Last week we read the Gospel of John’s version of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after his death and resurrection. They were locked behind doors, hoping to not be noticed by anyone in Jerusalem. Despite those doors and those locks, Jesus appeared to them, said to them, “Peace Be With you” He even appeared again to speak to a disciple who missed it the first time, Thomas.
Though we’re reading from the Gospel of Luke this week, it’s a continuation of the appearance. It’s also the final words spoken by Jesus in this gospel, and his last words are significant.
Our scripture reading is…
Luke 24:36B-48 Common English Bible
Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace Be With You”. They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” They gave *him a piece of baked fish. Taking it, he ate it in front of them. Jesus 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 from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Three Points of Discussion
Quote #1 - “Trying to make sense of it all seems to be easier, or at least more fruitful, in a community that shares our experience, our questions, and, in the end, our call. And it is significant that Jesus brings table fellowship right back into the narrative, because it's still at the core of our story and at the center of who we are.” - Kathryn Matthews, Sermon Seeds at UCC.org
Quote #2 - “Barbara Brown Taylor's sermon on this text beautifully describes the embodied experience of Jesus, the way he drew their attention to his hands and his feet. She poetically recalls the ways the hands and feet of Jesus had been important in his ministry, healing people, breaking bread, traveling around with the good news. Now, wounded and bruised, those same hands and feet were proof to the disciples that "he had gone through the danger and not around it."
Through the danger, and not around it. Much of our time and energy is spent on finding a way around things, rather than living through them. We don't want to experience pain or danger, or even to come face to face with the suffering of other people, or the suffering of the earth. What can we do about all of that?
And yet, Taylor says, we bear hope for the world because of the commission Jesus gave the disciples and the whole church long ago, for we are the Body, and the Image, of the Risen Christ in the world today: "Not our pretty faces and not our sincere eyes but our hands and feet--what we have done with them and where we have gone with them" ("Hands and Feet," Home by Another Way).” - Kathryn Matthews, Sermon Seeds, at UCC.org
Quote #3 - “We bear witness to the great movies or television programs we've seen and want others to enjoy. We bear witness to the accomplishments (or failures) of our sports teams. We bear witness to the important events in our family or work lives. We bear witness -- that is, tell someone about -- the things that matter to us all the time.
It's not really all that different when it comes to the faith. Witnessing does not mean shoving our faith down someone's throat or threatening them with eternal hellfire if they don't believe like we do. It's simply telling others where we sensed God at work -- at home or work, at church or school, through a stranger or a friend, a doctor or teacher or neighbor, even through ourselves. Bearing witness is nothing more than saying where you think God is at work in your life and the world.” - David Lose, In the Meantime website, 2012
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