While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost 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. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
~ Luke 24:36-43
Jesus and those disciples!
While they had seen Lazarus rise from the dead, the idea that Jesus would rise, especially after what they all witnessed, had to have been difficult to understand.
Have you ever looked at an auto accident and wondered how anyone even survived?
My nephew a few years ago was in a horrific auto accident. The vehicle he was driving skidded on black ice and became airborne as it hit the embankment. The vehicle was turning in the air as it hit an electric pole, snapping the structure. When his car landed, the pole came down onto the vehicle, crushing it and power piles began dancing all around, even burning the inside lining of his jacket.
Cinder blocks that he had placed in the back of the vehicle for traction on the snowy roads had been thrown forward during the impact with the pole, breaking his back.
Alone on the country highway, he pulled himself from the wreckage. In shock, he began walking down the road until someone stopped and then rushed him to the closest hospital, which happened to be where his mother worked as a nurse.
It was amazing first of all that he was able to free himself from the wreck at all, it was more amazing after seeing what was left of the vehicle and the space where he had been seated, him surviving at all.
Today he lives a full and healthy life, thanks to some steel rods that had to be placed in his back, but to look and think about the wreck, the odds are that he shouldn't be here at all.
While my nephew didn't die, there were those who were shocked to see him at all after hearing of the accident.
The disciples were Jesus' closest friends. What they had witnessed was as horrific as an auto accident. They watched him take his last breath after beatings, displays, and the sound of the crowd yelling out for his death.
So when Jesus appeared to them, they were a bit uneasy. I think any of us would have been. Jesus tries to reassure them with his words. I have often wondered how I would have reacted had I been present that day? I'm unsure how peaceful I would have felt, even after Jesus telling me to be calm, and I definitely wouldn't necessarily be offering him fish!
But the gathering continues, and the reality begins to make sense. Jesus had told them of his returning, and fulfilling what the scriptures had proclaimed. He was there!
For us today, our faith has to go one step further. It's not just about believing in something or someone we cannot see, but we must find peace in a world that seems to be filled with chaos.
It is seeking Jesus and believing while having peace.
Have a great day while staying in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, help me to remain peaceful while I look for You in the world each day. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.