“While they were still talking about this,
Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,
‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened,
thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them,
‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!
Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones,
as you see I have.’ When he had said this,
he showed them his hands and feet.
And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement,
he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’
They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
and he took it and ate it in their presence.”
Luke 24:36-43 (NIV)
We know that the disciples had been with Jesus when He raised some from the dead. For example, in John 11, they witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus. So to see Jesus alive from the dead was not a category of event they had not previously known. Hence the surprising reaction by the disciples at the sight of the resurrected Master.
We read words such as, “startled…frightened…ghost…troubled…did not believe…” and realize the disciples were decidedly not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. Why was this? Well, they did not expect Jesus to rise because they did not expect Him to die! Prior to the cross they had thought their Master was about to establish His eternal kingdom any day. They were full of thoughts of glory and their special places within it. They could not conceive of a brutal death for the Messiah.
Again, we are confronted with the profound honesty of the Gospel writers. Their utter lack of comprehension of Jesus’ teaching about the cross, teaching that started a year before Golgotha, is a remarkable confession. Then, saying they did not believe their eyes when Jesus appeared in their midst, is further proof of their integrity. So, if the authors disclosed their deep failure, why would they invent a story about Jesus’ resurrection had it not happened?
The record of Jesus being alive has irrefutable evidence. We have the whole truth regarding the Easter story! As one song puts it, “I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today”.
No wonder the infant church had a weekly gathering on the first day of the week. (The day of the week Jesus rose from the dead) They wanted regular, weekly commemoration of this colossal event. Today Jesus’ followers would do well to sing so called “Easter hymns” at various times during the year to honour the central event of the Christian message. Sunday is full of profound truth that we sing about with our hymns. Perhaps we might do more to emphasize our Saviour is alive by singing more resurrection hymns and having more references in our sermons to this great event in history.
For people to be saved they must confess Jesus as Lord and believe He rose from the dead (Romans 10:9). Thus, we need to include in all communications of the Gospel the fact of the resurrection of our Lord if we are to be accurate witnesses.
Paul summed up his preaching in the following words,
“…this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence:
‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead
that I am on trial before you today.’”
Acts 24:21 (NIV)
Today, recognize that we have the whole truth and because “He lives we can face tomorrow”.