Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Easter
Luke 24:13-35; 1 Peter 1:17-2:3; Acts 2:14a,36-41
The disciples traveling to Emmaus had their eyes opened to his presence in the moment when he broke bread with them. Looking back, this should not surprise us. Throughout his ministry Jesus would often share a meal with those he was teaching. Sometimes this created a scandal: “This man eats with sinners! (Lk 15:2)” For Jesus, the lover of mankind, teaching and eating have much in common; both are a form of intimate fellowship in which we receive gifts from God – whether bread for the body or bread for the soul. When the risen Jesus broke bread with his disciples for the first time since his resurrection he was telling them he loved them and that all is well, in a way that only sharing a meal together can communicate . We experience the same every time we take communion (Lk 24).
When the Jewish onlookers at the Pentecost miracle hear that the One they crucified is the (now risen) Christ they ask Peter in desperation, “What shall we do?” He invites them to the sacrament of Holy Baptism and its accompanying gifts of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. He also makes clear that this sacrament and its promises are intended for people of all ages and origins (Acts 2).
We hear Peter’s voice again in our Epistle (the sermon text for Sunday). He tells us to fear God – not out of uncertainty over how He will treat us, but precisely because we know the incredibly high ransom He was willing to pay for our redemption. In addition, we are to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. This, too, is not in order that we might be saved but because we have been saved – “born again” by the imperishable Word of God (1 Pet 1).