He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42
March 19, 2021
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
My prayer for us this Easter is that like those first disciples, we will experience the Risen Christ in such a way that we will be renewed in our faith and strengthened for Christ’s continued mission in the world.
Peter recalled in Acts after the Resurrection, Jesus had commanded them to preach and testify to the people that Jesus is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. As the judge of the living and the dead, Jesus decided how we would live out this role.
Let me quickly recount three ways he did this in Luke’s gospel. First, Jesus does not condemn his disciples after their failure at the cross. Instead, the Risen Christ offers them peace. (Luke 24:36-49)
Second, in his earthly ministry, Jesus judges the human systems that exclude the poor, the disabled, the prisoner and the oppressed. (Luke 4:18-19) He blesses and liberates those brutalized by our human systems.
Third, in his most famous teaching, the parables of the Lost (Luke 15-1-32), Jesus tells of a “judge” that seeks out the lost to restore them and not to punish them. He tells of a “judge” that celebrates the recovery and restoration of the lost.
After failure, people need peace. After injustice, people need blessing and liberation. After losing their way, people need recovery. May we like the early church, boldly testify and proclaim this Jesus to a world not so unlike the world of Jesus.
The Reverend Joseph A. Johnson