Thursday 08 April 2010

Bible Book:
Luke

"Jesus himself stood among them and said to them 'Peace be with you' ... Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures." (v.36, 45)

Luke 24:35-48 Thursday 8 April 2010

Background

I wonder if "Peace be with you" was what the disciples wereexpecting Jesus to say? It is, of course, an everyday greeting ofthe time - an ancient version of 'hello'. But the impression isgiven that this is more than that. To a group which includes thosewho have denied Jesus, run away and deserted him at his arrest, anddisappeared during the horrors of the crucifixion, his greeting tothem could have been very different... "Well, a fine bunch offollowers you lot are, you weak, pathetic...!"

But no. The gift of the risen Jesus is peace, and given to thosewho think themselves faithless, unworthy or estranged. All areoffered the reconciliation of peace. Perhaps the only sound in theroom when Jesus spoke peace was an audible sigh of relief by thegroup of disciples?

Luke is also at pains to make it quite clear to readers that thisis no apparition. In some other resurrection accounts in theGospels Jesus tells people not to touchhim, but here the invitation is clear. 'Go ahead' he says. 'Youwon't go right through me!' This is reinforced by the request forfood. A ghost doesn't get hungry. Jesus is real but is notidentical - his hands and his feet make plain he is the living onewho died, and the marks of crucifixion remain. Resurrection has notreversed crucifixion but transformed it.

Then there is some teaching which follows a common pattern forresurrection stories. Jesus locates himself as the one theScriptures speak about, and points out that his recent crucifixionis not a cataclysmic accident but a divine plan of salvation opento all, to which his resurrection is the climax. This is the basicbut wonderful 'death and resurrection' movement inherent in allChristian believing. This is the faith to which his disciples areto bear witness. It's also the faith to which all subsequentdisciples become witnesses - including us.

To Ponder

How might the offer of peace be made to people,communities and situations that exercise your spirit today? Whatwill you do about it?

Where do you see 'death and resurrection'occurring in Christian life and faith today?

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