Jesus comes to us in the midst of our ordinary lives. We know him from scripture, in worship, as we pray and sing songs of faith. In this passage, Jesus attempts to establish his identity and dispel his followers’ disbelief and wonder by eating a meal.
Jesus has been absent from his followers for a few days; already their fear has caused much of his teaching to leave their minds. From offering hands and feet and eating fish, he moves to recall what he has told them about his connection to the scriptures. “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled. . . . You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses” (The Message). The miracle of the Resurrection does not hinge on Jesus’ physical reappearance after death; the miracle is that God’s plans and purpose as laid out in scripture have come to fruition.
We contemporary Christians have centuries of faithful believers sharing the story of Jesus. We have numerous translations of the Bible, thousands of books written about the Christian faith, opportunities for small-group spiritual growth. Yet even those of us who regularly attend worship and hear the story of Jesus told again and again may have ho-hum moments. Sure, Jesus lived among humanity as an example of how to conduct our lives. Oh, yeah, he died and by the way, rose from the dead. Our familiarity with the story causes us to overlook its power. Like the disciples, we need to be shaken up, to hear Jesus tell us, “You’re the witnesses.”
Who am I? A witness to God’s power.
Jesus, help me know what it means to be your witness to the world. Amen.
A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?
• Read Acts 3:12-19. When have you initially bristled at someone’s remarks only to discover some truth about yourself as you reflected on your strong reaction? What did you learn about yourself?
• Read Psalm 4. How do you daily reinforce the idea that you are “more” rather than “less”?
• Read 1 John 3:1-7. When have you been an “upstander” for love on behalf of another? In what ways did that empower you to take more initiative to love?
• Read Luke 24:36b-48. To what do you look as a revelation of Christ’s presence?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.