Scripture: Luke 24:36-53
Key verses: (38-43) 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look 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.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.
Reflection: One of the things I love about the gospel of Luke is the very human way he writes about Jesus. While it’s clear from the beginning that Jesus is from God, he also is very much like us. He eats, sleeps, touches sick people, travels, prays, cries, gets angry. He feels deeply and reacts like a human being would at injustice and suffering and grief. At the same time, he is always the Son of God. His disciples struggle with reconciling both sides of Jesus at the same time. When he sleeps while they are in a sinking boat, they wonder how he can be so callous. When he lets a woman use expensive ointment on his feet, they complain about the waste. When he predicts his own suffering and death, they don’t understand.
In his teaching Jesus shows how the kingdom of heaven can be like everyday things: a woman with a lost coin, a mustard seed growing, a table set for a feast. The holy is made manifest in the ordinary. Likewise, the Son of God comes as one of us. Love is lived out in the person of Jesus. After his death, he appears in the midst of his frightened followers and shows them his very real hands and feet. He invites them to touch him. He eats some fish. He is present in body, and not just in spirit.
What does it mean that Jesus is like us? Could it mean that there is nothing about us that Jesus does not understand? Our human failings, our bodily struggles, our conflicting emotions? And knowing all that, he still comes to us and says “Peace be with you.” He calls us to follow and to witness to his love and grace, despite knowing that we will surely fail him, and one another, and ourselves. Perhaps he knows something about us that we don’t know ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, you are holy. You came as one of us, lived and loved, suffered and died, and then rose again in glory. I can’t always understand all that. Help me trust that you know me, inside and out. Help me hear and understand your call to follow you, even when my humanity gets in the way. Help me see others, and even myself, the way you see us. Help me live out love as you do. In your name I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].