Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
During approximately three years of walking around with his disciples, Jesus consistently showed them that he was the Messiah. He fulfilled prophecy after prophecy. He worked miracles. He received worship. And he warned them several times that he would be killed and that he would rise from the dead again.
Despite all of this preparation, the disciples really weren’t ready for what happened at the Passover. They were terrified when Jesus was actually arrested. It made them run away. When they heard the details of the trial from Peter and John, who had followed Jesus, they didn’t know how to react. By the time Jesus was led out to be crucified, John was the only one of the apostles to be an eyewitness. After his death, it was two members of the Sanhedrin who actually took his body and entombed him.
Not one of the disciples expected Jesus to rise from the dead. They weren’t waiting for this news. The women had gone to take care of anything that was overlooked in his very hasty entombment. All their expectation was that they would find his lifeless body laid out on a slab.
The news which arrived to the disciples during the day of resurrection was also unbelievable. The body was gone, there was some sort of angelic apperance, maybe Jesus had appeared to someone, but maybe not. Peter and John had verified that the body was missing. And the disciples, disconsolate, had gathered together in a locked room, hoping that nobody would arrest them also. They were hiding.
What could change their minds? It didn’t seem likely that anything would persuade them that Jesus had risen from the dead. That wasn’t even on their radar screens. Then, without even seeming to open the door, without knocking, Jesus appeared among them. Distance, doors, locks and bars mean nothing to the risen Lord. He can come and be with his disciples. He shows that he is not a ghost by eating something and demonstrating that he is absolutely a living person.
We notice now that Jesus gives more instructions to his disciples. He tells them that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit to continue their work. Now, maybe, just maybe, they will be able to take his promises seriously. We know, of course, that in just seven weeks’ time they will receive the power they need. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to give the disciples hope and trust.
In every age, Jesus, in his resurrection, confronts our sinful unbelief. He shows that he is, in fact, the one who always keeps his promises, even if it requires him to do impossible miracles, such as rising from the dead. It’s when we find Jesus in our midst that we are able to take him at his word and believe him. May the Lord continue to come into our midst in ways that we can recognize.
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