A message for all nations
Third Sunday of Easter: Luke 24:35-48
35 The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognised the Lord when he broke the bread.
36 While the two were telling them this, suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost.
38 But he said to them, “Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds?
39 Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.”
40 He said this and showed them his hands and his feet.
41 They still could not believe, they were so full of joy and wonder; so he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
42 They gave him a piece of cooked fish,
43 which he took and ate in their presence.
44 Then he said to them, “These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the writings of the prophets, and the Psalms had to come true.”
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and said to them, “This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later,
47 and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.”
Other readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4:1, 3, 6, 8; 1 John 2:1-5
This reading takes up the story immediately after the two disciples who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus had returned to Jerusalem. As the story spills from the excited lips of these two disciples, Jesus appears right in front of them.
They are terrified and don’t know what to think. Is this really Jesus or is it a ghost? Jesus is patient with them. First he tells them to look at his hands and feet, presumably to see the scars. Then he invites them to touch him so they know he’s real, not a ghost.
They are full of joy and wonder. It appears they want to believe but it seems just too good to be true. They still have their doubts. So Jesus eats a piece of fish in front of them.
Then Jesus does what we would all like him to do for us. He takes them through the Scriptures and helps them to recognise verse by verse where it speaks of him and his life.
For Jesus, his Resurrection was just part of God’s ongoing relationship with his people. It was also a dividing line in human history. He proved to those who will believe that what he says about life and faith can be trusted, forever (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus’s Resurrection is the fabulous climax of this “God-story of salvation”.
How does Jesus try to help his disciples accept that he really has risen from the dead? Jesus is very practical in the way he shows them he is real.
What helps you trust Jesus? What builds your faith that he is alive and in our midst today? Ask your Christian friends what they think. Jesus describes the disciples as “witnesses to these things” (verse 48).
They were eyewitnesses. In what way can we today also be considered witnesses?
Jesus’s death on the Cross and Resurrection so that we can be forgiven and have eternal life is almost too good to be true. But it is true! Spend some time praising God for the wonder of God’s salvation plan. Ask God to take away any doubts you may have.
Psalm 4 speaks of joy (verse 7), but joy slips away as the difficulties increase. Can you recall a time of spiritual joy or
peace when life was tough? Pray for God to remind you and for others who may need this hope today.
In Acts 3:13-19 we hear how Peter explains to the Jews exactly what has happened and why Jesus died. He says ‘repent and believe”. John repeats this message in 1 John 2:1-5. It is only through Christ that we can have our sins forgiven.
Jesus is shown as both our mediator and sin bearer. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus “pleads with the Father on our behalf”?
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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