While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24:36-49).
And so, there was a new beginning Resurrection Day. Making this, by far, the best beginning ever.
Even after Jesus was humiliated . . . mocked . . . crucified, He served, ministered . . . loved.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He graciously stayed to complete the training of His disciples. He transformed the audience from undone-disciples to witnesses, with the Risen Lord as their Teacher.
Jesus brought a blessing of peace to a room filled with people cowering in fear (see also Jn 20:19). To people locked behind closed doors, grief-stricken, with no direction and no hope, Christ Jesus appeared. He gently and patiently explained the fulfillment of the Scriptures.
He revealed grace.
They thought they had reached the end of their Jesus-story. But they became recipients of the unimaginable—His appearing. While overjoyed, I imagine they remained a bit dazed. And humbled to participate in a continuing story. But thrilled for a new beginning with eternal hope.
Jesus remained for 40 days. The gospels record twelve accounts of His appearances to over 500 people. Jesus, who led them to Calvary, to death, would now lead them to Pentecost, to a life of power. To their own rebirth.
It’s hard to grasp: a dead man walking. Many stumble on this one truth. It is precisely for them that we have been empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is them we endeavor to show the love of Christ-in-the-flesh. That by His wounds they may be healed. The wounds He showed as proof of His identity. The wounds He carries in His body still.
Gracious God, Jesus brings peace into our lives and countless blessings for our faith. He appeared, filled with grace and truth, to continue to lead and teach His disciples so that those who have not seen might believe. And He left, in order to send the All-Powerful Holy Spirit, so that others will do the same. Continue to open our minds, and our eyes, and our mouths. Teach us to be witnesses worthy of Your Name.