20 April 2017
Everyone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
The author of life you put to death
For writers, the story that you tell gives a voice to the cause or message that you want to put through. For example, if your story is about pre-school pedagogies, you could be advocating early learning for children. If you are talking about paleo diets, you could be raising health awareness, so on and so forth. Whatever story that a writer tells though, is always entwined with the writer. Any raw emotion or experiences, the writer’s thoughts… some part of it will end up being sprinkled into the writer’s piece. The story also ends with the writer. If a writer stops writing, the story ends there. If a writer dies, the story dies with the writer, and no one knows how the story would have been intended to end.
When the people crucified Jesus, they thought that that was the end of the story. The Pharisees and high priests were probably relieved, the disciples and followers of Jesus, very depressed. Christ was no more…
But God works in His own way. The author of life, they may have put to death, but it was through his death that the story lives! The story could only be written with Christ’s death on the cross, as it was through death that He then resurrected on the third day. So much was said about Christ in his lifetime, and so much more was even said after his resurrection. His resurrection made witnesses of many people, and his resurrection opened up the eyes and ears of many others who finally understood the scriptures, and now more than ever, believed in the power of God!
Jesus said to the disciples, “everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Indeed, other people before Jesus had written these ‘stories’, but only Jesus could have provided life to them. Only through Jesus could these ‘stories’ finally have meaning, only by Jesus’ death on the cross could the message of the prophets finally come to pass. The ordinary people may have put the author of life to death, but they could not put an end to the story. The story did not, and does not die. God brought life back to us through the resurrection through Christ Jesus.
Every day, God’s story is written through us. His power and glory are manifested through our lives. Every day is a new chapter for God to write our story with us. Let us allow Him to do so, so that His message comes through via how we live our lives.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer – Lord, I have been trying to write my life story on my own, but I pray now with Your guidance, I will write my story with You.
Thanksgiving – Thank you Lord, for giving us life through Your death and resurrection. It is because of You that we live.