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Monday, March 31, 1997

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Easter Week

Acts 2:14, 22-32
Psalm 16
Matthew 28:8-15

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the big 4-0

"This is the story that circulates among the Jews to this very day." —Matthew 28:15

The chief priests gave the soldiers who had been stationed at Jesus' tomb "a large bribe with the instructions: 'You are to say, "His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were asleep" ' " (Mt 28:12-13). These purchased lies were very effective. Matthew comments that these lies circulated among the Jews when he compiled his Gospel — possibly over forty years after Jesus' resurrection.

A Jew crippled from birth sat begging at one of the gates of the Temple (Acts 3:2). He was over forty years old (Acts 4:22). He had never taken a step in his life.

Many of the Jews during Matthew's time resembled that crippled beggar. For forty years, they had put their faith in lies. As a result, they were paralyzed and prevented from standing up in faith for the risen Christ. Many Christians in our time are like the crippled beggar. For years, even more than forty years, we have been paralyzed and prevented from witnessing for the risen Christ. Each Easter, we talk about Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chickens, the Final Four in college basketball, the Opening Day of major league baseball, the weather — anything but Jesus.

You don't have to be spiritually paralyzed. You can stand up for Jesus for the first time or for the first time in a long time. Jesus is risen! You can rise above conformity to the world and be Jesus' witness.

Prayer:  Jesus, raise me and free me to be Your witness now.

Promise:  "This is the Jesus God has raised up, and we are His witnesses." —Acts 2:32

Praise:  Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Seek First the Kingdom.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996