Posted on Sun, Apr 19, 2015
April 19, 2015
3rd Sunday in Easter
Gospel Text: Luke 24:36-48 “Taste and See that the Lord is Good”
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36b Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look 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.’ 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, 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 in their presence. 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.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
From the very first sentence in today’s Gospel, it is clear that the writer of the Gospel of Luke assumes that we are as human as any of the disciples. “Jesus himself stood among them…” Luke writes. “JESUS! Yes, the real Jesus, stood among them.” Luke is doing his best to convince the disciples, and us, that God has the power of resurrection, no matter what kind of human logic our minds demand.
If any one of us were any of the disciples in this text, we would have acted exactly the same. ‘We all know that Jesus was dead and buried, but here we are, in a closed room, staring at a physically fit and perfectly healed Jesus… accept for those nasty scars on his hands, feet and side.’ What would you be thinking? We would all be just like a 5 or 6 year old… we would want to touch Jesus! Is he really there? I have heard of ghosts, and if I was staring at a ghost that would be the closest thing to anything I could think of happening right now… BUT… Is he warm? Like a living person?
Jesus senses their confusion, he anticipated it for sure, and he says, “39 Look 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.”
And after giving this standing, speaking, apparently alive Jesus a good ‘look-see,’ I love what Luke writes, “41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering…” What else would a human with the experiences these individuals had witnessed and heard, while they were traveling with Jesus, would have been feeling and wondering?
Then in order to really prove that he was fully flesh and blood and not a ghost, Jesus does the, “GHOSTS CANNOT EAT OR DRINK” test. (Recall when Barbossa makes it clear that ‘the dead’ cannot drink to slay our thirst, or eat anything to satisfy our hunger!) He says, “Have you anything here to eat?”
Luke wrote this text to help us really understand the real presence of God in Jesus Christ and that is the way it should be preached. Jesus truly is the death and the resurrection. He is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets. But since I have been doing ministry with all of you, and many more members who have come and gone from Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church over the years, this one little phrase, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ has a totally new and much deeper meaning for me.
Once in a while, after church, there may be a person sitting in a car laying low, or sitting in front of my office waiting for the service to be over to ask me a simple question, “Have you anything here to eat?” One time, probably in my first or second year here at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church, but it wasn’t the first, there was a white beat up old van with a guy sitting low in the seat, and he meekly said, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ After he knew he had my attention, he began unloading a long and painful story of his life… ANC was locked, and we don’t open the doors accept business hours only, so I went to Foodland with him and his beautiful daughter. It was clear they were living out of the van, so I bought them some toiletries as well. She squealed with joy when I bought some peanut butter. I have never looked at peanut butter the same since that day. I told him to come back sometime, but I never saw them again.
I remember another time when a little girl, probably about 5 or so, was at ANC picking up some food with her mom. Her mom was distracted, so I was with the little girl for the time. I found a teddy bear to give her, (thank you Judy M.) but I also had a package of tuna in my other hand. She didn’t speak English, but she made it clear that she wanted the tuna more than the teddy bear. She receive both.
Two Friday’s ago I was pulling out of our campus to go to our Bible Study at Hawaii Kai Retirement Community. As I pulled out, a city bus stopped in front of me and disembarked the passengers. The bus was filled mostly with seniors and some young mothers and children. They seemed to pour out of the bus, 30, 40 or more. And as they got out of the bus, they immediately began fumbling with their luggage carriers and carts, then THEY BEGAN TO RUN TO BE THE FIRST IN LINE IN FRONT OF ANC! There wasn’t any need for them to run, but the look on their faces was, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’
The Gospel text for today was probably written probably around 80 to 100 C.E. about 1900 years ago… and the purpose of today’s text is to help us see and believe that Jesus was truly resurrected from the dead, and one of the key phrases the Gospel writer is, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’
We don’t need to go back 2000 years or so to prove that Jesus is alive and well today, walking amongst us asking, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ In my experience, I have heard this simple question so many times since I have been active with ANC, the Hawaii my images of Jesus includes hundreds of faces I have met on our island.
Yesterday was a huge day for the Hawaii Foodbank (http://www.hawaiifoodbank.org/AnnualFoodDrive.aspx). It was the annual food drive and our goal was one million meals. I don’t know if we reached our goal, but we gave it a great try. The executive director, Dick Grimm and I were talking about how generous people were in giving food and monetary gifts, ESPECIALLY JUST AFTER TAXES WERE DUE! It was truly a blessing to be doing that most holy work for the Foodbank. We both agree, there are definitely people out there who needlessly go hungry, but nobody is starving… there is plenty of food, the issue is distribution to those who ask, “Do you have anything to eat?” Thanks to the great people who have compassion for the hungry and have responded, you are blessed.
Do you want proof that Jesus is here? If anyone asks, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ I am sure you will have something to share. And when you share some spam, chili, rice, fruit or veggies, look into the face of the one posing the question, and say, “Thank you Jesus, for coming to me today.” What can I serve you?
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