The stories of Jesus’ resurrection appearances continue. They raise the question: how do we live out resurrection in our lives? Is resurrection at the centre of our lives and our church or is it on the edges? Is it at the heart of who we are and what we do or is it something we think about once a year at Easter?
Where do you think those who were right at the heart of the movement, the disciples, those who have seen and experienced so much up-close and first-hand sat in regard to resurrection? From the biblical accounts, the answer is perhaps surprising, in that they seemed to find it hardest to accept. At first doubting the women, they were reluctant to trust the story the women told that Jesus was alive. Even in this story today with Jesus standing among them, the disciples initially think they are dealing with a ghost, and even when invited to touch Jesus, are still finding it hard to accept he is alive. Could it be that an alive Jesus meant the patterns of their living and being would be about to change enormously? That their lives were never going to be the same again?
The disciples were right at the centre of the Jesus movement, yet still they had doubts and seemed unwilling to accept what was right before their eyes. It isn’t until Jesus begins to reteach them about scripture, to remind them that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day and that they are not only witnesses to these things but will be proclaiming them, that the disciples seem to get it. A few verses later, after being blessed, we find them worshipping Jesus then in the temple continually blessing God (verse 52).
There are so many parallels for us in our own situation with our experience not only of this covid pandemic, but of a church that appears to be in decline. As a church we are in the place, perhaps, where the disciples stood those thousands of years ago. Do we doubt what we think we know about resurrection or do we trust in resurrection as a way of living?
The new life of resurrection invites us to examine whether we have made choices based on fear rather than trust, on habit rather than inspiration. It challenges us to think differently and to step out on risky paths in faith.
God’s love, set loose in the world through the resurrection, needs our hands, our feet, our voices and our hearts to make it known and understood and transformative in our place and time. Like the disciples, God is issuing us an invitation to change our perspective, and rethink what we think we know. We are being called to take risks and trust that God knows the way forward.
Can we embrace the resurrected way of life, and discover that our lives, actions, attitude, words and thoughts are the witnesses that reveal God’s kingdom in the world?