Bible Readings and Devotion for April 16, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 16, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
During Confirmation Class over the years I have taught about many things. One thing has been the use of the terms: “disciple” and “apostle.” These words are often used interchangeably due to both a misunderstanding and that both are used to describe the core, twelve followers of Jesus.
A “disciple” is a person who is learning from and following a teacher. It comes from a Latin term for “learner.” An “apostle” is a person who is sent on a mission. It is a word that comes from the Greek term meaning “to send forth”. The twelve followers of Jesus, such as Peter, James, John, Matthew Levi, etc. started as “disciples”, and were eventually the “sent ones” or “apostles.”
One of the ways I have taught these junior high aged students about these terms has been through a demonstration. To teach “disciple,” I would have the students around the table, with Bibles open. The students together were learners, and therefore, “disciples.” They were learning from God’s Word how to know and follow Jesus. The second demonstration was about the word, “apostle.” This word means, “one who is sent on a mission or job.” My demonstration at one church was the following. There was a soft drink vending machine along one wall, over across from where our class met. I pulled out two quarters, 50 cents, and handed these to a student nearby. Her name was Jaclyn, and she is still a friend of mine today in her adulthood. Anyway, I gave Jaclyn 50 cents and instructed her to go across the room and purchase a Diet Coke with Lime from the machine. Her “apostleship” mission was to buy that soft drink. Even though it had nothing to do with Jesus, she got what I meant and walked across the room to buy that drink. Then we as a class discussed the meaning.
I mention all this because of what happens in our reading today. We have Jesus’ encounter with Mary Magdalene. She is the first person to see the resurrected Jesus face to face. We have recorded in John 20 the statement he made to her, and the response she gave in her action. Here is part of what he said to her: “But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” In this, Mary Magdalene became an apostle. She was sent on a mission by God the Son, Jesus Christ, himself.
Then she does just as our Lord instructed to her. We read, “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.” She was sent on a mission, and she fulfilled that mission. She brought the message of Jesus’ resurrection to the fellowship of the Apostles. Due to this significant calling for her life Mary Magdalene has been given the title, “Apostle to the Apostles.”
For us today, we are the beneficiaries of Mary Magdalene’s faithful fulfillment of her calling. She brought the message to the Apostles. The Apostles brought the message to others, and eventually someone brought that central message to each of us. We get to continue that line of sharing with others we encounter in this life.
Almighty God, your Son first entrusted the apostle Mary Magdalene with the joyful news of his resurrection. Following the example of her witness, may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord and one day see him in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.