Today’s first scripture is an excerpt from the New Testament book entitled Acts of the Apostles. The Book of Acts continues the story of the Lord Jesus, but presents him as living and present in his Church. Remember, the Church is not simply an institution, but it is mystically and mysteriously the Body of Christ- the extension of his Incarnation in space and time.
The excerpt from the Book of Acts we heard today records a speech given by the Apostle Peter. In this speech Peter gives testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as a real event that has changed Israel and has changed the world.
God has proved in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that all the claims he made about himself were true, and now not only the Israelites, but all the peoples of the world are faced with a decision- will they accept Christ for who claimed to be- God, Lord and King.
We Christians profess that Christ is God, Lord and King, but many of us pay lip service to these claims, rather than applying what we are saying about Christ to our own lives. If we say Christ is God, that means we don’t worship other gods (like wealth, pleasure, power and honors) and that we serve him, not our own ego-driven needs, and that we accept that he is in charge of our lives. Bottom line- this all means that our lives are not about us, but him, and are about fulfilling the demand of love in what we say and what we do.
In his Gospel for today we hear an eyewitness account of Christ’s resurrection. Certain women who witnessed his death and burial encountered the Lord Jesus alive. It seems that the guards placed at Christ’s tomb were coerced and bribed so as not to reveal details about what they themselves saw, and a plot is contrived which accuses the disciples of Jesus of stealing his body.
In both scriptures, Peter’s testimony and the testimony of the Gospel, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is presented as an event that really and truly happened and is about the physical body of the Lord Jesus.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is not presented in the Gospel as one would present a myth, but as a fact of history- and this is why it is so strange and unnerving.
The resurrection should continue to disturb us, upset us, for it manifests that what the Lord Jesus said about himself is true and and as such, we must make a decision- will we believe in him or not? Will we follow him or not? Will we serve him or not?
We can’t evade or equivocate when confronted with the testimony to the resurrection. We have to make a decision.