The gift of new life, of eternal life, is the gift of the risen Christ. It is the promise of Jesus. It was true for Dorcas in Joppa. It was true for those “who have come out of the great ordeal” in the Revelation vision. It is true for us and for all the baptized: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Readings and Psalm
- Acts 9:36-43
Peter raises Tabitha/Dorcas from the dead
- Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
- Revelation 7:9-17
A white-robed multitude sings before the Lamb
- John 10:22-30
Jesus promises eternal life to his sheep
The Searching Sheep
Messages and information today are texted, tweeted, broadcast, e-mailed, phoned, lectured, announced, packaged, and repackaged. The means and avenues for communication are many. Yet when it comes to the person known as Jesus of Nazareth we are often left standing in the place of the Jewish people who gathered around Jesus at that portico (John 10:22-23). We long to know, Who are you, Jesus? and perhaps want to probe, What are you really about? Of course the qualification is for him to “tell us plainly” (John 10:24). As the church we have grown accustomed to the idea of Jesus seeking out the lost sheep and bringing them safely home—of knowing the sheep intimately by name. Today’s texts are rich in reframing who is searching for whom. Who is seeking after Jesus, and to what does that seeking lead? Still, will we be satisfied with any answer? The faith of Tabitha and the miracle-working Peter, the vision of saints and mythical beasts, and even Jesus’ works point to one who is in and of God. Yet we wonder if it can’t be spelled out for us more clearly. In this season of proclaiming a Christ who breaks the powers of death and whose realm is one of glory, we open ourselves to questions of exactly who this Jesus is—and see answers coming to life in story, miracles, and testimony. Today is an opportunity for us in weakness and glory, in doubt and in faith, in simplicity and awe to seek and embrace the one who is already in our midst.