Easter3A20. Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33. “Jesus, the Nazorean, was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst.” “This man,” “you killed;” “but God raised him up, releasing from the throes of death.” David “foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ.” “God raised this Jesus; of this we all witnesses.” The once fearful Peter, hiding in the Upper Room but now burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit, fearlessly announces that the once dead Jesus is now the risen Messiah.
Luke 24:13-35. How wonderful is this narrative of Jesus and his two disciples on the way to Emmaus. Later the followers of Jesus were known as the people of the Way. The Way is the journey we make daily with Jesus to heaven. When we lose sight of this, we become wanderers in the darkness. Not realizing that they are talking to the risen Jesus, Jesus’ companions to Emmaus tell him that Jesus was put to death on the cross. They were despondent because they had hoped “that he would be the one to redeem Israel” from the Romans. Yet they were astounded because “some women from our group” “reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.” Jesus responds, “How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!” In speaking this to the disciples, Jesus was speaking to the whole of his followers who were so preoccupied with the thought that Jesus would deliver Israel from the Romans that they could not comprehend that his self-sacrifice on the cross and resurrection had already redeemed them not from the Romans but from sin. Jesus was frustrated at their inability to comprehend that the redemption had just happened. He had just redeemed them from what matters eternally. There would be others who would oppress the Jews politically besides the Romans, such as the Moslems and the Nazis, but they could not harm them eternally as sin could. The many appearances of the resurrected Jesus would help his followers to understand that God’s Will is different from humans’ will. The material, physical nature of this world is only the context of our salvation but not the goal. The goal of our life here is to take us beyond our world here and not to win wars. First our minds must understand what God’s plan is. Then our hearts must burn with the desire to accomplish God’s will. Only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can make our hearts burst into the flames of a spiritual fire that moves us to devote ourselves to accomplish his will.
1 Peter 1:17-21. Peter writes, “Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning (here on earth), realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct ” “with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.” Realize through the day as we go about our daily routine that our souls have been purchased at a great price, so precious are we to him. May each day be an opportunity to hold him preciously in our hearts.