Hallwood Ecumenical Parish
Bethesda, Palace Fields & St. Mark’s, Beechwood
Church of England – Methodist – United Reformed Church
18 April 2021
“You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:48
The followers of Jesus had hoped that he was the promised one, the Messiah, sent by God to redeem Israel. But he has been killed. It had all been too good to be true; their hopes were dashed, their dreams shattered. But now Jesus is standing in front of them – or is he? They don’t know what to think or believe. Then he speaks in his familiar voice: “Peace be with you… look at my hands and my feet… touch me… give me something to eat”. At last they know beyond doubt that, what he promised would happen, has happened, Jesus has risen from the dead and is truly alive again. This is their new and eternal reality.
The disciples were right in believing that Jesus is God’s promised Messiah. Their mistake lay in thinking that the Messiah would be a warrior king who would overthrow all enemies of Israel and establish his rule of peace and justice.
Now the risen Jesus opens their hearts and minds to understand that the redemption of all people lies in their confession of their sins and God’s forgiveness of them. This has always been God’s promise revealed in scripture.
The disciples, once paralysed by grief and fear, become a dynamic group proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s forgiveness of their sins through the redeeming love of God’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
They are witnesses of this great truth and we, too, are called to be witnesses in our generation.
We are called to be witnesses of the living God: loving Father, redeeming Son and empowering Spirit. We are called to tell our stories, our Gospel, and to reach out to those around us who need our witness of that Good News in their lives.
Rev’d Ken Davey