Essential Questions: Did Jesus have an earthly life after his ressurection?

A numbers of years ago, I met a woman who had no idea that Jesus spent any time on earth after his resurrection.  We had a deeply fascinating conversation about the fact that Jesus spent 40 days on earth between his resurrection and his ascension into heaven.  It is because of this conversation that I decided to make this question my blog post this week.  Given that we are currently in the 40 day period as part of the Church’s liturgical year, I thought it was appropriate to look at this issue this week.

There are several stories in the Bible about  Jesus’ encounters with his disciples after his resurrection.  These meetings each tell us something about Jesus after his resurrection.

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Thomas encounters the Risen Jesus.(Can Stock)

 

(1) Jesus had a physical body.

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[a] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:11-18 ESV)

Jesus was standing there in front of Mary in physical form.  Mary thought he was another person; the gardner.  She did not think the man she saw was some form of a spirit.  Yet, Mary did not recognize Jesus at first.  Perhaps it was grief.  Perhaps he looked different.  Perhaps she wasn’t expecting to see someone she thought had died three days earlier.  Whatever it was, Mary did not recognize Jesus right away.  Yet, there was something about the way that he said her name that caused her to recognize him right away.  There was no doubt that it was Jesus.

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 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.” (Luke 24: 37-39)

Again, it is clear here that Jesus has a physical body that his disciples can touch.

(2) Jesus could walk and talk.

Not only did Jesus talk to Mary was understood.  He talked to his disciples in all his encounters.  He talked to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus while he walked with them.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”…So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (Luke 24:13-18, 28-31)

(3)  Jesus could eat.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit….And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,[b] and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43 ESV)

It is very clear from this encounter that Jesus could eat.  Food didn’t just drop through him as though he were a spirit.  In fact, Jesus specifically ate in front of the disciples to prove that he was there in bodily form.

(4)  The marks of the crucifixion remain on his body.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 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.”And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:36-40 ESV)

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20-21 ESV)

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:24-29 ESV)

Jesus’ body still has the scars from the crucifixion in his hands and his feet from where the nails held him to the cross.  The scar also remains on his side where the Roman soldiers put their sword into him to see if he was really dead.

(5) The normal laws of physics did not seem to apply to Jesus anymore.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  (John 20:19-20 ESV)

The disciples were behind locked doors, and Jesus appeared to them.  He did not need to have the doors opened.  He just appeared in the room.

He could also leave just as easily.  After he broke the bread with the disciples after their walk to Emmaus, he vanished from their sight after they recognized him.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:28-33 ESV)

Check out the stories for yourself.  See what else you can learn about Jesus and his life on earth after his resurrection.  Share what you have learned in the comments.

John 20

Luke 24

 

 

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Holy Week: Easter Sunday

Today’s post as part of our Holy Week series has been written by Mark Latulipe!

Happy Easter! – ALLELUIA! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!

Easter Sunday – the day that we remember the incredible and historical event that changed it all. On Good Friday Jesus hung on a cross and carried the weight of all our sin. He paid the cost of that sin, which is death; but it doesn’t end there. After his death on the cross and burial, Jesus rose and came up out of the tomb and was alive again. Not even death could hold Him down. Jesus did all this to accomplish everything that was promised and He did it because he loves more than we can comprehend.

Luke 24: 1-49 – This passage that has been on my mind this Easter season.  We read about three encounters that happen after Jesus had risen: the women at the tomb, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the other disciples. The ones I want to talk about are the encounters with the disciples.

First, we have the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. They were talking about what had happened – Jesus on the cross- and this “guy” comes up to them and asks them “what’s up” (paraphrasing). On any other day this would have been normal question; but on this day it was not. The disciples’ reaction was, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (v18)

Given their emotional state, their snappy maybe even snarky remark was understandable. They “explained” to this guy what had happened and he turns around and says to them that they don’t even know what really happened. He explained to them that they were being foolish because despite knowing the scriptures and despite knowing what Jesus had told them before his death, they still believe that Jesus was actually going to come back from death. (Oh snap, they just got told!) So they continued their conversation with this man as they walked, still not recognizing that this man was Jesus. They didn’t realize it until he broke bread with them, just as He did before his death.

Then we have disciples. Fortunately they recognized Jesus or at least that this being, possibly a ghost, looked and sounded like Jesus. Even after all His teachings and all the time they followed Him before His death, it still took convincing from Jesus himself to make them believe. It took seeing the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet for them to know that this was Jesus, alive again.

For me these encounters these people have with Jesus really shows our human nature and a struggle we all face. Despite knowing the scriptures or the story, and despite knowing Jesus, we still need to be reminded of who He is, what He did, and why He did it. We constantly need Jesus to say to us “hey, remember me, remember what I did for you, and remember why I did it.” We need that reminder sometimes daily, but that’s ok. We shouldn’t feel ashamed that we need reminding; those who knew Jesus best on this earth, who actually witnessed his death, still needed a reminder. And that’s what Easter is about; we celebrate and remember Jesus and the incredible things He did for us.

So take time this Easter, before church and before the family dinner, to sit and pray, and ask Jesus to encounter you, so that you can truly be reminded of “who He is, what He did, and why He did it” – Happy Easter!!!

Holy Week: Holy Thursday

Today’s Blog Post has been written by Tim Huyer!

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As we prepare for Good Friday, we consider the sacrifice of Christ and what his death means for us.

For me, the image of Jesus, hanging on the cross, uttering the words “It is finished” is one of the most powerful images I can imagine. While suffering indescribable torture – not just the physical torture of a horrific execution but also the much worse spiritual torture of bearing the wrath of God against all of our sins – he gasps out these three words.

These words, like all the words in Scripture, are a message to us. In this case, it was a message so important that, while literally suffocating to death (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/apr/08/thisweekssciencequestions), He found the strength and breath to say it to us.

So what do these three words mean? Just exactly was this “it” that is finished? Jesus did not follow grammar rules on avoiding ambiguous pronouns (https://www.cedarville.edu/~/media/Files/PDF/Writing-Center/Student/avoiding-vague-and-ambiguous-pronoun-references.pdf), so there is no clear antecedent to the word “it” in the Gospel. We must instead use other methods to find out what He meant.

We can rule out a few of the things that cannot be the “it” that He said. God’s work on earth is not finished. It continues.

The Word of God is not finished. There is plenty more scripture in the Bible.

Jesus’ time on earth is not finished. We know He rose again three days later. We also know He is coming again.

It isn’t even the last words He said on the cross. Those words, as we know, are found in Luke’s Gospel. (http://biblehub.com/luke/23-46.htm)

“It” must mean something else.

I think the “it” is the purpose for Jesus being nailed to that cross in the first place. The reason why Jesus became man and came to earth.

Jesus came to earth to die for us. He came to fulfill the Law, to atone for our sins, to reconcile us to God. He completed this task, this gift of unthinkable grace, on the cross.

The Bible speaks about our fall from grace. How we sinned and stopped walking with God, turning away from Him time and time again.

Everything changed the moment he spoke these three words.

Because of Jesus’ gift of his death, because of the blood of our Lord and Saviour, our fall is finished. Our being cast out is finished. Our being condemned to death and damnation is finished.

In a way, we can think of a new testament, a new story, beginning at this point. The “it” that is finished is the story of our fall. The story of our redemption is begun. That story will continue until He comes again in Glory and, speaking from the throne, says “It is done.” (http://biblehub.com/revelation/21-6.htm)

Essential Questions: What is the way of life?

Happy Easter!  Or have you forgotten about Easter already, except for buying the leftover chocolate on sale?  In our secular society, Easter is a one day thing, which is over as soon as the egg hunt is finished and the chocolate consumed.  Yet, for Christians, Easter is our life.  The reality of Easter morning is what informs how we live our lives and the hope that we can have; a hope that is grounded in the Resurrection joy!  Without it, our life and our faith would be very different.

How appropriate is it that the next question that we are looking deals with the way of life.  Easter is the ultimate way in which our broken relationship with God has been mended!  Over the next couple of months, we will break down the salvation plan over several posts.

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(c) Can Stock Photo

Whether we chose the way of life depends very much on our response to God reaching out to us.   God put his hand out to mend the broken relationship through the events of Good Friday and Easter.

Consider the following passages and see what God is saying to you through them.

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him,and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. (John 14:23-26)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message))

Consider also what the Bible has to say in Col. 1:9-12 and Romans 12:9-21.

These passages speak about the love of God and the way in which we are to respond to that love.  It was out of love for us that God gave his only Son, Jesus to die for our sins and raised him from the dead to give us ever lasting life.  Our response should be to love him and to follow His ways as a way of showing our love for God.  

In some ways, it is easier not to.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in broken relationship with God; to ignore His attempts to bring us back to Him.  If we ignore our brokenness, we don’t have to face the sin in our lives.  We don’t have to change how we live.  We can continue trying to fool ourselves into thinking that we are happy.  However, God designed to want more, to be more and to live in relationship with Him.  As we are in the Easter season, consider how we want to respond to God’s love for you.  Jesus would have died for anyone of us; even if we were the only one. His love is that extravagent. No sin is too big that it is not covered by Jesus’ sacrifice; so our guilt is washed away.  What we need to decide is are we ready to respond to His love with love?  Are we ready to choose the way of life?  Are we ready to respond to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit as He guides us? While New Year’s is considered the time to make resolutions of how we will change our lives for the better.  I think that the Easter season is a really good time for Christians to consider how we will correct our lives to follow more closely the way that God wants us to live.

Not Quite the (re)Entrance you would have Expected

the_resurrection_day_ Hallelujah! Christ is risen!  Today is Easter. Today is a happy day, it is the day that we celebrate Jesus’ victory over Sin and Death, it is the day of His victory- the battle for eternal life is over, God wins! The events that we celebrate today mean that the desertion by his followers, the shambles of his trial and the sheer brutality of the crucifixion were not in vain. His pain was very real, and so too is His victory, which he won for us! Time to party!

Think for a second about how cities celebrate their sports teams winning a championship: they throw a massive parade where the whole city welcomes the conquering heroes with scenes of pure joy and jubilation.  I would suggest that given the significance, magnitude and miraculous nature of the Resurrection, it would be reasonable to assume that God would do something huge to mark this occasion that would make any championship parade look like an insignificant party planned by amateurs. But no….. instead of a triumphant return on rolling clouds, with rapturous cheers from heaven for all to see with their own eyes, the Resurrection was revealed first to a single solitary woman,…. who did not recognize him at first!!!

Imagine that you’re watching a movie where you are being exposed to the Easter story for the very first time, but had seen a spoiler alert that Christ does indeed rise again, but you had no clue of how how it would be revealed. The reaction that comes to my mind is something along the lines of WHAT…..after all THAT, revealing himself to a single person is how he announces his Resurrection…..?

I believe that Christ announced his Resurrection this way for two reasons. Firstly, it speaks to God being a god of substance. After all what is more important- that he is the Light of the World that saved us from Eternal Darkness,  or that he boasted about it with a few flashes of light?

The second reason has to do with the idea of free will. The significance of this free will is so huge that we could do an entire series on it, but for now all I want to do is highlight that part of free will means he also granted us the right and ability to reject and turn away from Him.  If He had gone for the big flashy re-entrance, I wonder how many would have chosen to follow him not out of love and dedication and submission, but instead out of fear and terror who were not interested in his commands.

It is my belief that the Resurrection of Christ, and more importantly the small, humble nature of it sends a similar message that His very humble and “unfit” for what we would have expected for the King of Kings: He came FOR us at Christmas, not to awe us or impress the masses with fancy tricks, and at Easter He healed a broken world and granted salvation to the broken people in it. 

Hallelujah indeed!

Happy Easter (have you asked for your hug today)?

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He is risen indeed. Allelulia! 

Easter Sunday is the day when we say these happy words. Christ the Lord has risen today. On this day we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, and we also celebrate because we have been given “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection” (1 Peter 1:3).

For me, Easter Sunday begins with a joyful service, a church decorated in white and familiar, happy hymns of praise and worship. There are also meals with family and a LOT of chocolate.  It is my hope and prayer that you also feel the happiness that comes from knowing that Christ Jesus has died and risen from the grave to save you

However, for me, and, I suspect, for many of you, after the service is over, the family meals concluded, and (at least some of) the chocolate is eaten, the joy starts to fade.

One reason the joy fades for me is because I think of those with whom I can no longer share the joy of Easter.  My grandparents. My parents. My sister. I’ve also lost aunts, uncles and friends. Three beloved pets who have died just within the past year, and many more over my life.

Christ’s death and resurrection hasn’t spared me from grief, from sadness, from hardship. Nor have I been spared from the other agonies that come with life: broken hearts, stress from school and work, heated arguments and disagreements with friends and family, loneliness, despair, depression – the list goes on.

In my despair, I ask, why must I suffer? Why hasn’t Christ’s death and resurrection saved me from this pain? And, if I must wait for Him to come again for my pain to end, why does He keep us waiting (almost 2000 years and counting), knowing that we are suffering?

Then I remember that Jesus died for us so that we need not be separated from God – the fate we deserve because of our sin. He rose again so that we can have living hope. He came into this world and suffered for us so that we could all have a personal relationship with Him.

The Bible promises, “The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8; see also Revelation 21:4).  When I think back to my moments of greatest grief and suffering, I also remember how I was comforted during those times. My family and I were given all that we needed to get through these trials. There were plenty of tears, but also many ways by which those tears were wiped away.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that God called friends to us or otherwise caused things to happen to ease our pain and comfort us in our need. It was as if there was someone right there, holding me tightly and providing Kleenex (or chocolate) as needed.

When I am suffering the most, hugs from loved ones go a long way towards helping me feel better. And, while me may not yet be able to see and touch Jesus, He is always there to give us hugs anytime we open ourselves up to His love. And, to me, that is what we are celebrating. Someone loves us so much that He died just so that He could hug us whenever we wanted. So, in this season of Easter, why don’t you join me in remembering to ask God for a hug today?