25 April 2019
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.’
Everything written about me…. has to be fulfilled
Time and time again in scripture, and even Jesus himself during his ministry, foretold his death and resurrection. Yet, how many of us truly appreciated it? Sure, it is understandable in the days right after his resurrection, there was excitement coupled with bewilderment, to see Jesus alive and well walking among men – I imagine it probably caused a mayhem. There must have been such disbelief at seeing Jesus walk into the room to dine with the apostles! And many other ‘Ah-ha’ moments!
But what about today? Are we still in shock? Do we still question even after all these years? With all the witnesses before us, all the martyrs and lives of the saints; with all the evidence and knowledge, do we still doubt? Are we just going through the motion and downplaying the significance of the resurrection?
Like the people of Jerusalem in days of old, I too have this mixed feeling of joy and doubt. I am ashamed to admit it, but it is true. Our human logic simply cannot fathom this possibility and yet, I know deep down, my Saviour lives. And I guess I will just have to hang on to that! There will be days of darkness and doubt, and we cannot see the path ahead of us. But I am assured of not only His love but I know I have a God who truly understands. A God who entered the darkness of sin, yet all light, just so He can say to me, “I know it is difficult, I know it is painful and I know it hurts.”
And brothers and sisters, that… is enough for me. For He reigns triumphant, in the end so will we!
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: O Lord my God, you came to show us the way. In the season of Easter, we want to celebrate your victory over death. Teach us too, to celebrate the little victories in our lives; to look for the moments of new beginnings around us, and cling onto your promises that we too will reign triumphant, if we have you at our side.
Thanksgiving: Our Father, thank you for never giving up on us, and for Jesus our Saviour to show us the way back to you.