Act 2:14, 22-33
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
‘He was not abandoned to Hades,
nor did his flesh experience corruption.’ This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
Psalm 16:1-2a, 5, 7-11
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad,
and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.
In the book of Acts, Peter tells the people that he is a witness of both the death and the resurrection of Jesus. In the Gospel passage we read that the guards were also witnesses to the resurrection. They went to tell the chief priests everything that had happened. In one case, people were converted to the Lord and were evangelized. In the other, the truth was ignored, and a subterfuge was devised to explain what happened instead. It worked and people did not receive the truth.
The resurrection is a powerful truth. We have to decide what we believe. Do we marvel at its implications for us and gladly and joyfully embrace it, or do we act as though it really doesn’t change anything? Whether we believe unto eternal life or not depends on the witnesses and who we believe is lying to us.
The resurrection is something that, if we consider it deeply, causes a change in us. It is not only for the fact of eternal life. We can treat that fact as if it only matters on our deathbed. We come into a new place of freedom that has implications for our entire life. We can order our priorities; we can live in faith knowing that God wants to be with us now and forever. We can have courage. We can live with joy in spite of our troubles. We who believe in the resurrection are compelled to share the knowledge that Jesus died for all of us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to receive the truth of Jesus’ resurrection in a way that makes me more confident in your love and in the promise of heaven. I ask for the grace to share the resurrection joy with others. Grant me opportunities to witness to you. Amen