The Risen Lord
...Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” ~ JOHN 20:26-29 (MSG)
After countless years of hearing sermons and reading scripture, I am amazed that it was an article in The Wall Street Journal that jogged something in my brain to ponder the magnificent reality of the magnitude of change defined by the resurrection. I have always accepted the truth of the resurrection and the promise of salvation and eternal life, but perhaps the changed body of Jesus was something on which I never concentrated.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose with a transformed body. Our Lord truly conquered death. Even the people closest to Him had trouble grasping this reality and the reality of Jesus in His changed body. Those in the garden didn’t recognize Him right away. (John 20:16-17) His fellow travelers on the road to Emmaus didn’t grasp who He was until the end of their journey: “As they sat down to eat, he asked God’s blessing on the food and then took a small loaf of bread and broke it and was passing it over to them, when suddenly — it was as though their eyes were opened — they recognized him! And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:30-31 TLB)
I wondered, after all these people recovered from their initial shock of encountering someone who demonstrated normal human characteristics but wasn’t constrained by routine physical barriers like “doors and distance,” what did they think? I imagine that this was when all of Jesus’ teaching suddenly made sense. This was the moment when the promise of eternal life suddenly made sense. This was the reality that made it possible for the disciples to carry forth the message of Christ and face trials and even martyrdom. Herein lay their hope and our hope. Jesus brought the promise of eternal life, and His resurrected body demonstrated that promise. Death was no longer final. Jesus changed everything, and they saw that reality with their own eyes. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55 NIV)
Thank you, Jesus, for demonstrating the reality of life after death and the promise of eternal life.
PITMAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH