The Effect of the Resurrection
Part III: Losing our Ignorance
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ circumcise your heart, cutting away all the ignorance, hatred and sin. Leaving you holy, transformed in heart, soul and mind. Amen!
I need a break!
Over and over this week, there is one phrase that I kept on wanting to explore. It is one I think I understand, but there are times, where I wonder what it would be like to experience such a time.
The phrase is, “times of refreshment”
I mean if our weeks at all were similar, you don’t know what that means either.
I mean it sounds like those days when we were young and were playing baseball or in our case hockey, or whatever, and after sweating and running around I the hot sun, we all had a cold glass of Kool-aid, then dove in the lake, or a friend’s pool
That sounds refreshing!
In our reading from acts, it is not just a time of refreshment that is promised as God transforms us, as our sins are wiped away, buts times, seasons of it. Time upon time of living in that refreshment, that time when the soul is healthy!
But as to what such a time is today, I am not sure. You might say I am ignorant of such a time, but it sure sounds nice!
How could they be that ignorant?
As Peter discussed all of those who were involved in crucifying Jesus, he doesn’t call the people and their leaders, evil. He doesn’t say they are wicked, or bad. Instead, He says that they were ignorant, that they didn’t know better.
Now I suppose it is better to be called ignorant rather than evil. Still being called ignorant is not really fun to hear. In this case, where they rejected and crucified the Messiah, despite Pilate’s protest, it seems impossible. How could they not know Jesus was the Messiah?
I think before we go any farther, we need to understand what ignorance in the Bible is.
It is not about having the data about something. It goes deeper than that, and in fact, that depth is the key to defining ignorance and overcoming it.
We talked about this term last week, when the two disciples walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and they didn’t know it was him. The word isn’t talking about simple recognition, it’s the term that indicates understanding someone the way you can when you live with them for year and decades. When you can finish their sentences for them when you know how they are feeling and what is on their hearts.
It is what, for lack of a better term, I call having an intimate relationship.
Not that kind, though oddly enough, the same word in Greek and Hebrew describes that as well.
They crucified Jesus because they didn’t understand Him. Despite all the scriptures telling them about the Son of God, they did it. They sinned.
Much the same as we do when we choose to sin.
We forget Jesus, we don’t understand or really, deeply know God. And so, being ignorant about Jesus, being ignorant of God, we ignore the way He planned for us to live, a life of love and peace.
And a God draws us to Himself, as He brings us to repentance as He brings us to this transformation where we allow Him to cut away the sin, and the guilt and the shame, the ignorance is removed as well
And what we find out when we enter this relationship is that God loves us, He cares so deeply for us. He makes us whole and brings us a peace.
That is what the ignorance was hiding, that is what we couldn’t know when we didn’t understand God. And it was that way until God started to work in our lives. Until He brought us to repentance, to that place where our souls find healing, much as this lame man found healing.
Everything changes when we realize how much God loves us, how unwilling He is to be separated from us.
One pastor, in explaining how a church service is organized, explained this love of God in this way.
This is the only way the true structure of the liturgy can be restored, a structure that, as we have just seen, makes concrete in divine worship the fundamental structure of divine action. God, the Revealer, did not want to stay as solus Deus, solus Christus (God alone, Christ alone). No, he wanted to create a Body for himself, to find a Bride—he sought a response. It was really for her that the Word went forth.
This is why we do what we do, why we worship the way we do, and study the Bible and pray, and remind each other of the Lord’s presence, for the more we do, the more we know Him, in a way that is so full of peace and joy.
It is as we see this God, revealed to us, that the power of sin is broken, that it is wiped out of our lives that we are free, that we finally find the love that we so need, and the peace, and the refreshment until He comes and restores all things…as He has promised.
So let us pray…