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Summary: In our passage Jesus passes out some wonderful Easter Gifts - 1. Peace 2. Assurance 3. Commission 4. Holy Spirit 5. Ability to Heal and Forgive

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Scripture: John 20:19-29 (cf. 19-23); 1 Peter 1:3-9 and Call to Worship (Psalm 16)

Theme: Jesus' Easter Gifts

In our passage Jesus passes out some wonderful Easter Gifts - 1. Peace 2. Assurance 3. Commission 4. Holy Spirit 5. Ability to Heal and Forgive

INTRO:

Grace and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!

The other day I was looking on the Hallmark's website and was wondering if there was a great variety of Easter gifts available for people to buy. We all know that it is normal for people all over the world to give a gift during the Christmas season and so I was wondering if there was a real appetite for giving gifts during the Easter Season. I was amazed at the number of things that they promote and that you can buy for yourself or for a loved one. For example:

+For $ 14.95 you can buy a "My Friend Jesus" stuffed doll which stands 13 inches high

+for 39.95 you can buy a "Faith themed Easter basket gift set"

+For 19.95 you can buy "The Light of Easter" book that lights up as you turn each page

+And for 14.95 you can buy a "St. Francis Figurine" doll that is about 5 inches high

I know what you are thinking - we don't buy gifts for each other during the Easter season - that is only for Advent/Christmas. And for the most part outside of a basket of goodies for the little ones or an occasional lily for a senior adult the fact is - we just don't buy a lot of gifts for other people during the Easter Season. It is not a part of our culture.

But perhaps we should. Now, we don't need to get caught up in all the stress that surrounds the Christmas season but I think it would be good for us to share a gift or two around the greatest event in Creation's History - The Resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. After all, as we read our passage this morning we see that Jesus gave His followers a whole pile of gifts that Easter day for us to enjoy until the day of His Second Coming.

What Easter Gifts you say? I am so glad you asked. This morning, let's take a moments and look at some of those gifts:

I. First of all, we see that Jesus graciously gives Us the Gift of His Peace

Three times in our passage we see that Jesus graciously gives the gift of peace ( v. 19, 21 and 26). This giving of the "peace" was more than merely the giving of the normal everyday Middle eastern greeting. It meant far more than merely "May you be saved from trouble." Jesus' followers were overcome with terror. They witnessed the hatred that had been spilled out on Jesus by the Romans and Temple authorities. They also knew that that same hatred could very well be spilled out upon all of them now that Jesus was gone.

I am sure each time some sound was heard outside those doors they all wondered if the Roman or Temple soldiers were coming to arrest them. I am sure they were terrified that at any moment they might find themselves being rounded up and subsequently nailed to their own cross.

If you take a moment you can see them all huddled in a room doing their best to be as quiet as possible. In hushed tones they are trying to figure out how they can get out of Jerusalem as quietly and safely as possible. The farther they can get away from the Romans and the Temple authorities the safer they will all feel. It's time to go home and see what they should do with the rest of their lives. No doubt, James and John were already making plans on how they would get back into the fishing business. Perhaps Matthew was already thinking how he could get back his job as a tax collector.


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