In yesterday's Gospel reading, there is a great little line that struck me as I read it. In Luke 24, Jesus had appeared to the men on the road to Emmaus. Then He went to the disciples and others in house back in Jerusalem. He gives them the wonderful greeting of "Peace be with you." Oh how they needed that peace. Their lives were in great turmoil. Death does that to our lives - turmoil. We need peace in the midst of death and it is often impossible to find. It is only when the living Lord comes into our lives that we receive any peace at all. But that isn't the line that struck me.
Jesus shows them His hands and His feet, the place of the nail marks. That is a way of showing that it truly was Him, the One who had been crucified. Those nail marks are a mark of honor, having paid for the sins of each and every person as He died upon the cross. Even when John the Revelator see Jesus enter into heaven, John writes, "I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain." (Rev. 5:6 ESV) The Lamb was slain but is alive. That is who is standing before the disciples that Sunday evening. "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself," He says. (Luke 24: 39 ESV) And still that which caught my attention was to come.
The disciples still struggled with seeing the resurrected Jesus. It was still beyond their comprehension that Jesus was dead and is now alive. Then Jesus says to them, "Have you anything to eat?" And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and he took it and ate it before them." (Luke 24:40-42 ESV) Broiled fish? He ate it before them? Really? Why?
Have you ever seen the movie Casper? It is a fun little movie which has a redemption and resurrection theme to it. That isn't why I bring up the movie. The scene that runs through my mind is the one where the three ghosts with Casper (Fatso, Stretch and Stinky) eating breakfast. Casper is bringing them food and they are eating like pigs. The camera shows them eating and then swings around beneath the table and all the food they are eating is falling on the floor underneath them. They have no body and no substance and are unable to actually retain any of the food they eat.
That scene popped into my mind as I read the Gospel reading this last weekend. "Do you have anything to eat?" Jesus asks the disciples. Then He eats it before them. And it doesn't fall to the floor. Why? Because He wasn't a ghost, a phantasm, a figment of their over stressed imagination. He was truly alive. This Jesus died and was laid in the tomb. Then He rose again from the dead. He was alive as they were. He could talk, touch and eat. He could take nourishment just as they did. He lives!
That little interchange between Jesus and the disciples is showing that He is alive. As we read that, we can be certain that they were seeing what they were seeing and it wasn't a dream. Jesus lives! The victory's won! Death no longer is our master. Jesus has defeated death as He rose.
That is Easter. That is what we hold onto in our lives. Jesus is alive! And because He lives, all who believe in Him will live forever with Him in heaven. "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live!" That my friends is the message of Easter. Eternal life with Christ. What comfort this sweet sentence gives: "I know my Redeemer lives!" Alleluia!