Sunday 18th April 2021
3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

The words of Peter, spoken after the healing of a lame man have a significant political dimension to them; one that offers a particularly relevant way of applying the set readings to contemporary circumstances. Peter cites the man’s healing not only as evidence of the identity and power of Jesus, but as reinforcing the wrongfulness of his arrest and execution. Yet there is a clear sense within Peter’s reasoning that he does not so much apportion individual blame for Christ’s rejection, as a communal “ignorance” generated by the prevailing political systems and power structures on the part of both rulers and the ruled. This begs the question as to what political narratives and conventions Christians might be conveyed by in today’s world. The call to repent goes beyond an individual encounter with the truth of the Gospel, to one which challenges society as a whole. Peter makes the point that popularism led to the release of a murderer and the condemnation not simply of an innocent man, but God incarnate - the Messiah. This has much to say to our own media-fuelled society, particularly during an election campaign, about the power of popular narrative and the danger of unthinking compliance to its messages. These may well be the modern equivalents of the “idols and false gods” of which the Psalmist speaks.

Messages of repentance and contrast between the values of God’s Kingdom and earthly society echo throughout the set readings for the day. This has significant personal implications for the hearer, but also asks questions about how our society might and should be different.