Everything old is new again

24 Apr

The reading from Acts for Sunday is the proclamation of those same disciples who were locked in the room on Sunday morning.

Peter, after his Pentecost experience, starts loudly telling people about who Jesus was and is in Acts 2:14a,22-32.

That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight.
22-28 “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him. David said it all:

I saw God before me for all time.
Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.
I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic;
I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.
I know you’ll never dump me in Hades;
I’ll never even smell the stench of death.
You’ve got my feet on the life-path,
with your face shining sun-joy all around.

29-36 “Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried—his tomb is in plain sight today. But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom, seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah—‘no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’ This Jesus, God raised up.

I am sure someone has done the statistic, but I wonder how much of the New Testament is taken from the Hebrew Scriptures. OK, I just Googled it and found that about 1/3 of the New Testament is taken from the Hebrew Scripture. You might say, “Of course, because Jesus was Jewish and he was the fulfillment of the prophecy about a Messiah.” Yet, how often do we think that God was doing something new, just for Christians.

Jesus was restating, and embodying what God has always asked of the chosen people. The classic statement is “reformation is just recollection” That is, the people who have done the most meaning reforming in our world, are simply calling us back the the truths we know. Or, as Robert Fulghum wrote, “All I ever needed to know I learned in Kindergarten.”

Yes, Christ has risen from the dead. Yes, God’s love is more powerful than death. Yes, God creates new hope and life and possibilities each day. Let’s try living these truths. Peace.

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