April 15, 2012

Peter’s Sermon

Posted in Atonement, Eastertide, Resurrection, Suffering Servant at 1:47 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

based on Acts 3:12-36

Heinous crime, to kill life’s Author,
But His life could not stay dead.
Yet His rising did not threaten
Those whose thorns had pierced His head.
With forgiveness freely offered
Messiah’s foes become His friends
As they turn from their rebellion,
Being cleansed from all their sins.
While they wait the restoration
Of the undecaying earth,
Blessings flow from Abraham’s Offspring,
To all nations through new birth.
In the paradox of Heaven,
Life has swallowed up the grave,
And the Son has borne dishonor
For the profit of the slave.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


This poem was based on the first reading in today’s liturgy. I love the way Acts 3 pulls together so many threads from the Scriptures to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who should have been expecting Him and who should have recognized what He had to do. Their cries of “Hosanna!” (Save now!) turned into “Crucify Him!” not because they recognized that He would have to die in order for them to live but because they were done with Him. They wanted success as the world defines it, and He did not have political power or earthly riches to offer them. The greatest ingratitude of all was the rejection of Jesus Christ, who was Immanuel, God with us. Political power is a pale substitute for the presence of God Almighty!

The picture that St. Peter draws of his listeners as the ones who purposely forfeited the life of their Messiah so that the murderer could go free is very powerful. Hearing that and knowing that He has risen from the grave might have caused some to panic. What if He wanted revenge? But Jesus Christ has two ways of dealing with His enemies. Those who repent are no longer His enemies but His friends. But as St. Peter warns, anyone who fails to heed the word of Christ will be cut off from His people (Acts 3:23).

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