April 16, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

God’s Love as Victory over Death
John 20:1-10; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9

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Recently, the Mennonite church received word of the death of one of our own young adults, Michael Sharp. His body and that of his United Nations colleagues were found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were

investigating violence and alleged human rights violations by the Congolese army and local militia groups in the Central Kasai province. Sharp, Zaida [Catalan], their Congolese interpreter Bete Tshintela, and their three local drivers all went missing March 12 while working in the region. . . .

“Michael was working on the front lines of what we try to do at the United Nations every day: find problems and fix them," [U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki] Haley said in a statement." He selflessly put himself in harm's way to try to make a difference in the lives of the Congolese people."[1]

Basketball coach John Wooden was a dedicated Christian whose faith was far more important to him than sports. "I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. . . . If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.”[2]

Michael’s and Coach Wooden’s examples and testimonies remind us that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the essence of the gospel! It proves that God conquered death by raising Jesus from the dead and came to bring us new life! “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Mary Magdalene and several other women decided to go to the tomb early on the Lord’s day, but Mary Magdalene went ahead of the others and got to the tomb first. She did not believe that Jesus would return from the dead. The disciple many assume to be John arrived, but he cautiously remained outside and looked in. Peter arrived and rashly went in to the tomb. Then the other disciple entered, looked, and “he saw and believed” (John 10:8). They had faith based on what they saw. But you and I do not have any physical evidence. We are called to believe on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ and depend on the eternal word of God and Jesus Christ, our Lord.

In computer sciences, an important concept in object-oriented programming is inheritance. It provides a way for objects to define relationships with each other. In more concrete terms, an object is able to pass on its state and behaviors to its children.

Mary, Peter, the disciples, and many saints down through church history had personal experiences of “a living hope” as Peter describes it in 1 Peter 1:3. We have been given an inheritance that can never spoil; our relationships as God’s children brings glory to God through Christ our Redeemer. This inheritance is called salvation (1 Peter 1:9). Praise God for Jesus our Savior.

If we burn wood, we will get ashes. As followers of Jesus, when our faith is burned and tested, we will get a stronger faith that is like a refined quality of metal; with the help of the Holy Spirit we are made new from the inside out. As disciples of Jesus, we enjoy the glory now by loving Christ, trusting Christ, and rejoicing in Christ as we live our faith and share our faith with others.

Charles Spurgeon, a 19th-century British preacher, once said, “Little faith will take your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” What an encouragement and a reminder of our living hope we can enjoy now by faith in Jesus Christ!

  • What is blocking us from seeing the risen Christ in our world today?
  • How do you experience a “living hope” and the power of the resurrection in your life today?
  • What circumstances prevent you from surrendering all to God?

—Paulus Thalathoti, paulus.thalathoti@gmail.com

© 2017

1. Rima Abdelkader, “Body of American UN Worker Michael Sharp Found in Congo,” NBC News, March 29, 2017.
2. “John Wooden,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.

Paulus Thalathoti is an ordained minister and the founding president of Peace Proclamation Ministries, an evangelistic and church planting ministry with those living in the interior rural areas of India. Dr. Thalathoti also serves as chairperson for Penn Bible Fellowship in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sumatha, are mission associates with Mennonite Mission Network and members of Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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