Year C, Easter 2, 2016 – Authority and Doubt
When I was in fifth grade, my mother began calling me by the two word phrase that I used most often. She would say something like this: “Dinner! Karen, Gary, NoSir – come and get it!” I had reached the developmental landmark where all children turn into lawyers and argue every single statement adults make. My brother, who is two years younger than I, was less confrontational when he got to this phase. Rather than directly challenge the statement “The sky is blue” (which my mother insists to this day I rebutted with “No, sir!”), he would allow for the probability of the argument, and then posit his own – “Yeah, but…..”. I have seen this phenomenon play out with our two children and many other kids in our youth groups. If a child in our fellowship is away for a while and then returns sounding like a cast member of Boston Legal or The Good Wife, I know how old that kid is. It’s amazing! At around nine to ten years of age, children begin testing the limits of authority, theirs and others. In the passages for the second Sunday of Easter, authority is an important topic. Let’s go see.
This Week’s Texts
Acts 5:27-32 [02:25] – This section of Acts 5 records one of Peter’s confrontations with the council who have forbidden Jesus’ disciples from preaching and teaching. Of course, that does not happen and things escalate quickly. The council attempts to quiet Peter and the others by asserting their longstanding authority over them as the leaders of their people. Unfortunately for the council, Peter and the others are living under a different system of authority on the other side of the resurrection and Pentecost.
- Smarts: Eye [04:06], Math [05:06], People [06:32], Self [09:17]
- Acts 5 worksheet
- BASIC computer language program: Copy text below and paste into white box (removing any other text) here, then click “>Run”. Type a number per the instructions and enter.
10 PRINT “To whom do you give authority?
11 PRINT “(1=humans, 2=God)”
20 INPUT AUTHORITY
25 IF AUTHORITY = 1 THEN 80
26 IF AUTHORITY = 2 THEN 30
27 PRINT “NOPE!”: PRINT
28 GOTO 10
30 FOR X=1 TO 3
40 PRINT “Jesus is raised from the dead!”
50 PRINT “Council had him killed.”
55 PRINT “God vindicated him!”
60 PRINT “Jesus is Lord and Messiah!”
70 NEXT X
80 PRINT “GOT THAT RIGHT.”
Revelation 1:4-8 [10:22 ] – In the Old Testament, the power and authority of God was symbolized by clouds. When the Hebrews needed to get across the Red Sea to escape the pursuing Egyptians, God’s power and authority over natural elements of air and water opened a pathway. God descended in a cloud when Moses met with him at the top of Sinai and gave him the law that would be the guiding authority for the people. At the beginning of John’s revelation, he sees Jesus returning with the clouds – God’s authority! – and all the people will see it.
- Smarts: Eye [10:55], Math [11:51], Music [12:57], Nature [13:14], People [15:18], Self [18:05]
- Revelation 1 worksheet
John 20:19-31 [18:42] – In this post resurrection story in John’s gospel, buried in between Jesus’ sudden appearance to the ten and Thomas’ doubt about their tale, are two verses that often get lost in sermons. Verse 22 shows Jesus breathing on the disciples, giving them the Holy Spirit, and the authority to give and withhold forgiveness. One of the many ways Jesus got into hot water with the religious authorities was to over step his boundaries and make himself appear to be not just like God but actually God. When he restored the paralyzed man to wholeness, he first forgave him and then told him to rise and walk. He forgave a woman adultery, and other people for the brokenness in their hearts, minds, and lives. Only God can forgive and Jesus frequently claimed this authority for himself. In verse 23, Jesus gives that authority to his disciples. Wow.
- Smarts: Eye [19:37], Body [22:22], Nature [21:06], People [23:12], Self [27:21]
- John 20 worksheet
- a spectacular photo of a storm cloud
- a long list of hymns using Revelation 1 as a basis
- a clip from Independence Day (:50 and 1:00 mark especially)
- Seeing is Believing
- Jill Duffield’s article in the Presbyterian Outlook may not be up yet at that site, but the link is.. um.. back there at the beginning of this sentence. So you can read it once it is up. To see the quote we referenced in the podcast, please see our John 20 worksheet!
Bonus: Psalm 150 worksheet