Daily Devotion – April 14, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Luke 24:36b-48
24:36b While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
24:37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
24:38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
24:39 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.”
24:40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
24:41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
24:43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”
24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
24:46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,
24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

This is Luke, a doctor by trade, telling the story of Easter evening. The two disciples who had encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus and who have run all the way back to Jerusalem to find the disciples locked away in a room, have just finished telling them their story about Jesus being with them and revealing himself in the breaking of the bread.

As they are asking and answering questions, Jesus appears in the middle of the room, extends the peace to them all, and identifies himself to the people, showing them his wounds and offering himself to be touched and felt and seen as real. Leave it to Luke, the doctor, to remember the detail about Jesus asking for something to eat – a ghost could not have eaten, but Jesus was no ghost. Jesus had to prove his risen presence to these good friends of his. We shouldn’t fault Thomas for needing proof – apparently everyone did!  And wouldn’t you feel a bit proud or “proven right” if you were one of the two from the Emmaus encounter if, just as you were telling your story of seeing Christ, Christ appeared to everyone? That must have been something!

Once Jesus was acknowledged as being alive and present in the room, and once the peace was resting upon all of them, Jesus could speak, could teach, could remind them. Their hearts had been opened to believing in his resurrection, so now he could open their minds to the scriptures, Jesus’ destiny, and their own mission.

What do you think it would take to open the hearts of people in this day to really believe in Jesus’ resurrection and then to open their minds to their own calling for mission? What will it take, do you think? Because we have many many congregations who probably believe Jesus’ story but who have never taken in Jesus’ call to discipleship and mission to a broken world.  And if we don’t extend the mission to others, we are wasting a most precious gift, given expressly to us, to make a difference in the world God loves.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that calls us to faith in Jesus. Help us to really be opened to that faith and to really be opened to your call to mission, both as individuals and as a congregation.  Let your missional calling become our story.  Amen.