Reading for Third Sunday of Easter
Peace be with you!
People stare at what they do not understand. Last Wednesday during the #CPChatNow Twitter discussion, one young lady who has cerebral palsy shared her experience of spending a week in the hospital with her son who is five years old who had his appendix taken out. The young lady shared how people would stare at her when she walked with the five-year-old and his IV. I could relate her; I know well what it is like to have people stare at me, an individual who has cerebral palsy, when I am in public. Over time you get mostly immune to the staring and pointing, but some days it still gets old and unnerving. Some of us shared that we would like to ask the people who stare at us, “What are you staring at?”
As Christians, nonbelievers and others stare at us when we are publicly doing God’s work. People question why we help the poor, the needy, the homeless, and so on. These individuals do not understand our call to share the good news with anyone who will listen. They do not understand the love of God. People stare at what they do not understand.
In our Bible reading today, we see a lame man being healed by Peter and John. Peter and John meet him when he is begging for alms outside the temple (Acts 3:3). After being healed, he enters the temple with them, jumping up and down and worshipping God (Acts 3:6, 8). The people in the temple are astonished by the man’s ability to walk when he was previously not able to stand (Acts 3:11).
Peter addresses the Israelites’ lack of faith and answers the onlookers’ question: how can this previously lame man now walk? For Peter, it is a question of faith and being witnesses to the good news. As a Jew himself, Peter calls the Israelites out on their mistake: rejecting and condemning the Holy and Righteous One to death (Acts 3:13-15a). The Israelites are responsible for Jesus being crucified on the cross. Pontius Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but the Israelites wanted him to release Barabbas and to crucify Jesus, which he complied with (Acts 3:13). However, it is not only the Israelites who crucified Jesus but also the Romans and Peter himself. Everybody is guilty of crucifying Jesus.
Peter goes on, “Nevertheless, God raised Jesus from the dead, and this is why we believe in the good news and share the good news with others” (Acts 3:15b-16). God fulfilled what he promised through the prophets through sending his Son for you to crucify in order that we may have forgiveness of sins (Acts 3:18), even the jealous, the ignorance, and the rejection of Jesus were used by God for good (Acts 3:17). The events of Holy Week took place according to God’s will as the prophets foretold.
Peter finishes his sermon with, “Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wipe out” (Acts 3:19 NRSV). Jesus’s crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension become the way in which we are able to be in a relationship with God the Father. When you repent for all of your bad decisions, you are made new in the eyes of the Lord. It does not matter if you killed someone, stole from your neighbors, lied to your parents, cheated on your exam, or [whatever “it” is] you did in the past. It does not matter that the Israelites had Jesus killed. It does not matter how big or small the sin. As long as you repent, you are forgiven and are made new by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Give us courage to repent of our sins—no matter how bad they are. Clear our minds to understand that we are forgiven for all of our sins. Lead us to share the good news with others. Thank you for your forgiveness, grace, and love. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- Describe a time when people stared at you. How did it make you feel? How did you react?
- What does it mean to you to be forgiven?