Reflections: Monday of the Second Week of Easter

April 8, 2024 

Today’s Reading: Acts 4:32-35

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 22:20-23:13, Luke 4:16-30

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sunday’s first reading from Acts makes the early church sound perfect. Everyone shared, nobody had need, and Jesus was preached every day. If our world lived like that, a lot of our problems would be better off. Do you know how long that lasted? Three verses later, in chapter five, sin broke it. 

What’s even better than giving up everything and being taken care of completely by the Church? Giving up only part of that, and still being completely taken care of. Ananias and Sapphira had figured out how to game the system. How to get all the stuff without the same sacrifice everyone else made. The surprising part is that Peter speaks the Word of the Lord concerning their sin, and they die. As a result, “great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard these things.” (Acts 5:11) 

What is the First Commandment? You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things. Sometimes we’ve been taught that fear means respect. But that’s really more trust, not fear. Fear is knowing that God is rightly angry over sin. Sin hurts those our Lord loves. Remaining in our sin is to continue hurting those whom God loves. We should be afraid of God because of our sin. Just as Ananias and Sapphira should have feared God before sinning the way they did. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10a)

But fear isn’t the only thing we are called to. Our Lord is angry over sin, yes. But He has also poured out all that wrath upon Christ at the cross. Jesus stood in our place, endured what our sin earned. He loves us in that He sacrificed everything for our sake. Our love isn’t the cause of our faith, it’s the result of God’s grace. We love because He first loved us. And we trust Him, because He’s shown Himself trustworthy in keeping His promises. Promises that He fulfilled in His death and resurrection. 

That’s why the early church lived the way it did. Because Christ took care of their greatest needs already. Sin, death, and the devil have been overcome. And in the middle of it all? Preaching of the resurrection of Christ. That’s what was at the center then. And it’s still at the center now. Christ crucified for you. Christ risen for you. Christ forgiving your every sin. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence  And with fear and trembling stand;  Ponder nothing earthly minded,  For with blessing in His hand  Christ our God to earth descending  Comes our homage to demand. 

(LSB 621:1)

– Pastor Eli Davis is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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