Resurrection Encounters

Our journey with Jesus doesn’t finish at the cross or the resurrection, rather it is from here that this whole new world begins. In this series, as we journey on from the cross we will see the first encounters that Jesus had with his followers – how he charged the most unexpected person with sharing the news of his resurrection, showing us that everyone is welcome and is given responsibility in this new world and how doubts and wavering belief does not faze him, just like with Thomas he comes and meets us in our doubts. We’ll meet him with Peter and the disciples as he prepares breakfast for them on the beach and shows us the reach of his redemption and finally, at his Ascension, we will receive that same call and commission as his followers, to wait on the Spirit and to witness to the world.

1. Mary

 John 20:11-18

Naomi Black - 1 May 2022

The first apostle is not who is expected at all – Mary, a woman, a so-called ‘unreliable’ witness is charged by Jesus to go and tell the news that he is risen! Their first encounter with each other is a beautiful moment, in coming to the tomb she did not in any way expect to go away joyful and yet an encounter with Jesus changes all of that. The risen Jesus transforms everything and from this encounter and from the responsibility given to Mary we see how much things are turned on their head when Jesus is involved – the least likely, the least expected, suddenly not so ‘least’ anymore. Are there places in our lives that we do not expect joy from? How can we resurrect expectation and hope in Jesus again in those places? Do we feel like we’re the least likely ones, the unexpected, the unwanted, the halted one, how can Jesus resurrect hope and permission for us? Or perhaps we need to be the ones who believe and listen to the unexpected messengers and who make space for those who are the ‘least likely’ to flourish.

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2. Thomas

 John 20:24-29

Andy Harding - 8 May 2022

What do we do with our doubt? How do we navigate the fearful waters of faith, belief and understanding changing? Is there room in our faith for our doubt? Thomas is often landed with the title ‘Doubting Thomas’ and is sometimes given a bad rap for that, yet his experience is one we will probably all have. What we see in this passage is how Jesus interacts with Thomas in the midst of his doubt; he doesn’t dismiss him or condemn him, he comes to him. How can we allow Jesus to come to us in our places of doubt?

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3. Peter

 John 13:36-38,18:17,18:25-27,21:1-19

Zak Robb - 15 May 2022

We know that the story of Jesus is one of redemption and we see that perhaps most clearly in this encounter with Peter. Peter had stuffed up, denied Jesus, walked away and to top it all off he didn’t think there was any way he could make amends, so he went back to the thing he knew best, his old life as a fisherman. But that morning on the shore was one like no other, not only did he and the other disciples experience a miracle catch of fish but more importantly Jesus took time with Peter to speak with him and reverse those three points of denial. Jesus comes to us in our broken and messed up places and he holds out redemption to us, he has already proved that he will go great lengths for us, why so often do we live as if that isn’t true now? Where in our lives do we need to experience the redemption of Jesus?

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