Psalm 11:4, 5, 7
In todayís readings, we see a stark contrast of how the disciples relate to the risen Jesus. In Acts, Paul has been turned over by his own people, arrested, is in prison, and yet continues to preach about the risen Jesus. Christ is very real and present to Paul in and through the resurrection, even though he is not physically present. It is that presence that gives him the ongoing strength, fortitude, faith, and hope to continue to preach the Good News.
In contrast, we have the resurrection appearances in Johnís Gospel where, while the disciples are overjoyed to have Christ in their presence and to celebrate a meal together, Peter and the beloved disciple continue to vie for position, authority, and the love of Christ. The all too human dimensions of the disciples, in the presence of the risen Lord, brings a smile to my face, and gives me great hope. Even after the mystery, joy, and presence of the Risen Christ in his midst, the human concerns of Peter who is threatened by the beloved discipleís presence (though we must remember that this is the beloved discipleís account of events) is evident. And this just after Peter had reaffirmed his commitment to Jesus through his three-fold affirmation of his love for Christ.
Two views of discipleship are presented in Acts and Johnís Gospel;
and yet, they are two sides of the same coin. The faith, commitment,
loyalty, trust, and willingness to suffer for the Gospel in the case of
Paul and Acts, and the broken, wounded, competitive, jealous, power struggle
between Peter and the beloved disciple in Johnís Gospel in the presence
of Jesus. Both dimensions constitute our Christian call to discipleship
and our all too human response to this call. As Christians, we are
Paul and Peter and the beloved disciple. And the Easter message is
that Christ totally embraces us in these dimensions. We succeed and
we fail as disciples, but this is what it means to be a disciple and to
follow Jesus. The good news is that we are loved unconditionally,
not on the basis of the outcomes of our discipleship, but on our willingness
to become disciples and embark on the journey. This is the Good News
of the Easter message.
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