In somewhat chronological order, within a forty-day time span, Jesus appeared to: Mary Magdalene, the other women, the two on the Emmaus Road, Peter, the disciples minus Thomas, a week later the disciples plus Thomas, seven of the fishermen disciples on the beach, the disciples on the Galilean mountaintop, the 500 on the mountaintop, James His half-brother, the disciples, and again the disciples.
How would you react if you had seen someone die and be buried, and then you saw that person a few days later, alive and talking with you? Let’s consider a couple of these people.
Mary Magdalene, the greater the sin, the greater the forgiveness. That was Mary the former prostitute. Though when, at first, she saw the resurrected Christ, she thought He was the gardener, when He spoke her name, she knew Him and wanted to grasp His feet in worship. He wasn’t trying to be rude when He said “Do not cling to me.” Rather, as my friend, Pastor Shockey explained, “…I return to the Father. Your idea of relationship with Me has previously been physical (Note: not sexual); henceforth it must become Spiritual.” Believers now relate to Christ through the Holy Spirit.
What about the two on the Emmaus Road? Luke 24:18 names one of the disciples as Cleopas. We always assumed the other disciple was also a man, but from the Internet at Jesus.org, James Boice suggests that the second disciple was the wife of Cleopas; humm, a woman! In John 19:25 we’re told that one of the women at the foot of the cross was “Mary the wife of Clopas (different spellings were not unusual.) This idea suggests that the husband and wife were returning home by way of the Emmaus Road. But, if they were Jesus’ followers, why did they not recognize Him while walking. They did finally realize who He was when He broke the bread (His Body) and poured the wine (His Blood.) Sometimes it takes a hint of something from the past, a souvenir, to bring back to memory a previous event. (The five senses play an important part in remembering former occurrences.) Think back to when you realized Who Jesus really is? A salvation experience, a time you believed, and you knew you knew Him. If you are someone who hasn’t yet come to this recognition, we who have encourage you to embrace by trust, by faith, by His grace, the most amazing event of your life.
We’ve all heard the expression, “Seeing is believing.” And we’ve probably said, “I’ll believe that when I see it.” Imagine Thomas. It was a week between the first meeting with the disciples when Thomas was not present, and when he was with the others. I wonder what he was doing that first week. Can you even imagine the emotion he must have experienced touching the wounds in Christ’s hands and side. He believed. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “…walk by faith not by sight.” We all could take a lesson from Thomas.
Can you imagine a Mom yelling upstairs to her children, “John 21:12.” Well, I used to do that, and the kids would come down to breakfast before going off to school. Scripture describes a picnic breakfast of fish cooked over an open fire on the beach. The most prominent of the disciples in this event is Peter. Christ asked three times if Peter loves Him, and Peter always answered “Yes.” If you love me feed my sheep, my lambs. Sometimes, even we need to have a person look us straight in the eye and repeat something three times before it really sinks in. Peter was to be the human leader of the flock, the shepherd of the Jewish believers who were left behind. What about you? Maybe you are helping to care for our flock, or maybe God wants you to use your spiritual giftedness for some other service to Him. Are you listening to and hearing what Christ is asking you to do? And, then doing it?
James the half-brother of Jesus (not the disciple James brother of John, the sons of Zebedee) was not a believer until after the resurrection. This James later became one of the key leaders in the Jerusalem church. He was martyred for his faith. Is it possible to grow up in a Christian home and not become a Christian? Of course. Keep praying for friends and relatives who have not yet come to the Lord, especially the children of pastors and deacons. Our faithful prayers “avail much.”
So then, what would you do if you literally met Jesus? Me? He and I would run towards each other, across a field of yellow wild flowers, and then hug with joy.