THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B
In the sermon this week Jesus is trying to ground the disciples’ faith in the reality of his presence, in the concreteness of his being. He told them to touch him; he ate in front of them. He was announcing that he was real. Jesus was doing something else when he meets these disciples on this road this Emmaus road he is making there needs real as well.
Church we have to make People’s needs real, we have to see the needs of others as sacred. Thinking on what folks need and how we care for those needs and thinking on Artsfeilds here in Lake City and Darla Moore some of you may have herd about the rift between MRs Moore and the University of South Carolina back here in April when her Mother Lorraine Moore died April 1 at age 89 the School apparently neglected to support Darla needs during her grief as a fact she said in a letter:
“There is not a university in the country that would exhibit this degree of thoughtless, dismissive and graceless ignorance of the death of a parent of their largest donor,”
Moore wrote. “I continue to be embarrassed and humiliated by my association with you and all you so disgracefully and incompetently display to the community you are charged to serve and to whom you look for support.”
What she was saying is don’t you know what has happened to me, can’t you see my pain as I walk down this road. Are you the only one in all of Jerusalem that does not know the events of this past week. I need help understanding Life and death and life after death.
You see When Jesus saw the pain he came to the needs of the disciples as he walked and talked and shared the word of God. He comforted them with his presence and his word.
In Luke’s version of that locked room encounter in our focus text today with the Resurrected Jesus. Well, Luke doesn’t emphasize the locked doors as much as John does. But there is a scene of confusion and a faint tinge of hope sneaking in around the corners. The Disciples are in trauma they are in shock at the death of Jesus.
They have gotten together in that room, maybe the Upper Room, maybe another gathering place where the hurting and the hopeless gathered together not knowing what to do.
They were pooling their experiences, what they had heard and seen.
Their hearts were pounding, and their eyes were bugging out.
They didn’t dare hope.
Then suddenly, he is there. No one saw him come in; no one met him at the door or grabbed a towel and offered to wash his feet. He was just there. “Peace be with you.” That’s what he said, and they picked themselves up off the floor and wondered if they’d ever know peace again.
They were haunted by him, by the idea of him, by the blood of him.
They were terrified of their shame, of how they had abandoned him, of how they wouldn’t believe in what he had told them before or what the women said they saw.
Jesus he’s talking about being flesh and blood like them.
Luke says he showed them his hands and feet.
Was he showing them the marks in his hands and feet? John says he was. But Luke is a bit more clear about those specifics.
He does say, “Touch me.” “Touch me and see.” Actually, if you dig a little deeper, he doesn’t just say, “touch me and see.”
He says, “grab hold of me, handle me, or even grope around.” John says that Jesus says, “don’t hang on to me,” when he meets Mary in the garden.
But in Luke, Jesus says to the disciples—the reeling from the shock disciples—“grab hold of me.
Ground yourselves in me.” the verb, ???af?sat?, is a second person plural. All y’all, grab hold and hang on.
Grab hold of me and “behold!”
The see, ?dete, is imperative, also second person plural. Imperative.
Grab hold and see!
As if your life depended upon it. As if your hopes would be found in it.
Grab hold of the reality of Christ and see not just him but you too.
See your path, your future, your mission, and your reason for being.
And then he asks for something to eat. If it wasn’t for this COVID time thing I’d tell you what it means to eat together, to break bread and to break the bread of life with Jesus. But let’s move on!
In conclusion, Jesus was saying This is real, folks. Watch me eat this piece of fish.
I’m no ghost, no figment of your imagination, or delusion brought on by a lack of sleep and constant terror.
I’m as real as you.
I am flesh the word made flesh.
I am here with you.
And I am who I said I am.
I am am the word made flesh again in your presence. Your needs are sacred to me, holy to me and our mission together.