As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he 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 of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:36-49
Have you ever been afraid? Not just a little scared but death fearing afraid. I can remember one time in my life when I was that scared. You would think that growing up in Houston Texas that it would have happened in the city. After all a large city can be a very dangerous place. But no, my brush with death came out in West Texas on a mountain, Guadalupe Mountain to be precise, the tallest mountain in Texas. One summer my friend Mike and I spent a week camping in Guadalupe Mountain Park in far West Texas. One day we decided to hike to the top of the mountain. About three quarters of the way to the top Mike had had enough and decided not to go one. Me being the stubborn person I am was not about to get so close to my goal only to turn back so I went on alone. I reached the top and was taking in the grand vistas when I suddenly heard this distinctive sound, the rattle of a western diamondback rattlesnake. It was the first time I had ever heard that sound but there is no mistaking what mad the sound. Here I was alone on the top of a mountain as it is getting late in the afternoon and I am about to be bitten by a rattlesnake. The good news is that in the thin air of that mountain top the snake sounded closed that it was. But for a few moments I was the most afraid I have ever been.
But I was not as afraid as the disciples were in the days after Jesus crucifixion. I only had a snake to contend with, their whole world had just come crashing down around them the past Friday. The man they thought was the Messiah had been executed by the Romans in the most public and humiliating way possible. They were hiding afraid the Sanhedrin would come for them next. They were so afraid they could not get up enough courage to leave Jerusalem and go back home to Galilee. So the cowered in a room not knowing what to do.
Jesus knew what they needed and He came to them in that room revealing Himself for the first time to the twelve. Now they had more than the testimony of a woman that Jesus was alive they had Jesus before them. Still they had trouble believing. So Jesus showed they His hands and the wounds from crucifixion. Jesus even ate a piece of fish to show them he was there physically and not just as a spirit. Finally Jesus opened their minds to all that He had taught them over the past three years. But rather than send them out to preach the Gospel Jesus had them wait for something special, the Holy Spirit.
Now before we judge the disciples too harshly we need to remember that we have the wisdom that come from hindsight. We now have the testimony of the eyewitnesses. We have the testimony of writers outside the Bible. And most importantly we have the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Have a blessed day.