Sunday 22 April 2012

Bible Book:

"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." (vv. 36b-37)

Luke 24:36b-48 Sunday 22 April 2012

The greeting 'Shalom' brought the disciples anything but peace.They would have known plenty of stories of ghosts, and for them,this was the first resurrection appearance of Jesus. But he isquick to allay their fears by showing his hands and feet, andinviting them to touch him (verses 39-40). Although the Gospelwriter wants to show that the risen Jesus is not subject tophysical restrictions - he just appears among the disciples, and hehad vanished at the meal table in Emmaus (Luke24:31) - he also wants to emphasise that Jesus is nodisembodied spirit or hallucination.

In this, there are similarities with the story of Thomas in John20:19-29, where Thomas is invited to touch the one who appearsbefore him. Significantly, neither Thomas nor the assembleddisciples in Luke 24 actually do touch him. Jesus asks for and eatsa piece of broiled fish before them, a further proof of hisphysical reality (verse 42). Luke wants to establish this in theface of charges that the disciples were hallucinating, and also tocounter the ideas of Docetism, which suggested that Jesus waspurely a spiritual being.

After establishing this, the Gospel goes on to emphasise thebackground of the Resurrection in Scripture. This is a continuationof the teaching on the road to Emmaus which warmed the hearts ofthe two disciples (Luke 24:13-35). Jesus takes a broad sweep of theOld Testament, and the disciples' response this time is openedminds (verse 45). The application of specific Old Testament textsto the life and death of Jesus came later: at this stage Luke wantsto place the events firmly in the overall story of God's dealingswith people. The missionary imperative is stressed - in theauthority of the name of Jesus, the gospel of repentance andforgiveness is to be proclaimed to the entire world (verse47).

To Ponder

How important to you is the physical resurrectionof Jesus?

The disciples were commissioned to proclaim thegospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (ie where they were).What strategy would you adopt to do this in your situation?

Think of times when your mind was opened as youstudied the Scriptures. What helped this to happen?

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