Dave spoke this morning from Luke 24:1-11, one of the New Testament accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.
The disciples were devastated by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but His resurrection changed them irrevocably, showing them that death was no longer a barrier between mankind and God and that physical death is not so final that it could not be overcome. Nonetheless, we see that each of the disciples had to take hold of the truth of the resurrection personally and that this depended in many respects on their previous relationship with Jesus.
The disciples’ faith was rooted in their relationship with Jesus. Resurrection brought new revelation to this relationship, but it was the memory of the connection between the human Jesus and the risen Lord which convinced many. The disciples on the road to Emmaus believed when they recognised Jesus from the breaking of bread (Luke 24:30-31); others recognised Jesus as they shared a meal of cooked fish on the shore (John 21:1-14). We need to know Jesus and build on this relationship.
The disciples came to faith at different times and in different ways. Each of the resurrection accounts focuses on a different sense: some recognising Jesus through taste as they shared meals with Him; some being encouraged to touch Him (see John 20:24-29); others hearing the words of Jesus or seeing Him in the garden (John 20:11-18). Maybe it was the smell of the fish cooking which reminded them of their Lord and helped them to realise that the resurrection was real. Jesus provided what was needed for each person to meet with Him personally.
The resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples are as notable for His disappearances as for His appearances. This reminds us that God is not a ‘hover parent’, always hovering over us. There are times when we do not feel His presence, when He allows us to work through situations without, perhaps, the reassurance of HIs felt presence. This does not mean He is absent (He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, as Heb 13:5 reminds us), but is the way He, in His wisdom, chooses to bring growth and dependence which is by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5;7)
Christ comes to us all in different ways: sometimes with a roar, sometimes with a whisper. When we know who He is, we will know that He is with us and that His resurrection makes all the difference to our everyday lives.