A Sudden Appearance

When was the last time that you were startled or terrified?  Last night I was startled by the sudden appearance of a raccoon on the road in front of me. While I wasn’t terrified, I’m guessing the raccoon was!  Something physiological happens to us in those moments that induces the fight or flight instinct.  I swerved safely around him and continued down the road.  I hoped the raccoon had been sufficiently terrified to take flight for safety. 

He suddenly appeared again…

…to the disciples in Jerusalem.  (No not the raccoon.  That would have been terrifying!)

Notice how, in this week’s Gospel, the “startled and terrified” disciples experience Jesus’ sudden appearance.

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. 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 and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.”  Luke 24:35-48

I find it interesting what Jesus does after bringing the disciples through this emotional roller coaster. He basically delivered a lesson as only He could. “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”  Think about that for a minute!  What must it have been like for the disciples to experience that?

Once the disciples are convinced that Jesus is alive and real, they are able to receive what Jesus shares with them and that they are to share with others.  As we know from the Scriptures many of them “preached in His name” without fear, even unto death.

Are you convinced that Jesus is alive and real?  Our faith in Christ must be rooted in the fact that He is!  When it is, we don’t run for safety in the face of a challenge, instead we become witnesses to all the nations.