Bible Study: 7 Easter (C)

May 12, 2013

Steven King, Virginia Theological Seminary

“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23)

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21; John 17:20-26

Acts 16:16-34

Immediately upon reading this story from the book of Acts, I am struck by the language of the apostles in this story. The apostles encounter a woman who is in a sort of trance-like state and speak to the spirit that is in her, commanding it to come out of her. They are then accused of upsetting Roman society and customs and disturbing the city. This sounds a lot like Jesus’ ministry, doesn’t it? Those who have been commissioned by Christ to go out and make disciples are now taking on the very things Jesus did – even speaking to spirits! We, too, as followers of Christ are given the commission to follow Christ and spread the Good News to the world. We may not be able to speak to spirits, but we certainly have our own gifts that can help draw others to God.

What are your spiritual gifts? How can you use them to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?

What are the things that enhance and hinder you in doing this?

Psalm 97

This psalm is full of grand and spectacular language for God. “His lightnings light up the world. … The mountains melt like wax before the Lord” (v. 4-5). These incredible images for God and God’s power are awe inspiring. They are hard to even imagine. And yet, the most incredible aspect of all of these images is that God still knows each of us individually and loves us. Yes, God is all powerful and ruler of both heaven and earth, even mountains fall down before the Lord. And, also, God knows us personally and loves us incomprehensibly. Let us all rejoice in this love!

How do you experience both the power and the love of God?

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

The book of Revelation was addressed to seven churches throughout Asia Minor as they faced persecution for their faith. It can be read as encouragement in the faith and to rest in the Lord, who is both the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. Verse 17 reads, “Let everyone who is thirsty come.”

This is the last Sunday of Easter, and as we move into the season of Pentecost, let us remember that Christ has defeated death and raised us to new life with him. My prayer is that in the season of Pentecost, even when it becomes difficult in the face of evil and suffering, I will draw on the power of the Risen Lord to not only know more fully the source of the Living Water but also to draw all who are thirsty to that source.

What practices or prayers sustain you in your faith journey?

What do you hold onto in the face of evil and/or suffering that helps you remember the power of the Resurrected Christ?

John 17:20-26

There are many striking portions of this passage. First, Jesus prays to the Father on behalf of the disciples. And not only that, Jesus prays that those who believe in him may be one. In this prayer, Jesus asks that we all be one in order that the world might know him and know that God loves them. This is a powerful call. It seems like a daunting task to unify all to God, but the fact of the matter is that we can all work toward this. We do this work because in Christ, God has first loved us, and in drawing all to each other and God we can further show that love to a world in need of it.

What work can we do to unite us all to each other and God?

How can this unifying work show God’s love to the world?

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