Third Sunday of Easter 22.4.12 Luke 24.36-48

16 04 2012

Frightened Friends or Joyful Witnesses


This passage from Luke’s gospel follows on from the Emmaus Road story.  It makes an interesting contrast with John’s second behind-locked-doors story (John 20. 26-29).  But there is  no personal interaction here. Rather it seems as if all the disciples are Thomases. They are startled, terrified and not sure what they are seeing. So they are given a series of proofs – logical and physical. And then they are given their marching orders. 


 Luke 24.36-48

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

fish & chips

44 Then 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, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

Reflections and Questions


‘why are you frightened, why do doubts arise in your hearts?’ v 38 This is one of those sentences that can sound very different depending on the tone of voice used.


How do you hear it? How do your hearers need to hear it? 


‘touch me and see.’ v 39. Interesting way of putting it! The word ‘see’ here clearly means something deeper than ‘observe’.


How about, ‘touch me and understand’ or, ‘touch me and know’ or, ‘touch me and believe’?


‘In their joy they were disbelieving’. v41 How curious to connect joy and belief in this inverse way.  But come to think of it, both belief and joy are quite mysterious. We should talk more about both.


Why not thow caution to the wind and preach about joy?   (Here’s a quote to get you going.. “I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness” Malcolm Muggeridge.) (If that does nothing for you, take a look at the picture.)


‘You are witnesses of these things.’ v48  No comment needed from me. But there is a question.


Are you a witness?






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