Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 12: Year 2
“‘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.” (Acts 2: 22 – 24)
Peter painfully reminds the Israelites of both who Jesus was and is, and, their part in going against the goodness of God in handing him over to be killed. Even though those who actually crucified were outside their faith, they indeed were responsible.
The important thing to remember for us today, who call ourselves Christians, is that our Lord Jesus was and is, the living will of God. Today we can only read of “the deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through” our Lord Jesus among the people. We must read and believe.
Today, as Christians, we must believe in the living Jesus. Our belief then is made manifest in how we conduct ourselves in everyday life. We do not return evil for evil. We seek fairness and justice for all people. But first and foremost, we must love God. For some of us, without regular church services during the restrictions of this pandemic, it is difficult. But church was never intended to be first. First faith starts at home and in the heart of the individual. The story of Jesus is shared so that the hearer might grab on and believe. And in believing, the faithful might come together in church community. But even without the gathered church, we are still held accountable to the precepts of our Baptismal Covenant, our allegiance to the teachings of Christ.
Peter reminds us, “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.” (Acts 2: 32 – 33) Peter’s words are not limited to his time and day: they are meant for us today as well.
Peter continues, “Therefore let the entire house of Israel [and indeed the world] know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2: 36) Being a Christian can be painful when we remember that we have something to also be ashamed of, that is, the participation in the death of the Son of God. We might also ponder about any acts we do today that are inconsistent with the faithful covenant we have made to be a Christian and amend our lives accordingly, Church notwithstanding.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John