Really Human (April 25, 2012)

…Opening To…

A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat. (St. Athanasius)

…Listening In…

While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish. Taking it, he ate it in front of them. (Luke 24:36-43; context)

…Filling Up…

Today is day seven of ten with the Resurrection appearances. Notice how similar the scene above is to its analog in the Gospel according to John. Jesus stands among the disciples, declares peace to them, then shows 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. (Jesus roasts fish on the beach in John’s account, so there’s a bit of a parallel there, too). 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 was really human – fully human in a way no human had ever been. 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 us 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 just by bringing us into God’s presence.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you sent your Son to earth to show us what you dreamed for humanity. Help me to live as part of that dream, drawing on the riches of Christ’s grace to be the best version of myself I can be every day of my life. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you raised your Son from the dead and showed me that nothing in all of creation can separate me from your love.

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