Friday of Week 4 of Easter – First Reading

Commentary on Acts 13:26-33

Paul continues his discourse on salvation history and on how Jesus was handed over by the leaders of his people into the hands of the Romans and executed.  He addresses his words both to the Jews in his audience (“descendants of Abraham’s family”) and the gentile converts (“others who fear God”).

Paul makes it clear that the Jerusalem leaders and the people in the city failed to recognise the true identity of Jesus as the expected Messiah.  However, he does not in any way implicate his hearers.

In doing what they did, Jerusalem was only fulfilling the well-known words of the Old Testament prophets – prophets whose readings were heard every Sabbath in the synagogue, and hence with which his hearers would be familiar.  And, by handing over an innocent man unjustly into the hands of Pilate, they were simply accomplishing everything about Jesus that had been written in those same ancient readings.

But it was not the end:

God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem and they are now his witnesses to the people.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days. Paul and his companions now are proclaiming this good news of what God has done for his people through Jesus Christ.  He emphasises that it is all the expected fulfilment of everything that was prophesied.

Jesus is no upstart.  He is the expected climax to the history of God’s people.  Paul quotes from the Psalm:

You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
(Ps 2:7)

The words clearly are pointing to Jesus as God’s Son. By his resurrection, Christ was enthroned as Messiah, and from then on his human nature enjoyed all the privileges of the Son of God.  Paul’s words are an unambiguous invitation to the Jews of Antioch to become believers and disciples. Let us, too, renew our commitment to following with all our heart and soul in the steps of the dying and rising Jesus.

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