“It’s really me!”

Posted Apr 15, 2020

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Reminder: Resurrection’s goal is to read all of Luke during Lent. So a few of the remaining daily reading portions are somewhat longer than usual.

Daily Scripture

Luke 24:33-43

33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” 35 Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.

36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 37 They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost.

38 He said to them, “Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39 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.” 40 As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 Taking it, he ate it in front of them.

Reflection Questions

After meeting the risen Christ at Emmaus, the two disciples rushed to share the news with the others. As they were speaking, Jesus himself appeared. Luke, a first-century physician (cf. Colossians 4:14) reported the details that showed Jesus was no ghost, but fully physically alive. “24:39 Touch me. Many ancients believed in a shadowy afterlife; such shadows could not be grasped with the hands. 24:43 he took it and ate it. Many Jewish sources doubted that angels ate human food.”*

  • Jesus greeted his followers characteristically: “Peace be with you” (in Aramaic, shalom). “This greeting constituted an implicit prayer to God for the well-being of the person addressed.”** What choices and disciplines have you found that allow you to claim Jesus’ peace for yourself? How can you apply that peace especially to the areas of life right now where fear and anxiety abound?
  • Pastor Bruce Larson wrote that Luke was “a Greek familiar with the Greek philosophy that the body and its appetites were evil. The soul and mind were good. The Greeks believed that in death the mind and spirit were freed from their bondage to the body…. Luke, in spite of his Greek background, underscored the Hebrew theology… of the unity of body, mind, and soul.”* That’s why the Apostles Creed said, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” Do you believe in that, and count on it?

Prayer

King Jesus, I am so grateful that you conquered death and offer me the hope of resurrection! Help me rejoice in that hope and count on it, even now as an alarming virus sweeps across the world. Amen.


* Zondervan, NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 234651-234653).

** Ibid., (Kindle Locations 234643-234644).

*** Bruce Larson, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26: Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, p. 355.

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Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

As a Christian who is United Methodist, sometimes I joke that potluck dinners are one of our sacraments. In fact, sometimes I think Methodists may not be sure God will show up anywhere unless there is food!

Jesus’ behavior in this story may back me up. Of all the things Jesus could have done to demonstrate his real presence with his followers, he asks what’s for dinner. You think he might choose some awesome display of divine power, but as his disciples were “wondering and questioning” (v. 41), his response is to show he’s a regular person with a human body that needs to eat. He’s not some disembodied divinity on a cloud somewhere. He’s right there with them, ready to eat.

I love how simple and earthy Jesus is in this story. He asks to eat, living in his own creatureliness with ease, not embarrassment. He doesn’t downplay his humanity or hide his body. All creatures need to eat, and perhaps that is why eating is so central to Jesus’ ministry and to our life of Christian practice. Eating reminds us that we are creatures, needful of sustenance. Jesus does not hesitate to show this need. In fact, we find him eating with folks a lot in the gospels.

In eating, Jesus invites me to live more honestly in my own creatureliness, not as a liability but as a gift. What if I saw my creaturely needs for food, for rest, for balance, as one way of sharing in human, creaturely life as Jesus did? The need to pause in our busy-ness and eat a solid meal or the need to stop and rest are not personal failures. They are invitations to embrace this bodily life as Jesus did.

During this COVID-19 pandemic we are more aware than ever of our status as creatures. And I’m grateful for the ways we are all embracing this bodily life through washing our hands, covering our mouths and caring for each other’s bodies with social distance. We recognize both the fragility and strength of our bodies, as we embrace this creaturely life together.

So now, we might ask with Jesus, what’s for dinner?

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