Acts 2:14, 22-23
Psalm 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter announces the Good News of the Resurrection of Christ to the Jews. He announces three things about Jesus. First, Peter recalls that Jesus worked mighty deeds, wonders and signs. God :worked these signs through Jesus the Nazorean. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus did these signs so that we would believe in him and in the one who sent him. The signs point to something greater: physical healing points to spiritual healing, restoring physical sight points to seeing with eyes of faith, restoring physical life points to the bestowal of eternal life. In the age of the Church, the Sacraments are the new efficacious signs of God’s grace. We receive eternal life through Baptism and the Eucharist, we are strengthened for our mission and for spiritual worship through Confirmation, we are restored to spiritual health through Reconciliation and Anointing. The Sacrament of Marriage introduces a man and a women into the bond of love between Christ and his Church. The Sacrament of Orders configures a man with the person Christ the Head and introduces him into the priesthood of Christ.
Second, Peter recalls that Jesus was condemned to death. This was not a failure, but was in accord with the plan of God. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God promised a savior who would redeem man from sin and death. Isaiah reveals that this savior will take upon himself the sin of the people, destroy death and re-establish justice in the world. Jesus, Peter says, is crucified by lawless men, and in this way Jesus frees us from sin and death.
Third, Peter proclaims to the people that God raised Jesus up, and released him from death. Peter proves this by quoting King David in Psalm 16 and applying David’s words to Jesus Christ: God will not abandon Jesus’ soul to the nether world; he will not allow the body of Jesus to see corruption. David died and was buried, but was enlightened to prophesy about the day when Jesus would rise from the dead.
Lastly, Peter also preaches about Jesus’ heavenly mission. Jesus is exalted at the right hand of God and sends forth the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Counselor who guides the Church to the fullness of truth about God and his Christ. He helps the apostles understand all that Jesus said and did and does now in heaven. Through the Ascension into heaven, Jesus intercedes for us before God; he is our merciful and faithful high-priest and is preparing a place in heaven for his bride the Church.
The many different reactions to the resurrection of Jesus are on display in the Gospel. The soldiers, the chief priests, the women and the disciples of Jesus all saw the same thing: the empty tomb. The soldiers accepted a bribe and hid the truth about Jesus. The chief priest and the elders were afraid of the truth about Jesus and also refused to believe. Mary Magdalene weeps for a time before the empty tomb, but her tears of sorrow turn to tears of joy when she hears her name and encounters the Risen Christ. Mary and the women fall to the ground and worship Jesus as Lord. The apostles run to the tomb to find it empty and also encounter the risen Christ. John saw the empty tomb and believed, Thomas touched the risen body of Jesus and saw his wounds, and believed.
We too are faced with the same decision. Will we refuse to believe in Jesus’ Resurrection like the soldiers and the chief priests or will we welcome the joy of the Resurrection in faith? The great deeds, wonders and signs Jesus worked point us toward the truth about Jesus: he is true God and true man; he is our savior and redeemer, he is our Lord and our God. To those who welcome him in faith, he gives eternal life and a share in his victory over death.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.