John 20: 19-31
Having read this passage of John a few times I have always asked the question, why is it Jesus only displays his hands, and side but not include his feet. However, I was being distracted by a small matter which was not as important as the gospel writer had a deeper message, and focus.
Reza Aslan, in his book titled, “The Zealot”, explains that crucifixion was a very popular means of punishment throughout many nations of that time. Crucifixion was used by Persians, Indians, Assyrians, Scythians, Romans, Greeks, and even Jews. We can deduce according to Mr. Aslan that crucifixion was so common that the average person of that era knew exactly the details of a crucifixion. Therefore, many of the gospel writers who were writing to their own people at that time didn’t feel it was necessary to include those details in their gospel accounts. With that said, John the gospel writer wanted us to focus on something else, he wanted us to focus on the issue of “fear”. The gospel writer repeats the themes for us to notice. For example, twice Jesus visited the disciples, and on both occasions, the doors were shut, in one case the door was locked out of fear, (vv. 19 & 26). On the other hand, Jesus said to them three times “Peace be with you” (vv. 19, 21, & 26). On each occasion, Jesus says these words to allay their fears so that they may be able to welcome him into their presence. John the gospel writer also gives his purpose for writing at the end of today’s passage, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (vv. 31). Therefore, John writes for his own community as well as for us the readers today to share this message that in the midst of fear we should have faith. In the midst of uncertainty with CoVid 19, Jesus is calling us to practice being at peace by trusting that he is with us, and to have faith that He will walk with us through it all.
In light of being quarantined, I invite us to be mindful of our mental health which is instrumental in keeping a good faith. Let us try and practice the following:
- In all things observe moderation (time spent on devices, work, etc).
- Arrange each day with varying activities, so that each day there is something to look forward to.
- If you work at home, dress for work and when work ends change back into clothing for the home. As well organise your physical space as much as is possible to separate work area separate from other areas of the home.
- Exercise at least three times for the week. This is proven to aid in the balance of the mind as well it overall good for the body.
- Be mindful and counter observed habits when you feel overwhelmed, fearful, stressed, (e.g. Overeating, overdosing on onscreen entertainment and oversleeping).
- Revisit your hobbies, or research, learn, and engage in a new hobby.
- Play board games with family, learn a new game or even invent your own.
- Engage the arts, that is reading, writing (e.g. journaling, poetry, storytelling),
singing, music, dancing, etc.
- Try not to overdose on the media relating to the negative reports. Once or twice a day is enough to keep you informed.
- Finally, spend quality time reading the words of God and praying.
A Moment in Prayer
O God, the creator and preserver of all, we humbly beseech you for all sorts and conditions of people; that you would be pleased to make your ways known unto them, your saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for your holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by your good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please you to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Contributed by Rev Khan Honeyghan