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Easter 2, 2018

Bible Tuesday for the Second Sunday after Easter, 2018

Acts 3:12-19

12 When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites,[a] why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant[b] Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus[c] has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

17 “And now, friends,[d] I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah[e] would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,

This story takes place right after Pentecost. Peter and John stayed in Jerusalem for a while, and went to the Temple to worship and pray almost every day. There was no reason for them to stop being Jewish, since they believed Jesus to be the fulfillment of God’s promises to the world through the Jews.

On their way to the Temple, they saw a lame man on the side of the road, begging. They went over to him and said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” The man was immediately healed and started rejoicing loudly. There was quite a crowd who saw this and word of it spread fast. The healed man clung to Peter and John as they entered the Temple grounds into Solomon’s Portico. An astonished crowd flocked to them. AT this point in the story, the above reading begins.

In the above text, Peter addresses the crowd that has flocked to them because of the healing of the lame man. Note how Peter releases Pilate from guilt and shifts the entire blame onto all Jews. We tend to think of the guilt of Jesus’ death sentence to lay on Pilate Caiaphas, Annas, and the Jewish leaders. But Peter saw the crowds screaming for Jesus’ execution, whether incited by the Jewish leaders or not.

You killed the Author of Life – Luke uses a new title for Jesus which succinctly states the irony of Jesus’ execution, how call you take life from the one who created life and brought himself into human life?

Peter also states that all parties who cried out for Jesus’ execution and those who carried it out were only acting according to God’s script. Peter, and Luke, the author of Acts, seem much more comfortable with the notions of predestination and “fore-ordaining” that most Lutherans are, including me.

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 When you are disturbed,[a] do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.Selah
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.

6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
7 You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.

8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

This is an unusual psalm both for its brevity and its style. The writer vacillates between pleading with and thanking God. These verses are interspersed with admonitions to fellow children of God. I especially appreciate the last line of this psalm. In our over caffeinated, over stimulated, screen addicted society, a statement of peaceful sleep due to trust in God is a very welcomed and comforting thing.

1 John 3:1-17

1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

How remarkable that the Author of All Life, the Creator of All That Is, should look down upon this little blue marble, onto us little specks of momentary life, and call us My Children! But this title comes with a certain kind of life, which is different from the one our nature wants to live. Our nature wants gluttony, with every thought and act being ones of self service. That is what “the world” knows, but Children of God are, with every thought and act, to serve God and other. While this life grants us loving relations with God and neighbor, what does the future hold for us? We do not know, for Jesus did not reveal that to us, save what we can speculate from what he was like after Easter but before Ascension.

Lawlessness vs. Child of God – The Law being referred to here is the first five books of the Bible, the Penteteuch, the Law of Moses. The Law spells out the God/human relationship between Yahweh and the Israelites. Sin puts one outside that relationship. But the above author states that “no one who abides in him [Jesus] sins.” This can be understood to mean that when we sin, we are not living in relationship with God. But our lives are very fluid sinning and loving God almost in the same breath. For this reason, we need Jesus constantly, forgiving our sins and affirming the selfless work that the Holy Spirit does through us.

Luke 24:36-48

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”[a]37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.[b]41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah[c] is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses[d] of these things.

Was Jesus really hungry? No, there was a folklore among the Jews that ghosts do not eat, so Jesus eats in front of them to prove he is not a ghost. Do you believe in ghosts? Jesus does not appear to be dispelling their existence.

Jesus told and told and told his disciples that he would be executed but would rise in three days and would go ahead of them to Galilee, but they did not believe. Now, in this text, Jesus retells them and reteaches them all of those prophecies and how He fulfilled them. Now, they are to proclaim these things to all nations. They are witnesses of these things.

What have you witnesses God doing in and through you? How will you proclaim this as the good news of God’s love?