The Resurrection. How would we describe it to someone? No one saw Jesus rise from the dead. So where does our information about the Resurrection come from if nobody saw Jesus emerge from the tomb?
This is where we begin to grow in faith. The various testimonies of the witnesses are consistent, with multiple authors as witnesses, including Peter and John and Matthew. There is Paul who experienced the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. We trust the witnesses.
Then we trust the impact of his Resurrection upon the witnesses. Once we begin to believe the witnesses, it changes us. We witness our faith in what we believe by our conduct. We begin to separate ourselves from sin and all that separates us from Him, so that we may begin to live as He lives.
In the first reading we heard Peter say to the crowd in the Temple, teaching them that although Jesus had been put to death, but,
God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And Peter told them,
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.
Repentance means to be changed. Repentance means to acknowledge our sins and to stop sinning and do the Will of God. St. John tells us about repentance in the second reading, saying,
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
God’s commandments are truth.
One of the most frequent questions about Jesus is, “Why did he have to die on the Cross? Jesus explained this to the Apostles as he,
… opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
God created us free, with free will. That is the only way we could love Him. If he had created us without the freedom not to love Him, then that is not love; that is slavery.
We are not slaves. The Resurrection presents us with a decision that we cannot avoid. Either we believe that God loves us and that Jesus died for us, conquered death and rose from the dead for us, or we don’t. That is our choice.
If we believe in the Resurrection, then we are witnesses by the way we repent and follow his Commandments. If we say we know him, that we are Christians, but we do not follow his Commandments, then we are liars; we do not love Him; and we cannot expect our own Resurrection. Repent of your sins and be converted.