April 20, 2015

Luke 24:39 “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

The people and the cultures of the first century had various views concerning what happens to humans after they died. In this passage, set on Easter evening, Jesus reassures the disciples that he is not a ghost, or spirit if you prefer (they are different translations of the same word). Jesus is affirming for them that he is inaugurating a state of being after death that incorporates a body consisting of some kind of flesh and bones. It’s not just a resuscitation- he didn’t come back alive in the same way he was before the cross. But he also was not what many of the stories described in his day (and ours) – some sort of disembodied spirit. One of the emphases here is that with this body, however we understand it, Jesus was still Jesus- “It is I myself!” Just as God gave us life in our bodies through the wonder of our birth into this world, so, thanks to what Jesus did, God holds out the hope and promise of life with a transformed body in the future. Sure this raises a lot of questions. Feel free to go ahead and ask them. But don’t miss the point that Easter maintains that Jesus remained Jesus and conquered death declaring that in him we can also share in a similar resurrection. We affirm in the Creed that we “believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.” How will your life this week be affected by what you believe happens after you die?

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