Grace to you!
We come to the Lord Jesus' fifth appearance (Lk 24:35-48) as a proof of his Resurrection. It was his appearance to the apostles and a few others with them in Jerusalem. Recall that the Lord's first appearance was to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:11-18). The second was to the other women visiting the tomb (Mt 28:1f; Mk 16:1f). The third was to the two on the way to Emmaus (Lk 24:1f). The fourth was his appearance to Simon Peter (Lk 24:34).
It's important to note that among the worst doubters of the Resurrection were the disciples of Jesus, chief of whom were the apostles. I love how Venerable Fulton J. Sheen described the skepticism of the apostles: "The skeptics of yesterday, namely the apostles, were worse than the skeptics of today."
Sometimes, this aspect of their initial doubt towards the possibility of the Resurrection gets forgotten. Some argue that the disciples were expecting the Resurrection. Others suggest it was the fruit of their hallucination having wanted and desired it so badly. These arguments aren't consistent with the reports documented in Scripture about what happened.
Scripture wrote of the mood of the disciples when the two on the way to Emmaus broke the news of the possible Resurrection of the Lord, plus Jesus' sudden appearance to them as well.
As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit." And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has no flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Lk 24:36-39).
No better story shows the unbelief of the apostles and disciples. Their doubts were deep and their fears beyond measure. They believed Jesus was dead. They knew he was dead. They saw the soldiers pierce his side, the sword went straight to his heart and blood and water gushed out. They witnessed him take his last breath. John the beloved, in particular, was present along with the other women, including Mary, the Mother of the Lord.
The disciples were sorrow-stricken, as they knew Joseph of Arimathea rolled the stone over Jesus' tomb. They were not to come close for fear the guards who kept watch over the grave to prevent any fraud would arrest them. They were gone. Terrified. Hopes shattered. Dreams aborted. He was dead. Period.
Therefore, they were beside themselves to hear the rumors of a Resurrection. Unfortunately, for many of them and many today, it was a fairy tale.
Again, the unbelievers of yesterday were far more hardened than those of today.
Jesus' fifth appearance and the actions he undertook were to demonstrate he lives. He made some specific gestures and carried out some grace-filling actions to reawaken their faith. Those include his word of peace (his usual greetings), addressing their doubts, and the showing of his pierced hands and feet. Also was his call for them to touch him, plus his eating of bread with them. These were extra-mile efforts to prove he wasn't a ghost. He was (and is still) alive.
My friend, no matter the doubts you may have about the Lord and the Resurrection, the facts speak for themselves. Allow the Risen Lord to open your eyes to see more. Do not doubt.
Pray: Open my eyes, Lord, to see and believe in the power of the Resurrection. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Easter Thursday: Acts 3:11-26; Lk 24:35-48]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.