Fourth Sunday of Easter - The Rejected Savior

by Tom Schmidt  |  04/21/2024  |  Gospel Reflection

In the reading from Acts, Peter explains to the leaders of Israel how they cured a crippled man. They probably expected Peter to take credit for the cure, so they were waiting for him to hang himself by his words. Peter, of course, gives the credit to Jesus and then makes two important points.

First, he calls Jesus the “stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” This quote from Psalm 118 was used often by the early Christians to show that Jesus was rejected by fellow Jews when he was crucified, but was actually doing God’s will when he gave his life on the cross. Thus he became not just a martyr, but the savior of the world. This gave comfort to those who had expected the leaders of Israel to follow Jesus and recognize him as the Messiah. It also told those leaders that they could be forgiven for crucifying Jesus if they would simply repent.

The second point made by Peter was that Jesus is the one and only savior of the world. In those days, the Roman emperor was considered to be a god and was called a savior. Peter says this to the leaders because they had to obey the emperor and his appointed rulers over Israel. While we no longer look to politicians to be saviors, we need to remember that Jesus is the Savior: he forgives our sins, shows us how to love God and our neighbors, and hears our prayers. He lives in us to support us when the answer to our prayers is “no.” And in the end, he is with us when we die to bring us to eternal life. When we love others (and are loved by others) we experience a taste of God’s love. Now the choice is yours: to reject the Savior or make Him the cornerstone of your life.