Sunday March 31, 2013

Easter Day – Finding Joy in Hope

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Read

Luke 24:36-48

36While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look 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.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence. 44Then 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.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

Reflect

Jesus’ first followers were devastated by the events of his sudden arrest, trial and crucifixion. For three years they had followed him with increasing certainty that he was God’s long-promised Messiah. But then, unexpectedly, everything seemed to go wrong, and now Jesus was dead. But then, on the Sunday morning they heard rumors, begun by the women amongst Jesus’ followers, that his tomb was empty and that he was alive. Now, on the same day, Luke records Jesus’ appearance amongst them.

We can understand their first response of fear: dead men don’t rise, let alone speak. Becoming more certain that it was Jesus, they couldn’t contain their joy. But even then they wondered if they were dreaming. Knowing their thoughts – this is one of the wonderful things about Jesus – he asked for some fish which he ate in their presence. It was something ghosts cannot do.

We can only begin to imagine their deep joy as they listened to his explanation that day. He could now speak with clarity and unambiguity about God’s great plan for our rescue. He had it in mind from the beginning. The disciples were now commissioned to witness to the world what they had seen and heard.

Good Friday and Easter Day changed the world. The shout, ‘He is risen!’ gives us every reason to find joy in the hope that Jesus’ resurrection holds out to us.

It is because of this that Paul the Apostle wrote, Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say rejoice… Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus(Philippians 4:4,6-7).

Consider

  1. Put into your own words Luke’s account of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples.
  2. What is your response to these events?
  3. What can you do to help others find this best of all news?
Pray
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