Acts 3:12-19, I John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48
“Jesus stood among the disciples and said to them, ‘[Shalom], Peace be with you…”
And in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering.” Luke 24:36b, 41
Likely everyone wondered what it was that had taken place in Jerusalem over those days… so certainly the band of men and women who had followed the prophet Jesus from Galilee wondered – and were afraid. What meaning could be made of their beloved Master’s execution on the eve of the Passover Sabbath? And now, what to make of the mysterious reports of what some had experienced early on the first day of the week?
The final chapter of Luke’s gospel openly and unapologetically speaks of the startling and terrifying – and ultimately life-transforming – experience of the gathered disciples. “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!” (v. 38-39a) The One whom they saw die on Friday stands among them again.
This is not the spirit or ghost they at first had feared – both in seeing and in being known by their companions that they were seeing. No, it is One who proclaims himself to “have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” It is the One who asks with a touch of humor, “Have you anything here to eat?”
Acts 3:12-19 / I John 3:1-7 / Luke 24:36b-48
There are many interesting variations in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, but there is one theme that is absolutely consistent, and that is that no one believes in the good news of Jesus’ resurrection when they first hear it. No one. And that includes Jesus’ own disciples, those who were closest to him and spent the most time with him. In fact, the disbelief begins with them.
Luke tells us that the disciples dismissed outright the testimony of the women who had been to the empty tomb. “These words seemed to them an idle tale,” says Luke, “and they did not believe them” (24:11). Actually, “idle tale” is a polite translation. The Greek word that Luke uses – leros – is the root of our word delirious. When the disciples heard the women’s report they considered it crazy; they thought these women were out of their minds!