On this third Sunday of Easter, we continue to celebrate in a more pronounced way the power and meaning of the Resurrection. Luke and Peter, whose words we hear today, were witnesses to the Resurrection and had interactions with the risen Christ. They were among the first to grapple with what it all meant and to share its Good News. We are recipients of that Good News and come together in worship – to be glad and rejoice in it.
Just as we return to their texts today, Luke and Peter turned to the most sacred texts of their time to make meaning of the Resurrection. As we still do, they sang the ancient psalms of David: My heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted … because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. A thousand years after King David, this verse was sung anew by the disciples who witnessed the Resurrection. After their experience of Jesus and the first Easter, they found new meaning in these ancient lines about salvation.
Prior to Jesus, this psalm was sung in joyful anticipation of a king like David to restore his powerful throne. God’s people would triumph, saved from corruption and the netherworld, through this mighty and regal descendent. But when judges, prophets, and kings [like David] failed to turn his people from sin and its destruction, and bring them to repentance, God sent his only Son as priest, prophet, and king. He would reconcile us to the Father and would save our souls not through silver or gold but by his own precious blood.
It was difficult for the disciples to understand all the events surrounding Jesus. Cleopas and his companion were debating all that had happened as they walked to Emmaus. It was not until a traveling companion interpreted Scripture for them and broke bread with them that they saw Jesus and comprehended how he had fulfilled the Scriptures.
Fulfillment in Christ was known by God before the foundation of the world, Peter tells us. Salvation through Christ’s sacrificial love poured forth was always the plan. The world was founded on it, the disciples witnessed it, and we are all redeemed by it. This is what we continue to celebrate this Easter season: God’s love and mercy from the foundation of the world through Christ, broken and shared for us. Let us be glad and rejoice!