Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Monday, April 1, 2024

Bible Study for April 7, 2024

Hi everyone,

We enter this week full of joy and shouting "Alleluia" from our Easter celebration.  As we move through beyond Easter, we will experience the wounds of a suffering humanity.  They are signs of our sin,  But Sunday after Sunday, through word and sacrament, we encounter Jesus Christ, and we discover that he shares our wounds.

He is risen, but the wounds of his crucifixion have not disappeared.  These signs of God sharing our need and death have become the source of the Holy Spirit giving life, of forgiveness proclaimed to us and by us to others, and of peace in our shared community.


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Pastor Tim

"God has led you to the desert, and spoken to your Heart."
Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
3546 E. Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018
602-956-1620 office

Bible Study for April 7, 2024      

Opening Prayer:

Creator of all, we thank you for the opportunity to gather in study. Open our minds and hearts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, unite us in faith, hope, and love. Help us to be faithful to the gospel and to walk humbly with you. Grant us your peace as we grow in wisdom and understanding. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

John 20:19-31 How do we usually understand the word sin? How do you personally understand the difference between sins as moral transgressions and sin as unbelief? 

On Sunday evening, many of Jesus’ followers (not just the twelve disciples) were meeting behind locked doors for fear of the authorities. Jesus appeared among them and offered them peace – fulfilling the promise he had made in 14:27. When he showed them his wounds, they joyfully recognized the risen Christ – fulfilling yet another promise. Once they recognized him, Jesus again offered them peace; now that they recognize him, they can receive it. 

Then he commissioned them to continue the work God had sent him to do: “As God has sent me, so I send you.” He “breathed” the Spirit into them to empower them to continue his work. Breathed reminds us of God breathing life into the first human being in Genesis. It reminds us that this is a new creation, that those who believe receive new life sustained by the Spirit. For John, the Resurrection directly and immediately resulted in the formation of the Spirit-filled community. Jesus commissioned the entire faith community – not just its leaders -- to forgive or retain sins. Forgiveness of sins is Spirit-empowered, an extension of the work of Jesus himself. Usually, we understand the word sins to mean specific acts of wrongdoing. This view may be what leads the church to believe that it should judge, punish, penalize or ostracize others from the community of faith. In John, however, Jesus says that sin has to do with our relationship with God, not our particular behavioral transgressions. Sin is a failure to believe in God; a failure to witness to our belief in God. To retain sin means to remain blind to the revelation of God in Jesus. Thus, neither individuals nor the church are arbiters of right and wrong. Further, in John, to forgive sin means to witness to God’s identity as seen in Jesus. 

The witnessing brings the other to a moment of either belief (forgiveness) or unbelief (self judgment and alienation from God). If we combine Jesus’ command in John – to forgive the sin of others – with his earlier charge to “love one another” (13:34), we begin to see what John means. The church’s mission is to forgive, to witness to, and to love one another as Jesus and God love us. Thomas, who was not present the first time Jesus appeared, said he needed to see and touch the risen Lord in order to believe. Christ forgave Thomas’s unbelief by offering himself, thus witnessing to God. He gave Thomas exactly what he needed, urging him to move from unbelief to belief. 

1 John1:1-2:2   What qualities of Christian fellowship have you seen in people whose spiritual life you admire?

The writer of First John is addressing an internal conflict in the Johannine Christian community early in the second century A.D., at least ten to twenty years after the Gospel of John was written for the same community. Some members had departed from the community’s traditional beliefs about Jesus and had discarded the high ethical standards that accompany those beliefs. In short, they were not practicing love toward one another. 

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