Going Deeper 04.14.2021

The first reading for Easter 3... First Reading: Acts 3:12-19

When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out…”

The text comes on the heels of Peter and John healing a man who had been lame from birth.  Of course, as they point out, it was actually Jesus doing the healing through them.  While a crowd gathered in utter amazement, an even more important miracle was about to take place.  According to the verses which follow, "many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand."  In other words, they turned to Go had had their sins "wiped out."

As we sought to do during the recent season of Lent, the people in this story were led to take personal responsibility for the death of Jesus.  As the hymn verse goes, "It was our sin that held Him there..."  More importantly, it was His love that held Jesus there.  It was His great desire that our sins, and the sins of the whole world, would be "wiped out."

As we continue to dwell on the ongoing impact of Easter on our lives, we need to remember and return here daily.  Martin Luther wrote this in his Small Catechism Explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism: "What does Baptism mean for daily living? It means that our sinful self, with all its evil deeds and desires, should be drowned through daily repentance; and that day after day a new self should arise to live with God in righteousness and purity forever."  This is the process of transformation, of responding to the incredible truth that by grace our sins have been washed away by turning away from our sin and seeking to become more and more fully what we already are-- children of God.

With You in the Process,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"