SUNDAY’S READINGS | APRIL 9, 2023
Acts 10:34-43 (or Jer. 31:1-6)
Ps. 118:1-2, 14-24
Col. 3:1-4 (or Acts 10:34-43)
John 20:1-18 (or Matt. 28:1-10)
There is a moment, a moment we have surpassed, when the disciples see the linen wrappings emptied of the body of Jesus, and believe, although without full understanding, “for as yet they [do] not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). There is a deeply emotional scene, beyond which we move this morning, “when Mary stood weeping outside the tomb” (John 20:11). We are not here for equivocation. We are not here to shed tears of sorrow. We are here to announce to the whole world — and to our souls — the exuberant joy of the Lord’s glorious resurrection.
At this very moment, the earth shakes. The ground groans. An angel with an appearance like lightning and clothing as white as snow descends to roll away the stone. The angel speaks to the women, saying, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you” (Matt. 28:5-7).
Yes. “This is my message for you”! It is for you; it is for each one of you. Jesus Christ has conquered the grave and death. Death no longer has dominion over him, and it no longer has dominion over you. In the words of the collect, “Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life.” The gate thrown open cannot be shut. The risen Lord says to us, “Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut” (Rev. 3:8).
Listen to the confident preaching of St. Peter: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:34-43).
We stand with Peter as witnesses. With him and millions of Christians throughout the ages, we eat the sacred body of Christ, and we drink his blood as a solemn pledge that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is our resurrection to new life. We enter a whole new world.
So, lift up your hearts! “If you have been raised with Christ,” and you have, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).
Your life is hidden and revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ — Jesus Christ, the joy of all creation!
LOOK IT UP: Psalm 118:15
THINK ABOUT IT: Joy and exultation!