Easter Sunday – April 21, 2019

EasterC19.   Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43.  God commissioned the apostles to preach and testify that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.  This man God raised on the third day.”  “He is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.”  “Everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”  The man who died on the cross was Jesus in his humanity, not Jesus in his divinity.  Divinity cannot die.  If it could, divinity would not be divine.  Nevertheless the humanity and divinity of Jesus were so intimately bound together that we can say that in Christ God the Son sacrificed himself through his humanity to God the Father to give the only divine level of sacrifice that would be the adequate sacrifice for our sins, since the One offended by our sins is divine.  Only a sacrifice that was divine could satisfy for sins against divinity.

John 20:1-9. Mary of Magdala “saw the stone removed from the tomb.” She told Peter and John who went into the tomb.  John and more than likely Peter also, “saw and believed.  For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” What did they believe from what they saw?  I understand that what they believed was what Mary said, “They have taken from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”  Before Jesus’ appearance after the resurrection, they, as with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “did not yet understand that he had to rise from the dead.”  Jesus had to actually to appear to them bodily and humanly so that he could, as it says in our first reading, make them witnesses, “who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”  Jesus was truly dead and truly came back to life here in this world. He was not present to them just as a memory from the past but actually physically returned to be with them as the Jesus, once dead but now risen back to life in this world.  Our Jesus has conquered sin through his sacrifice of himself on the cross.  He also conquered the death that came from sin.  He has given his victory to us so that we may be former sinners come to a new life, as saints.

Colossians 3:1-4. “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”  Paul calls to mind what Jesus said, “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” (John 17:16)   And once again, when Peter rejected Jesus’ prophesy that he had to die on the cross, Jesus said, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 17:23c)  As human beings from birth we become imbued with the ways of this world.   Jesus and Paul call upon us to be like fish out of water, being more heavenly than earthly while we are still here on earth.  In Luke 18:27 Jesus said, “What is impossible for human beings is possible for God.”  God enables us to die to the ways of this world even while we are in this world, since he replaces our inner earthly life with a share of life from his divine life.  We refer to that divine life within us as sanctifying grace.  In a sense we die to a worldly life so to rise to a heavenly life.  “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.”  We are sinners redeemed from our sins by his redeeming sacrifice on the cross.