Collect and Readings for Fourth Sunday of Easter – Acts 9:36-end, Genesis 7.1-5, 11-18, 8.6-18, 9.8-13, 15:20-21, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-end, John 10:22-30
The Prayer for todayAlmighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life: raise us, who trust in him, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
With the benefit of hindsight, we might wonder how people could fail to make the connection between Jesus' way of living and the promise of the Messiah. Surely for anyone fortunate enough to witness the miracles of healing, the teaching and the grace and wisdom of this man, the truth must have been obvious.
But in fact, we often fail to notice the obvious, often because what we see is not what we were expecting, and our preconceived ideas can be most effective at blinding us for a while. We must also bear the enormity of the implications for those who met him of Jesus being the Christ. It was vital that such a claim should be very thoroughly checked out and no rash decisions made. Jesus respects where we are coming from, and his sensible advice to study the facts is a recognition, both of our need to make sound judgement and of the value of using the minds God has given us.
So if we take Jesus' advice to his questioners and look at the signs and miracles, what do we see? We find deep compassion and love for people. We find the power of forgiveness being used to liberate imprisoned souls from guilt which has weighed them down for years. We even find the authority which can reach into death and pull people out. And, when we look at Jesus' followers, continuing his work in the power of the Spirit after the Resurrection, we see those same powers at work. Peter's approach to Tabitha has close connections with Jesus' raising of Jairus' daughter. Peter is clearly allowing the living Jesus to work through his own body in order to restore this woman to life. It is exactly the same power as we saw in Jesus' own physical ministry on earth.
The evidence points us in the direction of recognising, in the person of Jesus, the Christ or promised Messiah, at one with God the Father, and willing to rescue us as our Saviour. It directs us to see the truth of the Resurrection, as we see Jesus continuing his work through the members of the Church, his body. The Resurrection has made it possible for that life to spread all over the world and all time. The readings from Revelation during this Easter season continue to give us glimpses of resurrection life in the context of eternity, where there is lasting healing and wholeness.
Some things to reflect on:
If someone asked you why you were convinced Jesus was alive today, what would you offer as evidence?
What do you think Jesus meant when he said, ' I and the Father are one'?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson