In the reading today from Acts, Peter shares the Gospel – the Good News, the proclamation of good tidings – that Jesus was anointed by God (i.e., God’s Messiah) and that God has raised Jesus from the dead as a sign that he has been given authority as Lord. This is the Good News that God’s just rule over the world is known through Jesus. In Peter proclaiming this to Gentiles, it makes the point that the Good News of God’s just and gracious rule is for all the world. As Isaiah had boldly proclaimed centuries earlier, God’s triumph will be Good News for all peoples, even for those who have not previously known inclusion in God’s family.
As we again read from Psalm 118, we can today hear this song in the light of Easter. In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God has done the long-hoped for intervention that delivers His people. God has brought salvation.
In the selection from 1st Corinthians, Paul too shares God’s Good News with the world. It is the Good News of transformation for both the world, and the individuals in it. As the transformed Paul notes with gladness, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.”
The Gospel readings from John and Mark present two accounts from Easter morning. Mark’s Gospel describes the women followers of Jesus going to his tomb and hearing, “He has been raised; he is not here.” In the reading from John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene has alerted others to Jesus’ absence and stands weeping when she is surprised by someone she mistakes as the gardener. Although she sees Jesus, she initially does not recognize Him. He must disclose His identity to her. As we followers of Christ behold the empty tomb and the often disturbing world in which it exists, we too can struggle with absence, misperception, and lack of recognition.
But like Mary, we behold and follow a Savior who cuts through our mistakes and haze when He calls us by name. He calls us to follow Him into a new life in the new world created on Easter morning. God’s new garden has been brought to life, and it is growing as His Kingdom in which we are invited to live and work. Like Mary, may we too proclaim, “I have seen the Lord.”