their lives. They went to take care of the body.

However, all was not as it seemed. First, on the way, they were told not to look for the living amongst the dead.

Then even more so, they turned up and found the gravestone rolled away.

Finally though, the big discovery. The body was gone. Jesus was not there.

For Mary though, not even this was going to be the highlight of her day. She met a man – whom she assumed to be a gardener (the first of many similarities between Jesus and the first man of the ‘old’ creation, Adam, alluded to that day). Naturally, as Jesus body was gone, the first instinct was to think someone had taken it away.

Jesus had said He would be raised, but surely He wasn’t actually going to come back physically from death. Was He?

So Mary innocently questions this gardener, and asks Him where Jesus body is.

He replies with one word. Her name.

Jesus calls her name, and instantly she knows who it is. No more words are required. She recognises His voice, the way He calls her name.

What an incredible experience. To have such intimacy with the divine, that they merely need to say your name, and you know. It’s one of those almost unspoken truths, like something you see between two people who know each other initimately – we often see it in married couples – one word, or even one look, is enough. The outside doesn’t even matter, but something deep inside connects.

This, not the physical encounter, is how Mary know Jesus is risen. She had been with Him physically all along, but not recognised Him. But He speaks her name, and suddenly this all changes.

The truth of Jesus impact on our lives and our relationship with Him goes way beyond the physical. People often debate the whole is faith about how you live, about what you do or what you believe.

I think it’s all of those. But most importantly, it’s about who we are on the inside. Because that will show itself externally almost without words, without need for us to broadcast it. It will show itself as fruit, pouring into the lives of others.

This is the intimacy the resurrection encounter reveals.

The resurrection was above all a new beginning.
It showed us that death is not the end, that no matter how black things are, no matter how hopeless things seem, that there is always a reason to hope, always a God who knows us, who is with us, who journeys through it with us – and that new beginnings can be found from the blackest of nights.

It’s a process that goes on, all the time, even now. When my own Mother died, it was a black day, a day when hope seemed lost. But in the time since, God has used it to bless me, to help me grow, and to bring healing and life to others. Even in the midst of that darkness, there has been life.

It is no coincidence the resurrection event happens in a garden too – when God created the world, the fall, the disconnect from God, happened in the garden. It makes perfect sense then for this new beginning, this new creation, to reveal itself in a garden, for Jesus to be mistaken for the gardener. In many ways, He is in a way.

Jesus chooses this deliberately as the place to reveal Himself for the first time, to show that all things are redeemable, that this new creation will not be like the first.

Now, instead of death and disconnection, there is life, hope and joy. Reconciliation and restoration, a new beginning.

Whatever happens now, death is defeated. The biggest battle is won. There is true hope, not mystical, airy fairy kind of hope which relies on sentiment and idealism.

There is hope that exists, that is true, that has foundations, that cannot be shaken.

Resurrection is that hope. Jesus is its foundation.