Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.
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 and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Observations and Reflections
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples seemingly all at once. He also appeared to Peter and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. However, this presents a possible timing issue with John’s gospel which does not depict Peter seeing Jesus until most the other disciples already see him and when Jesus does appear to Peter, he (Peter) is out fishing. It’s quite possible that Peter was at both appearances, however, Luke only records the first appearance. In fact, only John includes the passage about Peter being reinstated by Jesus on the shore. It’s also part of Johns “2nd ending”.
Nevertheless, Luke’s gospel coincides with the synoptic accounts and it would appear that Jesus appear to all the disciples at the house. Even though Luke leaves out Thomas’ fit of doubt, the account presents no real issues with congruency. It is fair to say that Jesus’ appearance in the house is an unquestionable part of the gospel’s over-all story. What else would explain the disciple’s courage and zeal to carry on the gospel message, after the Romans just put down the movement? The only explanation is that Jesus actually appeared to them. Each on of them eventually gave their life for the cause. People don’t do that for fictitious stories.
Once again we read on and see how hard of a time the disciples had believing that Jesus rose again. The once repeated promise that He would rise after the third day, fell on deaf ears and left them feeling faithless. The overwhelming sadness and shock of losing their Savior and close companion had taken over and they were unable to let themselves rely on the hopeful message that He would one day be with them again.
Here we finally see how Jesus is about to put their doubt to rest and appears directly before them. However, it is fear that takes over and they are still not able to believe that it is Him. He then has to gently and graciously remind them about what Scripture said would take place and His own words that He had repeated to them many times about His resurrection.
I think there are times when we allow for our own fear and sadness to overtake the hope and joy we have in Christ. He has made many promises to us throughout scripture that He will provide joy in place of sadness, hope instead of hopelessness, peace in place of fear, comfort during sad times and strength to face uncertain times.
Life’s circumstances can sometimes alter our view of God’s faithfulness in our lives. Jesus had promised the disciples that He would appear to them again and He did. That display of His faithfulness alone should cause our hearts to be filled with a joy and hope that can only be experienced through Jesus Christ. The beauty of God’s promises is that despite our faith, He remains faithful.