April 21, 2012
3rd Sunday of Easter - B (April 22, 2012)
CommentaryLuke 24: 35-48
You Are Witnesses
In the Gospel According to Luke, "You are witnesses of these things" form the second to last sentence of Jesus' spoken words to the disciples.
And who are these witnesses?
Just in this passage alone, they are portrayed as those who are "troubled," "startled and terrified." They fail to recognize Jesus, thinking that "they were seeing a ghost."
They have lived with Jesus. They have witnessed all the words and actions of Jesus. Moreover, they have witnessed how Jesus' words have been fulfilled in his death and resurrection. Still, Jesus once more needs to "open their minds to understand the Scriptures."
Yet, to these very disciples, who are weak, who have failed, and who are troubled and terrified, Jesus affirms them, "You are witnesses of these things."
The "things" that they are witnesses of are "repentance" and the "forgiveness of sins" that the Christ gave to them in his suffering, death and rising.
Who then would be better qualified to be witnesses of these things than these disciples?
They know first hand of God's forgiveness since they have failed over and over again, yet have been the first to receive and know of that forgiveness from God?
After this sentence "You are witnesses of these things," come the final spoken words from Jesus to these failed and forgiven witnesses in Luke (not included in today's Gospel reading, but significant): the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, "Behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you"
There, to the failed, then forgiven disciples, Jesus now empowers and commissions them, "You are witnesses of these things."