Third Sunday of Easter

by Bear Wade

Darkness in the disciples
Luke 24:36b-48
Third Sunday of Easter
analysis by Ed Schroeder

Two of the lectionary texts in the RCL for Easter III (April 13) are from Luke’s hand: Acts 3:12-19 (Peter’s sermon in Solomon’s Colonnade) and Luke 24:36b-48 (Jesus’ final words to the disciples prior to his ascension at the end of Luke’s gospel). Herewith matrices for both. 
Cheers! Ed 

Luke’s fundamental theological matrix surfaces in both texts. To review that pattern of Luke’s theology see Sabb.theol. #44. This was a study of the Christmas gospel (Luke 2). Its six basic parts were these three diagnostic steps: Night, The Frightful Visitor, Lost; and then the prognostic triad was: Savior, Joy, Glorifying. Here’s how that matrix shines through in

THE DAY’S SECOND READING, Acts 3:12-19, which I suggest you extend to v. 26.

STAGE 1. Peter’s hearers are still benighted about what’s happening here at temple gate Beautiful, as well as ignorant about their own culpable actions in the death of the Holy and Righteous One, the power that healed the crippled beggar.

STAGE 2. At a deeper level they are turned away from God with sins not blotted out (19), turned toward, not away, from wickedness (26). Not following Moses’ own words about the Messiah. Thus exposed to Moses’ sanction (23), which is….

STAGE 3. Sins not wiped out, completely cut off from God’s people. Lost to God.

STAGE 4. “But God raised him from the dead”(14) and sends him right back as savior to the lost “to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” This one is “the author of life.” His name gives complete healing (16).

STAGE 5. Repentance (turning away from other names) and Faith in that name brings “times of refreshing” (16, 19, 22b).

STAGE 6. Now segue to the man just healed: “Walking and jumping and praising God.” In the technical language of the Easter Psalm 118, that’s “todah.”

THE DAY’S GOSPEL Luke 24:36b-48 (Add v. 49.)

STAGE 1. Darkness in the disciples: minds closed to the scriptures (45). Even in this last meeting with the risen Jesus–they are startled and frightened, “spooked,” when he stands among them.

STAGE 2. Questionings in the heart. “Not believing for joy” (41). Whatever that paradox means, the new mind-set (Greek: metanoia) “repentance” (47), a specific gift of Easter, has not yet taken over within them.

STAGE 3. If no longer completely “lost” to God, they are not yet “home” either.

STAGE 4. Saving these still half-lost disciples, joyful disbelievers, Jesus offers the passion tokens of his hands and feet, opens their minds to the scriptures and thus to himself, especially his death and resurrection.

STAGE 5. Disbelief is finally and fully over-joyed when (49) the “promise of the Father” comes, when Pentecost “clothes them with power from on high.”

STAGE 6. Witnesses: preaching repentance and forgiveness in his name to the nations.


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