The Feast of the Resurrection marks the end to the Holy Week experience. This year, for a variety of reasons, the midweek services were very well attended. Perhaps we are all just a bit more in tune with the suffering of the world. Our friends have lost jobs, our neighbors have lost houses, many of us are suffering from diseases, death has touched many of our families--yes, we have any number of reasons to remember the need for the Savior, the need for the Redeemer.
We have spent a great deal of time together this week. We have watched the events that marked the end of Jesus' life with some great attention, so I will be mercifully sweet. In our reading from Acts this week, where is Peter and what is he doing? In our liturgical life, it was just Friday morning that the Roman soldiers were mocking, beating, scourging, crowning, and crucifying our Lord. To demonstrate their ultimate control, and their ultimate indifference to Jesus' seeming plight, they even gamble for His clothes as He was hanging on the cross! Upon His death, to make sure that Jesus is, in fact, dead, they pierce His body with a spear. Yet, where is Peter this week, and what is He doing?
To be sure, the events we read in Acts did not occur three days later. But it serves as an interesting juxtaposition. Peter, against His own expectation, and no doubt our own, finds himself in the home of a Roman soldier. Better still, Peter finds himself with a job to do. He finds himself in the position of having to evangelize the Roman soldier and the soldier's family. Imagine that! To the very people whom God and Peter must hate for what they have done to Jesus, Peter is sent to proclaim the Gospel. Naturally, if you know the story, Peter does a job worthy of His Lord. The centurion and his family come to believe and are baptized. Those who killed Christ are saved by His atoning work!
Brothers and sisters, if Jesus can save those who put Him to death. If He can find it in His heart to ask God to forgive those who are killing Him "for they know not what they do," what can He not redeem in your life? Yes, you have committed some sins which seem unpardonable. Yes, if people knew the real you, they might think you were unlovable. But guess what? Jesus knows you! He knows everything about you. And He walked that road to Golgotha last week that you, me, and everyone whom we meet might be saved. He even walked that road that His killers might be saved. Let's face it, if He can forgive men such as the soldiers, what of our past behavior can He not forgive? If He can redeem the lives and families of such men, what part of our lives can He not redeem?
Christ's Peace and Joy,