St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Another Easter story
Luke 24:36-48“the rest of the story”
While the disciples were still telling about how they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, Jesus himself stood among them 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. “When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were still 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 it 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 eyes 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.”
What’s happening here?
We don’t get to hear this story, or yesterday’s either, on the Sundays of Easter in Year C. Unless you are praying the daily office, or reading all the Easter appearance stories in all the gospels, you would miss them. And they aren’t all the same. Each has its own story to tell. But this one is fascinating to me. And it resonates. According to Luke, this happens on the same night as yesterday’s story with the same characters present. And even though they are in the middle of a discussion about having seen Jesus, they totally freak out when he again abruptly shows up in their midst! But isn’t that like us? And isn’t that like Christ Jesus, too? We are always surprised. And God never shows up “expectedly.” God does what God does – and in Jesus, God still behaves like God. He is not controlled by our doctrine, or by our timelines, or by our prayerufl demands. And God coems and goes, so to speak, as God pleases.
Second, Jesus lets them see with their ordinary eyes that he is flesh and blood – that he walks (even if through walls!) and can eat and drink like a real human. If Jesus rose at all, it is in his body – not only “spiritually” or “mystically.” That is the gospel.
Third, Jesus confirmed everything that Cleopas and his companion have just told them. He repeats it, knowing probably, that the disciples never seem to believe anything the first time around! Do you see the gentleness, the humor, the care that Jesus, the Risen Christ, has for his slow-witted disciples?