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The Author of Life

April 9, 2018

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3: 13-15

Our time at St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo last February came back to me when I read the psalm for next Sunday. Singing the psalms with the monks at Lauds and Vespers are my favorite parts of the day when I am at the Abbey. The antiphon to Psalm 4 is from verse 1: “Answer me when I call to you.” [1] The New Testament is a fulfillment of what was prophesied in the Old Testament. It was God’s answer to his people’s call for mercy: “Have mercy on me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4: 1b).

God heard the prayers of his people, and sent Jesus. The entire Old Testament points the way to Jesus as the Messiah. That is the premise of Ron Rhodes’ book, Christ Before the Manger.[2] But more than two thousand years before Mr. Rhodes wrote his book, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, the risen Christ told his disciples the same thing: “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. . . This is what I told you while I was still with you; everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:39, 44).   A few of the Old Testament examples pointing the way to Jesus as the Messiah are found in Deuteronomy 18:15 (his role as a prophet); Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 (his suffering); Psalm 16:9-11 and Isaiah 53:10,11 (his resurrection).

Peter confirms Jesus’ divinity when he refers to him as the Holy and Righteous One and the author of life in lashing out at the bystanders near the temple: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus . . . You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3: 13-15). But Peter goes on to assuage the crowd: “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance . . . But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer” (Acts 3: 17-18).

So added to all of the other evidence that Jesus is the Messiah foretold of old, is Jesus’ own testimony as well as the eyewitness reports of his disciples.

John explains that it is because of God’s great love for us that he made us his children: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3: 1). The creator and author of life humbled himself to become one of us—to live among us and to die for us because of his great love for us. And he calls us his kids. But God is more than a super parent. He is the resplendent Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the self-existent, immutable, all-powerful, ever present, all-knowing, faithful, just, loving—and most importantly—Holy God.

Our God has stood the test of time. He is the God who created and watched over Adam and Eve and their progeny. He is the God worshipped by Abraham in 2019 B.C., by Joseph who ruled Egypt in 1885 B.C., who chose Moses to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt to freedom in 1446 B. C., who anointed David king in 1010 B.C., who guided Esther in 479 B.C., who came to earth as a man between 4 and 6 B.C., and who chose Saul (aka Paul) to be his apostle. This is the same God who sent his Spirit to live within us and to help us, because he loves us.

It is mind boggling to me to think that this God—with all of those attributes— considers me his child. I am one of an estimated 108 billion people who have walked the earth since the beginning of time—yet I am a cherished member of his family—and so are you!   God knows our names. He cares about us. He knows the unique challenges that we each face, and offers to comfort and guide us in our daily lives. Acknowledge him for who he is, read his Word, talk to him, and ask him to guide you in your struggles. Ask him to send his angels to wrap their arms around you and comfort you. Ask him to hide you and protect you in the cleft of the rock. Ask him to guide you in all of life’s challenges. You won’t regret it.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Third Sunday of Easter are Acts 3: 11-21; Psalm 4; 1 John 3: 1-7; Luke 24: 36-49.

[2] Ron Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger: the life and times of the preincarnate Christ (1992) Wipf and Stock Publishers.

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