Easter17. Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43. Peter,appointed by Jesus to lead the Church, speaks, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” “This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance.” Here Luke, traditionally accepted as the author of the Acts of the Apostles, seems to see Jesus as man empowered by God but not God in himself. Apparently for Luke that would be a laterdevelopment. The Apostles are witnesses to all he did while he walked this earth, to his resurrection to full life again, able to eat and drink. Peter goes on to say: “he commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” Both the Apostles and the prophets are witnesses to believing in him will bring one eternal salvation.
John 20:1-9. Jesus had foretold at various times that he was to suffer, be put to death and then arise. It appears that no one, not even Mary of Magdala nor the Apostles, took him at his word. The last line of this Gospel says, “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” One commentary states that the Greek from which this gospel was translated indicates that it appeared that Jesus miraculously slipped out of burial cloths, leaving them empty of the body that had been in them, with the cloth that had covered his head, removed and placed in a separate place. The word tomb is mentioned in this gospel seven times, I believe, to indicate the empty tomb with the stone rolled back is a physical witness to the resurrection of Jesus. Peter’s authority and leadership is clearly accepted by John, since he waited for Peter, more important than he, to enter first. John goes into the tomb “and he saw and believed” that the tomb was empty.
Colossians 3:1-4. “Seek what is above,” “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” After Jesus had told his disciples that he had to suffer and die and then Peter rebuked Jesus for thinking that way, then Jesus in turn rebuked Peter saying, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:18) We are people who live in this world, not in heaven. This world can, and easily does, drown us in its way of thinking, feeling and acting. The Holy Spirit, who is far more powerful than our good intentions and will power, can enable us to have Jesus as our life. With Christ as our life, one day he will share his glory with us.
1 Corinthians 5:6b-8. “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Yeast could be symbolically thought of as an evil, corrupting force; whereas being unleavened was thought of as growing in the purity of the “sincerity and truth” of Christ. If we dine on the lamb, that is the paschal lamb that is Christ, the bread of our meal must be unleavened, i.e. pure, not corrupted by the evil of this world (Exodus 12:1-15). We ought not to mix the sinful ways of this world with holy ways of God.
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