3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9 (7a)
1 John 2:1-5a
April 18, 2021
Easter is a season of resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is pivotal in our Christian faith. Thus, Jesus doesn’t want us to just know about his Resurrection. He wants us to understand what it means to be resurrected.
Jesus knew what his disciples were going through. The one, Jesus, they thought to be the Messiah has been crucified. How can this be? Then comes news that the tomb is empty and that He is risen. What does this mean?
They would have been confused to say the very least. They were also afraid of what would happen to them.
Knowing this Jesus “stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”” Their reaction? “They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.”
They did not yet understand the Resurrection so they thought the Jesus they were seeing must be a ghost. This, along with their confusion over all that had happened, left them “terrified.”
Would you have felt any different then? If you saw Jesus today would you be overjoyed or would you be terrified, perhaps fearing judgment?
Jesus says to them “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” Jesus knows why. They do not understand. He wants to them understand.
To help them understand the Resurrection He shows them his hands and his feet to see his wounds so that they may know that He is indeed the same Jesus who was crucified.
To help them understand that, risen, He is not just a ghost but that He is risen body and soul, He invites them to touch him so that they would know He has flesh and bones.
Most of all, He asks for something to eat and they gave him a “piece of baked fish.” “He took it and ate it in front of them.” Why is this important? Because a ghost does not eat. The physical body eats physical food.
Jesus is risen body and soul.
This is important for two reasons.
What had happened to Jesus? He had been crucified. This would have seemed like a defeat by those who had “handed Jesus over and denied him in Pilate’s presence.”
The Resurrection shows us that the Crucifixion was not a defeat! As Peter said to the people, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”
God has power even over death! God glorifies Jesus, raising him up, for the obedience Jesus gives to the Father.
Peter goes on to say to the people that he knows they “acted out of ignorance” in crucifying Jesus. Yet, while they were ignorant, now they know better and he calls them to “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
They now know who Jesus really is. This knowledge should lead to repentance; repentance they offer now knowing that Jesus is expiation for their sins.
What difference does knowing who Jesus really is, the Son of God, and that He dies and rises for us, make for you?
Does it relieve us in our distress to know that God has power even over death?
Does it put gladness into our hearts?
Does it bring us security?
Does knowing that Jesus is “expiation” for our sins lead us think we can sin without fear because we take God’s forgiveness for granted?
Or does it lead us to repentance, to a true desire to stop sinning, instead keeping God’s commandments, keeping “his word”?
The disciples had not understood the scriptures that said “that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” Jesus opened their minds to understand.
With faith and hope in Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, may we open our minds to all that God offers us.