Sunday, April 8, 2018

Acts 3.12-19: Still Easter?

Easter! Resurrection! New Life! Jesus appears to disciples! Thomas affirms Jesus as Lord and God! We've gone from one exciting, meaningful moment to another since Good Friday. The Jesus Movement is moving forward every day, focused on the future. Peter has preached several times. Thousands have been converted and joined the Movement.

If this were an audio blog, I would insert a sound clip of a record player needle being scratched across the surface of a record. That sort of screeching that indicates a full, sudden stop. I would insert it at Acts 3:15 (Easter 3B, Acts 3:12-19). Because look who shows up...Barabbas!

Oh, he isn't mentioned by name, but Peter remembers Barabbas' role in Holy Week and reminds the people hearing him preach that they chose Barabbas. It's an interesting addition to the sermon.
Honore Daumier. Ecce Homo. c. 1850. Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany. 
It might be a wet blanket thrown on the Easter party. After all, the crowd around Peter and John have been dazzled by the healing of the lame man that happened in the first part of Acts 3. They want to know who has done this remarkable thing and whether there might be more miraculous things happening. These are the people still in search of someone or something that will free them from the oppressive world in which they are living. Maybe these two men, who obviously can perform miracles, will be the ones who will save us.

Peter does, indeed throw a wet blanket on their hopes. To paraphrase Peter's sermon:  It isn't us who made this man walk, it's God. And you had your chance. You could have chosen the Lord of Life, but instead you chose a taker of life. His name was Barabbas.

So maybe this is about new life and resurrection after all. Notice that Peter doesn't say to them that they have missed their only chance at redemption and salvation. He does make clear that the people (and it may have been some of these same people who were shouting "Crucify him!") missed their first chance to acknowledge who Jesus is. But now the prophets' words have been fulfilled, Peter says. You can choose again. New life. Still Easter.

For additional thoughts on the Luke 24:36b-48, click here.
For a look at the location of the Acts story, click on the Facebook link. 

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