09 Apr – Easter Monday
Acts of the Apostles 2:14.22-33
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:
I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy;
my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.
‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.
Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.
The Lord before me always
Many people fear death. It is an unknown – a moment in time when you no longer exist in this world and are lost out there somewhere. In fact God gives us two things – a home after death, and through Jesus, God also conquered death. For Jesus was raised from the dead – “he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption.” We should take heart that our God is more powerful than death! He goes before us always, and prepares a place for us in heaven.
When my mum passed away, I grieved deeply. Nobody thought that I was close to her when she was alive, but in truth she meant a lot to me. She knew me better than anyone else, and could anticipate and perceive my needs sometimes even better than myself. When I saw her body going into the furnace, it struck me that death hath conquered her, and stolen her away from me. What kept me going is the faith that heaven awaits her, and that one day I will see her again. She is in the kind and loving arms of Jesus.
Have you lost someone you loved before? How did you deal with the realization that they are no more? Do people just “disappear” when they die? I find tremendous comfort in the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, that people have souls that surpass our bodily presence, and that God always goes before us, to prepare a place for us in heaven. As Jesus had said to the women who first saw him resurrected in the tomb – “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.”
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Prayer: Lord I pray for my deceased brothers and sisters in Christ, that they have found themselves in the loving arms of You. May the ones they leave behind continue to live life purposefully and courageously.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for rising from the dead, for conquering death, and for going before me in all things so that I might always have a home in You.