The Easter season has a fascinating focus on the disciples. In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see the disciples’ faith in Jesus confronted when they stand before the ruling body of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin. The Apostles had been forbidden to “teach in that name.” Yet they continued to bring the message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection to the people of Jerusalem.
Maybe even more pointedly stated they were impelled by the joy of Jesus’ resurrection and their own transformed lives because of it! It was too much “Good News” to keep inside. There would be no way now (after the resurrection) that they could keep quiet! The Acts of the Apostles consistently reflects the vigor of the preaching and teaching and the Holy Spirit-empowered activities of the disciples as they recognized how they were blessed by God in the person of Jesus.
Now the disciples would follow in the footsteps of the Master fearlessly. Now they would even be led to give their lives because of their commitment to Christ in faith. So in today’s reading the disciples, like Jesus before them, are confronted by the Sanhedrin and made to account for their actions. Their response to them is clear and uncomplicated: “we must obey God rather than men.” And, likewise as they dealt with Jesus, the Sanhedrin became infuriated and wanted to put the disciples to death.
We today are like the disciples of Jesus. Similarly transformed by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we are invited to extend our faith to others by word and deed. To do that effectively we need to experience the transformative joy Jesus’ disciples experienced because of the resurrection.
Clearly, Easter joy is a gift of God. Let it be our prayer that we can receive the Easter joy that God delights in showering on us. May we, like Jesus’ disciples, allow it to transform our lives.Lord, our God, we ask today for the Easter joy that impelled your friends as they boldly proclaimed your message of peace and love in their time by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.
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