(A commentary on Luke 24: 35-48)
Daily Reflection – 4/8/2021
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. 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 and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:35-48)
Luke continues his gospel with the news of a resurrected Jesus, and we return to the scenes in the upper room where the disciples are reflecting upon what had just happened. Behind closed and locked doors, the disciples are trying to sort out the events of this past week and even the past three years in light of what they thought, believed, hoped, and expected.
Jesus appears to the disciples and asks them to act as judge. He shows them his hands and feet, he eats fish before their eyes, and asks them to believe, to judge, that he is truly risen in the flesh. They move from fear and doubt to peace.
Peace seems to be an elusive commodity these days. Think of all the things that cause you to lose peace. Think of all the things that test your trust and confidence in God. Think of events or circumstances that make you feel sad and hopeless. Think of all these things and you put yourself squarely in the midst of these earliest Christians. Jesus has the same message for all of us: “Peace be with you.”
He is asking the questions that disarm all of our turmoil and untangle every knot: “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” We have no good reason, Lord. No good reason. The question itself imparts peace. Jesus stands in the midst of our excitement, our fear, our foolishness, our lack of faith, and says: I am risen. Why do you continue to agitate yourself with these things? I am risen and with you always.
The fullness of Christ’s victory over sin and death is communicated to us by the one word “peace.” When this greeting, even this command, comes from the lips of Jesus it scatters all of our darkness, suspends all of our fears, and sets us free to rejoice in His triumph, because it is also ours.
Their strength the disciples had to go forth as witnesses came from the peace that Christ has bestowed on them—not as the world gives it, but as Jesus does. Worldly peace depends entirely on circumstances. It is contingent on things going well for us. God’s peace means that even if the whole world is against us, it really doesn’t matter. He has overcome the world. He is with us, for us, defending and advocating for us.
It doesn’t mean our troubles will cease, that there will be no further cause for sorrow and worry, but that we will have the peace to take it all with the strength that comes from His victory. We will hear the Lord’s voice come across our troubled waters, through locked doors, through fear and trembling, saying: “Peace, be still. I am risen and with you always.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed”.
The centrality of the Gospel message is the cross – but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies – death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory? Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth.