Reflection on Luke 24:36b-48 Third Sunday of Easter 18 April 2021

Jesus himself stood among the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Let us pray: Holy and righteous God, you raised Christ from the dead and glorified him at your right hand. Let the words of scripture, fulfilled in Jesus your Son open our minds to recognize him in the breaking of bread. Amen.

If we were walking the Road to Emmaus, would we have recognized Jesus, would we know who He truly is? The disciples who were walking the road that day didn’t recognize Him right away. So when Jesus entered the room where the eleven disciples and their companions were their anxiety was high. Jesus appeared but was not recognized, and His first words to His followers were: “peace to you.” These words help reduce their anxiety. This peace proclaims, promises, and manifests God’s good news in the world. That peace has exacted a terrible cost, displayed in the scars that remain on the body of Jesus, whose life was stolen at the hands His enemies. The disciples thought he was a ghost. They assumed that the Christ before them was without body, either as a spirit or an angel. Christ refuted this notion in two ways. He invited them to touch his hands and feet, and he ate a broiled fish. At this moment Jesus gives us the opportunity to display hospitality. This is a lesson he has taught us to display hospitality to those who need our help and support. At this point he had now taken on the role of guest and recipient of the disciples’ hospitality. The act of serving Jesus a meal was humbling for the disciples as having him wash their feet. The One who transformed death still conforms to the routine requirements of life. Breath, food, and water remain necessary. Jesus, who began his earthly ministry by embarking on a fast when he came out of the baptismal waters of the Jordan River, begins the resolution of his earthly ministry by breaking bread with his companions after coming out of the tomb. He clarifies the scriptures as well as his teachings in light of these events. When Jesus speaks, it enables them to understand the promises and hopes of Scripture. This is good news. It is good news that we can have hope for an increased trust in Jesus. Surely, there were those who believed the women or when Jesus appeared in front of them. Still others were convinced by the evidence of his scarred hands and feet. But, for some, they needed those to have the separate parts of the story tied together. God is revealed at each step, and we travel this journey with Jesus no matter which stop we used to get on board. As we make this journey, we cannot be content to be idle bystanders, we must be active participants in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. “Peace be with You.”

Let us Pray: Holy God, you have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son,and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all, we offer our prayers on behalf of the church and the world, and in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.  AMEN

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