During the post-Easter period, there is no Old Testament lesson per se, but readings from Acts. In Acts 17 this week, we find Paul in Athens, preaching and teaching. He has intrigued some philosophers who want to hear more about his insights. He's invited to the Areopagus, a location near the Acropolis on Mars Hill where court is held, and where philosophers engage in debates.
Paul uses a monument to "An Unknown God" as a foil for his argument that he knows the truth about what they call "unknown." He explains the universal nature of the God of all, and tantalizes some in the crowd when he shares: "... so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us." Some scoff and walk away, but others want to learn more, and some of them become disciples.
Knowing from recent sermons on Jesus's resurrection appearances, like to Mary at the tomb and to the disciples traveling toward Emmaus, that Jesus was no longer in readily recognizable form, we realize that Jesus may indeed be near, but we're left asking, How? How is God or Jesus "not far from each one of us"?
In his Final Discourse to the disciples in John, a long sequence of teachings that follows the foot washing scene, Jesus promises the coming of another when he departs, the Counselor or Advocate (in Greek, the Paraclete, a unique word only to John's gospel). He adds: "You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you."
Jesus continues to weave this three-way inter-relationship, using that difficult phrase: "I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." Then he does it again, using the term of love to describe the inter-relationship.
Love ends up being at the heart of knowing the presence of God and Jesus. Indeed, it brings resurrection anew. To find out how, you'll need to check out the sermon video below, or use the downloads below the video panel.