Order in the court! How many of you guys know what a court is? Yes, a court can be a place where people play basketball or tennis. What else can it be? That’s right – it is a place where people go when someone is having an argument and people have to decide who is right and who is wrong. Who knows some of the people who work in a court? What about witnesses? What do witnesses do? Witnesses are people who testify in court. Who knows what it means to testify? Good answers! Testify is basically a fancy way of saying you say what you know. It is important to say what you know and to always tell the truth – even when it is hard.
Being a witness in court can be scary. Can you think of a time it might be scary to be a witness? That’s right. Because being a witness can make a BIG difference in people’s lives. Sometimes it’s scary to be a witness because people get angry about what you have to say. They may think you are lying, or they may not like something you say about someone they care about. They may think you are wrong about something. So, it can be scary to be a witness.
Now, in today’s gospel story, Jesus comes to visit his disciples. This happens a lot in our stories about Jesus – but this very unusual in this part of our gospel stories about Jesus – do you know why? That’s right. Because this story happens after Jesus died – and then came back! Do you remember we talked about this on Easter – about how strange that was? Well, in today’s story Jesus visited some of his disciples who weren’t with Mary and the others when they saw Jesus the first time he came back after he died – and they weren’t sure it was true that Jesus had come back from being dead. They hadn’t been witnesses yet. So, he came and showed them for themselves.
He reminded them what we figured out on Easter – that coming back after dying was something that ONLY Jesus could do, because Jesus is part of God AND because Jesus loves us more than anyone else ever can. Jesus visited his friends to let them know that he still loved them, and his spirit would never really leave them. Then he told them that they had to be the witnesses to this! They had to be the ones to tell other people what they had seen and what they knew.
Now, none of us were there. We weren’t eyewitnesses – but we are witnesses to what we do know. What do we know about Jesus? That’s right. We know that Jesus loves us. What else? We know that Jesus heals. What else? So, we can be witnesses to the things we know about Jesus – and that’s what today’s story tells us to do.
Now being witnesses about Jesus – telling what we know to other people – might be scary, because sometimes people will think we are lying – or they will think we are wrong, and because it will make a big difference in people’s lives and in the WORLD. And, let me tell you a secret (whisper) – grown-ups are very afraid of witnessing for Jesus, and they are not very good at it! – but we have to do it – because Jesus asked us to AND because the world is full of angry people who hurt one another and who say wrong things about Jesus. One of the only ways to fix that is for us to witness to the truth about Jesus – that Jesus was human, so he understands us, but he stopped being human and started being God not so he could be powerful and give us things, but so he could give his love to all people in all times in all places. Jesus is about LOVE, so we need to be witnesses that everyone should try to love everyone else like Jesus does. Do we agree? And what do we say in church when we agree? That’s right: AMEN. Let’s say it together. (AMEN).