“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
(Please read Acts 2:31-33)
Jewish leaders had incited a riot to seize and beat the apostle Paul on the false assumption that Paul had brought Gentiles into the temple. The Roman commander in Jerusalem then arrested him, beginning a series of hearings for Paul from which justice was notably absent. After Paul languished in prison at Caesarea more than two years, a new Roman governor, Festus, inherited the case. In describing it to a visiting dignitary Festus included the comment that Paul’s accusers “simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a certain dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 25:19, NIV).
Festus summarized the issue very well. In an earlier hearing, Paul had declared, “I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead” (Acts 23:6). And on another occasion he asked, “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” (26:8). To this day, though, many still think of Jesus as a dead man and think his resurrection too fantastic to believe. Yet some of the same people have no problem with believing in astrology, magic and superstitions of various kinds.
There are many reasons for believing Jesus was raised from the dead, among the most powerful of which is the fact that people close to him believed it, and numbers of them even died for their faith. We should be ever grateful to them and many like them in succeeding generations who helped make it possible for us to know Him and to sing, from the heart, “I know that my Redeemer lives!”