Aware of the Presence
May 28, 2014
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.
Paralleling the story in John’s account of the Gospel, Luke narrates Jesus appearing among the disciples, declaring peace to them, and showing them his wounds, because they need just a little more before they trust that it’s really him. But Luke takes the scene one step further – to prove that he really does have internal organs, especially an esophagus, stomach, and intestines, Jesus eats some fish in their presence. I can just see the disciples walking around Jesus, examining him, perhaps seeing if they could put their hands through his ghostly immateriality.
But, he’s not a ghost, of course. He’s really there – a physical being and yet more than a physical being because he’s also a resurrected being. Maybe that’s why they had trouble believing it was really him – because in the Resurrection, Jesus was more than himself.
Or to put it another way, in the resurrected Jesus, the disciples could see more clearly the kingdom of God made known on earth. No wonder they had trouble deciding if he was really human. He wasreally human – fully human in a way no human had ever been before or has been since. In seeing him in the power of the Resurrection, they realized how far they still had to go on the path, how much more they could be, how much more growing God had in store for them.
When we meet Jesus in our lives, how often does the encounter end without our desiring to change for the better? I think the safe answer is never. That’s because the power of the Resurrection pulls us closer to the God who makes us better than ourselves simply by revealing God’s presence each day of our lives.
What practices do you do that help you stay aware of God’s presence in your life? Share them with one another. Consider adding a new one or replacing one that has gotten stale.
Art: Michelangelo, Study for “Resurrection of Christ”