Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Hallelujah! He is risen! He is risen indeed! Throughout this Lenten season we have walked with Jesus as he performed miracles, taught in parables, and wept over the city of Jerusalem. We have also taken a closer look at the city of Jerusalem today—why it is considered holy by the three Abrahamic religions, and its contemporary political situation. It is only fitting that we reflect on Jesus’ command after his resurrection, when he appeared to his disciples.
After Jesus appeared to the disciples and proved that it was truly him by revealing the wounds the cross left on his body, he took a moment to remind them how he is the fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus then gave a charge to them, and to us: repentance and forgiveness are to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Jesus calls for repentance, or turning away from sin, and assures forgiveness of those sins. While this command has at times been used in the past to enact violence upon others, the true meaning is beautiful and inviting. Remember that only a week prior, Jesus had wept over Jerusalem, the city filled with people who would quickly turn on him and call for his death. Yet, it is that very city—Jerusalem—which Jesus chose to be the launching point of repentance and forgiveness. This is the great hope and meaning we find in the resurrection; even those who shouted for Christ’s crucifixion are invited to repent and receive forgiveness.
Easter morning, as the dawn breaks, church bells can be heard joyfully resounding across the city of Jerusalem. Beginning with a sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, and continuing with masses and services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre throughout the day, Easter Sunday in Jerusalem is filled with celebration. As Christians around the world celebrate Easter, let us remember those in Jerusalem – locals and pilgrims alike, and continue to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
Thank you for the miracle of the resurrection. Thank you that even though we may walk through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, experiencing grief and suffering, resurrection hope is sure to follow. We join the disciples and Christians all around the world today, proclaiming repentance and the forgiveness of sins!
In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
This devotion was written by Molly Lorden, the CMEP1835 Coordinator for Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). She is also currently studying toward a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary.
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