Letter to the Parish - Friday 16 April 2021

First published on: 17th April 2021

Dear all,

I am one of almost nine million people who tuned in to watch the TV show 'Line of Duty' on Sunday evening. It is a show that follows the anti-corruption department of the police force as they investigate corrupt police officers. I like these kinds of shows where you must piece together the evidence to try and work out the truth. In any show like this or the documentaries about police investigations, one of the key things that is needed is to find the witnesses, who will provide the information that helps build the picture.

In this week’s passage in Acts, Peter and the disciples call themselves “witnesses”. As I have been reflecting on this reading, ready for Sunday, I have been intrigued by what they are witnesses to; what is the purpose of them being witnesses and what is the outcome?

They are witnesses to the resurrection, they are eyewitnesses and reliable. They are speaking to the Jewish people, who are shocked that the disciples have just been involved in the healing of a crippled man. They tell those listening that it was not them that healed the man, but it was faith in Jesus who the leaders and those in authority had handed over to be crucified, but who God had raised from the dead. 

To this we are witnesses (Acts 3:15)

When you have witnesses in a court case it is so that a story can be told, and a counter argument can be put up, so that the judge or jury can determine what the truth is. In a similar way the disciples are hoping that through their witness, people listening will not be in ignorance but will see the truth.

In every TV crime show or real-life crime documentaries, everyone involved is wanting and working for justice; we all want the corrupt police officer or the criminal to get what they deserve. However, Peter and the disciples say there is more to the story - the resurrection is about Justice but also Mercy.    

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  (Acts 3:19)

The outcome to their witness is that, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, people may find mercy, forgiveness and refreshment. 

Let us be encouraged by the hope we have in the resurrected Jesus and may we continue to be witnesses to His resurrection so that people may know His forgiveness and refreshment.

God Bless,

Gareth


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