Third Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19
Todayís reading is taken from the great speech that Peter made on the first Pentecost Day. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he found words that he probably had not even known were there - perhaps even a new conviction that he had not known was there!
He roots his proclamation deep within the history of Israel - back to the man who met God under the stars. This man, Abraham left his homeland to journey with that same God with the promise that his descendants would number as the stars in the sky and grains of sand in the desert.
Peterís speech takes place at a festival when Jews were gathered from many nations. These are the promised descendants and they have been startled to hear the exuberance of the apostles cascading into the street. They are even more bewildered to hear the voices of those apostles speaking in the many languages of the visitors to Jerusalem.
This sense of wonder must have greatly affected them - and made them more ready to receive the words that Peter spoke.
Peter lays the facts before the people. Jesus had walked among them and they had not known him Worse, they had handed him over to be crucified - choosing to save a murderer rather than the prince of life. But God had not abandoned Jesus - He had glorified him and raised him to life.
God knew that, as Jesus himself had said on the cross, they had not known what they were doing. In fact, Peter recognises that the events were part of the great sweep of Godís plan for the world. However, the challenge that Peter lays before the people is - now that you do know, what are you going to do?
He continues to lay the same challenge before us today...
What does this mean for me?