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Pastoral Scene

Easter Day
31 March 2024

Acts 10.34-43

34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 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. 39 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; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 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. 42 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. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

REFLECTION

This is one of Peter's speeches after the resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. He was an outspoken person as reflected in his chastising of Jesus and saying he would die with Jesus, but he was not a public speaker, he was a fisherman. So, it is interesting to see how bold he is.  Important to remember that the use of the title Messiah/Christ was not given to Jesus till after his resurrection. It had been spoken in private, when Peter says it, but it was not used publicly, so it is interesting that now it has been added to his name, he is Joshua the Messiah/Jesus the Christ. On interesting reflection to this reading is when Peter says, '41 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.' Jesus did not just appear and then leave; he was around for 40 days. He did not flit in and flit out but sat and ate with him. to say, Í saw a ghost.' is one thing, but it wasn't a ghost, he ate and drank. this was a physical being. We do not come to celebrate the risen spirit of Jesus, but the bodily resurrection. I believe Christians struggle with this concept and yet it is the bases of the faith we declare.

Hymn to the Risen Christ (APBA p.6)

The Hymn to the Risen Christ

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us:

so let us celebrate the feast,

Not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:

but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:

death has no more dominion over him.

In dying he died to sin once for all:

in living he lives to God.

See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:

and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ has been raised from the dead:

the firstfruits of those who sleep.

For as by one man came death:

by another has come also resurrection of the dead;

For as in Adam all die:

even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

2nd Reading

1 Corinthians 15.1-11

 

1 Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

REFLECTION

In dealing with the people of Corinth, Paul writes to remind them of the message he gave. That Jesus died and rose and appeared to many people.  He wants to make sure there is no uncertainty of what happened. Jesus' resurrection was not a Chinese whisper. There are too many eyewitnesses for this to be a myth. Paul accepts that his experience was not at the same time, but the appearance of Jesus to Paul is no less real. If the people of Corinth waved in their belief of this message, how much more 1991 years later?

Gospel

Mark 16.1-8

 

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. The Shorter Ending of Mark And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. The Longer Ending of Mark

REFLECTION

The ending to Mark's gospel is one of debate, so I will leave my reflection where this version finishes.

The women are the first to go to the tomb, why were the men not there? Because no one expected him to rise. His own disciples did not believe what Jesus had told them. The women expected to find a decaying body. Now there are different versions of this event, and why I can only put down to, whose version it was, the writer recalling the oral message, one thing they all say is it was the women who were at the tomb, who were told to tell the other believers and it does inform us that Jesus was seen by others and sent by him to proclaim the gospel. Jesus has risen, not just as a spirit or ghost, but in the body. I know it is hard to believe and you can rationalize it, but one thing we as Christians do, at the peril to our own faith, is to deny it.

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