The Christian faith proclaims, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” Christians proclaim this Good News! In one of the first sermons about Easter, St. Peter said: “We’ve been called to preach to the people and testify that Jesus Christ is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.”
There’s an old story about a well-dressed man who was looking at an Easter display in a downtown department store. A young boy in dirty jeans and messy hair walked up to the display. The man, a good Christian, pointed to the picture of the crucifixion and asked the boy: “Do you know who that is on the cross?” The boy answered: “Oh yes, sir! That’s Jesus. The woman there crying is his mother. Them’s the soldiers. They killed him.” The man patted the boy’s head, saying “very good.” As the man walked away, the boy cried out: “Hey Mister! I forgot to tell you! He rose from the dead!”
I love that story! We need to tell others: Jesus rose from the dead! Jesus was the first, inviting us into the same resurrection! Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we too can live a new life!
Peter was the one who adamantly promised earlier that he would NEVER deny Jesus. He failed on that count! But, because of the cross and resurrection, Peter was forgiven! By the grace of God, he became stronger and preached with confidence.
In our best moments, we, like Peter can promise to never deny Jesus Christ. But there’s so much in our lives that tempt us to deny that we’re truly Christians. Immoral behaviors abound. There’s a sin of every type you can think of. We might not deny Jesus by the words of Peter: “I deny him. I don’t know him.” But, let’s be clear, unchristian behavior is such a denial.
So what happens after such a denial? Jesus enters and puts his arms around us, saying, “I forgive you. I know YOU.” That’s what matters the most. This encounter will strengthen us to be better disciples, better servants of God.
Jesus is NOT dead! Jesus is RISEN from the dead! Alleluia!