Acts 2:14a, 22a, 23b-24, 32-33, 36 - But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: ... "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, ... delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. ... This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. ... Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Some time ago, on an internet forum I belong to, someone started a conversation with the title, "Who killed Jesus?" From the opening post, it was clear the writer wanted a fight about whether it was the Jews or the Romans to blame. It didn't quite work out that way, though. Another poster nipped in and wrote, "I did." The discussion ended right there.
It's true, isn't it? I crucified Jesus. You crucified Jesus as well, if you admit that what the Bible says is true. Every human being has had a hand in that murder. It doesn't matter if we are Jews or Romans or modern-day human beings. There is a deadly infection of evil in the universe, and all of us suffer from it and contribute to it in some way. That's what Jesus came to destroy. It took His death to do it—to put things right again. So yes—His death is on us.
And yet, you'll notice that Peter starts with the bad news, but he doesn't end up there. Yes, we crucified the Son of God, but we weren't the only people involved in this story. God Himself raised Him up, raised Him from the dead, never to die again. And why? Precisely so that Jesus could share that joyful, perfect, never-ending life with us—the very people who killed Him!
The story starts out like a tragedy—an innocent person suffering and dying through no fault of His own. But once we get to the resurrection, it's clear that this is no tragedy—it's what the ancient poets called a comedy, a story with a happily-ever-after. That's exactly what we get. Jesus rises from the dead; evil is destroyed. He surprises His followers, and joy and forgiveness follow. Jesus' work is accomplished, new life is now available to anybody who will take it, and the disciples run out of their locked room to go and spread the good news to everyone who will listen.
I hope you like comedies—because the joy from that first explosion of wonder and delight on Easter Sunday is still echoing through the universe. Nothing will stuff it back in its bottle. Even today, people are coming to trust in Jesus, lives are changing, and God's light is shining into even the darkest corners of our world. The Man we crucified has turned out to be the risen Son of God who loves us. And He will share His life with all of us, everyone who believes.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for this wonderful Good News! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you like comedies or tragedies best? Why?
2. Do you think any of the followers of Jesus saw the happy ending coming? Why or why not?
3. Are there other times you have heard of a victim becoming friends (or better!) with those who hurt him? How and why?
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