One of the lovely things about the Gospel today (Luke 24:35-48) is that it deals with the nature of the resurrected body of Jesus and demonstrates that the disciples did not share the same drug-induced hypnotic experience, or simply remember the warm and fuzzy experiences of Jesus invoked by a vision of his ghost, and then go onto bear witness to his resurrection and commission to be bearers of reconciliation and peace in the world. Jesus has already appeared to the women (Mary Magdalene, Johanna, Mary the mother of James, and the unnamed others), to Simon Peter as well as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Cleopas and another); when the two return from their encounter when their “hearts burned within us” as Jesus shared the scriptures with them, and after they had recognised him in the breaking of the bread, they returned that night to be with the Apostles and other disciples.When Jesus turns up in the room, they are still shocked and amazed, and despite the witness of the two disciples, Peter and the women, they really don’t know what to make of this Jesus who is able to suddenly appear before them. So they think they must be seeing a ghost. Which provides Jesus with a teaching moment to demonstrate by pointing to his wounds and asking for something to eat that he is not just a Platonic form of his former self, now that his soul or spirit have escaped from his body – which is still the most common and radically wrong understanding of heaven that way too many Christians believe. What does Jesus want us to know about the resurrected body and what it points to for our own future?
Recorded at St Paul’s, 6pm (9’27”)
E3B – Easter, Third Sunday B