Friday after the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord
Scripture: St. Luke 24:36-49 (NKJV)
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Even seeing the risen Christ wasn’t enough to fully convince the disciples of His resurrection! It took signs: touching the nail prints, watching Him eat. More importantly, it took words. And not just any words; it took the words from the Old Testament that connected the dots between what the Christ would do and what Jesus had done.
As He had done for the Emmaus disciples, Jesus walked His apostles through the Old Testament. There was the promise made to Eve of her serpent-crushing Seed. There were the promises to Abraham, the sacrifice provided by the Lord in place of Isaac, the stairway shown to Jacob, the Passover Lamb, the Day of Atonement, the ark of the covenant, the sufferings and ultimate victories of David, and of David’s greater Son, the institution of the New Testament, etc. All of it pointed to Christ. And the apostles absolutely needed to see and understand, because they would be the witnesses of the resurrection by whose witness the Holy Spirit would build the Church catholic until the end of time. Even that preaching of the Gospel was prophesied in the Old Testament, that “repentance and the remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Again, the Word of God does everything. It convicts. It convinces. It absolves, and it strengthens. We don’t have the benefit of seeing Jesus. But we do have the benefit of His Word, which is more powerful than sight.
We pray: O Father, we praise Your Name for fulfilling Your promises throughout the ages. Grant us Your Holy Spirit to open our hearts that we may understand Your holy Word, live in daily repentance, and support the preaching of Your Gospel in all the world; through Christ our Lord. Amen.