22nd September 2020
'why do doubts rise'
38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled,
and why do doubts rise in your minds?
39 Look at my hands and my feet.
It is I myself! Touch me and see;
a ghost does not have flesh and bones,
as you see I have."
.... Luke 24:38-39 NIV
Every time I read
these post resurrection meetings
with the disciples the question arises;
'Why did no-one recognise
the risen Jesus when they first met him?'
When Mary encountered him
at the empty tomb she thought he was the gardener;
it wasn't surprising,
her eyes would have been full of tears
and he was some distance from her.
When the disciples were coming back
to shore after a night's fishing
they would have been tired
and again he was a long way from them;
so this too is understandable.
But this explanation doesn't hold up
in the story of the meeting
on the road to Emmaus;
there Jesus walked beside them
and talked to the two disciples,
and they did not recognise him.
Their excuse would not have been distance.
The turning point in all these meetings
was when Jesus acted;
when he spoke to directly to Mary;
called her by name, she recognised him,
her eyes where opened.
When Jesus told the fishermen
to cast their nets to the opposite side
of the boat and they caught an abundance of fish,
they recognised their friend,
their eyes were opened.
When Jesus took bread, broke it
and told the disciples to eat,
they recognised him, their eyes were opened.
Then it came to me.
It was highly possible that
Jesus' face was different,
being at a distance,
or eyes blurred with tears
and he was the last person
they were expecting to see.
But the main stumbling block
was the fact that they had not yet met
the risen Jesus.
And that is the same for us today,
Jesus is unrecognisable until we meet
and receive him into our lives.
He is calling our names today.
He is telling us we are looking in the wrong place
for fulfilment. He says,
'Cast your nets my way
and you will receive an abundance of joy,
forgiveness, love, peace, and eternal life.'
He has sacrificed himself for us
and entreats us to come to him.
It is the acceptance of Jesus that saves us,
that ultimately opens our eyes.
Then we become a forgiven child of God;
and then we can see his presence everywhere
about us and in all we meet.
May we encounter the risen Christ today
as we go about our daily lives.