Grace to you, and Happy Easter!
I continue our reflections on the Resurrection.
Acts of the Apostles summarizes the activities of the first disciples and witnesses of the life of Jesus Christ. The book describes, in summary, but deliberate way, the accounts of the life of the early Church as observed by a non-Jew medical professional, Luke.
Many believe that those actions or witnesses of the apostles could be appropriately called the Acts of the Spirit of Jesus. One could also describe them as the acts of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Apostles. But only two of the apostles' activities were prominently documented, namely, Saint Peter’s and Saint Paul’s. Saints John and James' stories were treated sparingly in the book.
The stories in Acts of the Apostles are compelling. If one wants to learn how the early Church bore witness to the faith after the ascension of the Lord, Acts of the Apostles should be the first document to review.
Here, I am particularly interested in Acts 4:33. It says: "With great power, the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.”
The turning point in the apostle's faith-journey was the fact of the Resurrection. From the news of the Resurrection, a new faith-life began for them. When the Pentecost came, their preaching was invigorated by the clear message that Jesus is alive. He resurrected, and he is, therefore, the Lord.
Upon the Resurrection rested the decisive moment of the audacity of faith of the early disciples. Paul's conversion drew him to the daring truth of the Resurrection as well: "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection" (Phil 3:10).
As believers, we do not need to be apologetic about the fact that Jesus resurrected. It is upon this truth lies the boldness of our faith, at least in part. Without Easter, our faith as Christians would've been empty.
The experience of the Lord's Resurrection was so strong in the minds and hearts of the disciples of Jesus that it was a constant refrain on their lips. The confession has additional favor too. Hear how Scripture describes it: "Great favor was accorded them all [meaning the disciples]” (Acts 4: v. 33b).
Favor could also be translated as grace or blessing. The Christian blessing, favor, or grace flows from faith in the Risen Lord. Constant recourse to the Christ of the Resurrection increases our spiritual wealth. Thus we grow from grace to grace, favor to favor, glory to glory.
I pray that our life and faith are firm on the truth of the Resurrection. May favor be granted to you and me, too, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Week of Easter, Tuesday: Acts 4:32-37; Jn 3:7b-15]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.