“It Is Written That The Christ Would Suffe”
Today’s Gospel passage is Luke’s account of the appearance of the Risen Lord to his disciples on Easter Sunday evening.
The disciples are all gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. There is fear among them, the fear of what might happen to them as had happened to Jesus. There is also confusion, as several ‘sightings’ of Jesus alive are in circulation. Some women of the group had seen Jesus; so had Simon Peter; and then most recently, two disciples on their way to Emmaus.
And as they are talking about all this, there is Jesus, standing among them.
Pandemonium erupts! Is it a ghost they’re seeing? Jesus allays their fears.
“Touch me and see, No ghost has flesh and bones, such as you can see that I have.”
And further, he asks if there is anything to eat and eats a piece of fish before their very eyes.
And he explains to them the meaning of the Scriptures: “that the Messiah was to suffer death, and rise from the dead on the third day, and that in his name repentance bringing the forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to all nations, starting from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of this.”
The Risen Lord is not a ghost. His body is both physical and tangible, as well as beyond the laws of physics. The fact that Jesus has a human body recognizable as his own, means that there is a continuity between his past and his present state.
And so it is with us: in the life of the Spirit which is our risen life, our past receives its deepest value and our understanding of it shapes our present. We understand, in other words, the “history of our salvation.” And so the presence of the Risen Lord makes us all ‘witnesses’. Witnesses of what? Of the great deeds of God on our behalf -- of being delivered from the bondage of our sins, of being empowered from above.
We can proclaim to the whole world how God saves us and fills us with the abundance of his Spirit. For wherever men and women experience the forgiveness of sins, there the Resurrection takes place again and again and again.
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