2nd Sunday of Easter [by Samuel Chiu]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Ex 14:10-end,15:20-21
Acts 4:32-35
2nd Reading
Acts 4:32-35
1 Joh 5:1-6
John 20:19-end
by Samuel Chiu, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Vancouver, Canada


Exodus 14:10-31
  1. This famous scene of the Lord God rescuing the Israelites from the chasing Egyptian army by parting the Red Sea is a vivid example of the powerful presence of the Lord God with his people.
  2. This is the Lord God who is the Creator of all things, and whose powers are over and beyond all seemingly intimidating natural and human forces.
  3. God’s presence is not passive but active: saving, guiding, protecting
John 20:19-23
  1. The resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples in hiding and waiting.
  2. After the surprising greetings, with “Shalom” and showing his hands and side (the evident of his crucifixion), he commissioned them by saying “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
    • There is a very significant echo at the beginning of the same Gospel: the way of God sending His only begotten Son and the consequences
      • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
      • “…made his dwelling among us…” (NIV) is literally “pitching his tent among us. This graphic depiction is translated in modern terms by Eugene Peterson: “…moved into the neighbourhood…” (The Message)
      • The “glory” and the “pitching his tent” are the various ways in the OT describing God’s presence with his people.
  1. There is also an apparently perplexing gesture of “breathing on” the disciples by the resurrected Jesus. In fact, it is a powerful reminder of Genesis 2 in which the Lord God installed his priestly representative in his Temple (installing Adam in the garden to work it and take care of it) – now it is not just one person to take care, but all Christ’s disciples.


Preaching Points / Outline
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, causing tremendous anxiety among millions.
  • Simultaneously, the environmental calamity is shown in severe tropical storms, wildfires, droughts, floods, and scenes of demise of wildlife and suffering of human communities, all adding to the despair. God seems to be far away, indifferent, uncaring, or even worse, being the one who is causing all this great suffering.
  • The Bible has a completely different picture: God is here, among us, particularly in times of despair and great need. In the experience of the Israelites being rescued by the Lord God, He clearly demonstrated that He is the Lord of all, the One who is beyond all the seemingly intimidating powers of nature or tyrannical human empires. (Exodus 14)
  • The Israelites, having experienced this dramatic rescue and powerful presence of God, were supposed to become gradually the SIGN of the presence of this Lord God in the world: all nations would recognize the presence and reign of this powerful and merciful God through the faithful and truthful living of the Israelites.
  • The vision and calling of God’s people as that SIGN has never been lost, despite the failure of the Israelites to be faithful to the covenant.
  • The NT has a powerful scene to demonstrate this: John 20:21-23. The resurrected Jesus appeared in front of his fearful yet somewhat anticipating bunch of disciples. He said to them: “As my Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
  • Jesus was essentially saying that “I am sending you all now in a similar fashion to how God the Father has sent me.” How was Jesus being sent? In what way or fashion?
  • We find the answer in an important echo at the beginning of the same Gospel, in John 1:14. Jesus the Word was sent to dwell among us, within the world, “pitching his tent in our neighbourhoods.” And that is the glorious presence of the Son with us, full of grace and truth.
  • According to Jesus, his followers, meaning all Christians, are sent to be his presence in the world with grace and truth, just like he became His Father’s presence in the world.
  • How would such an active grace-and-truth-filled presence look like in our world today then? With a reference to the gardener scene in Genesis 2, also echoed in this passage, it could include, but certainly not be limited to, the following:
    • in local community gardens, advocating food security and climate resilience
    • in corporate boardrooms, discerning for decarbonized financing
    • in planting trees or restoring wetlands
    • in engineering labs, testing new generation energy-saving technology
    • in welcoming those fleeing their homelands because of climate and environmental disasters, providing aid or welcoming them into our homes
  • May the Lord bless and empower us to be his “faithful presence” in the world.


by Samuel Chiu, Vancouver, Canada