“God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”Acts 5:31
Today in the first reading the Apostles, before the Sanhedrin, refuse to stop preaching the gospel. That Jesus is the long awaited savior, that he has come to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins!
My dear friends, Jesus is risen and he lives. How can we everyday be witnesses to the resurrected Christ? Not in a judgmental ” You are a heathen and going to hell, I’m so holy and close to Jesus,” way (I hope you have never heard those words from a Christian…I sadly have), but in a way that mirrors who our savior is, love.
God’s plan, completed with Jesus’ resurrection, is the plan of Israel’s and our salvation. To turn back (metanoia) to the Lord and receive forgiveness. To love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Does my life as a Christian give witness to the person of Jesus? Do I speak boldly with charity, or boldly with injury seeking to condemn? Do I seek reconciliation or let judgement fester into malice? Do I seek to service God, or serve others? Do I walk humbly with my God or do I elevate myself?
Jesus crucifixion was witnessed by many. Jesus’ resurrection, was seen by a few. Those few witnesses eventually turned into many! The apostles saw Jesus, resurrected, with wounds, in their mist. Not a ghost but our God fully alive. The joy of our hearts is to be an Easter people. The same way Jesus shows his wounds to the apostles, is the same way we must preach the Gospel. Through our vulnerability, our humbleness and our boldness to live God’s plan. We know we do not do it alone, God always leads the way.
The wounds we no longer carry because Christ heals us, tell everyone who encounters us, everyone we have will be a witness to, that sin and despair do not win, the joy of the gospel is real and is for all who receive it.
Despite the careless wounding words of a friend, despite the family member that ruined Jesus for you, and in spite of the Christian who judges you using God’s words, but does not judge their own lives by the same measure; yes, in spite of all and more of these things, God reigns. A few people struggling to reflect Jesus to all do not get to tear down or define Christianity.
God is alive! What a huge responsibility we have now that we have come to know mercy and love. Now that our life is continuously transformed by God’s grace. Now that the responsibility falls to us to continue to witness these things.
Lord today and everyday allow me to receive your teachings, your mercy, your love. Teach me to make my whole life a witness to who you are, Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.