First Sunday after Easter

SERMON TEXT:  John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.”
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 yet have believed.”
Jesus, in the presence of his disciples, did many other miraculous signs that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Acts 5:12. 17-32

Many signs and wonders were done among the people through the hands of the apostles. With one mind, they all continued meeting in Solomon’s Colonnade. The high priest rose up, along with his associates (that is, the party of the Sadducees), because they were filled with envy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and keep on telling the people the whole message about this life.” After they heard this, they entered the temple courts at daybreak and began to teach. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin (that is, the whole council of elders of the people of Israel). Then they sent orders to the jail to have the apostles brought in. But when the officers arrived, they did not find them in the prison. They returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were puzzled about them, wondering what could have happened. Then someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts and teaching the people.” Then the captain went with the officers and brought the apostles in without force, because they were afraid that the people might stone them. After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin. The high priest asked them, “Did we not give you strict orders not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring this man’s blood down on us!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you arrested and killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his right hand as Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 1:4-18

John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is, who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his own blood and made us a kingdom and priests to God his Father—to him be the glory and the power forever. Amen. Look, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. And all the nations of the earth will mourn because of him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, the one who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty. I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingship and patient endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. I was in spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard a loud voice behind me, like a trumpet, saying, “Write what you see on a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. When I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands, and among the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was clothed with a robe that reached to his feet, and around his chest he wore a gold sash. His head and his hair were white, like white wool or like snow. His eyes were like blazing flames. His feet were like polished bronze being refined in a furnace. His voice was like the roar of many waters. He held seven stars in his right hand. A sharp two-edged sword was coming out of his mouth. His face was shining as the sun shines in all its brightness. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last— the Living One. I was dead and, see, I am alive forever and ever! I also hold the keys of death and hell.”

VERSE OF THE DAY:  –Book– Hymn 154

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GOSPEL: John 20:19-21

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