Luke 24. 36b-48
Unlike the other Gospels St Luke does not mention the disciples going to Galilee to see the risen Lord. He tells his readers only about the appearances in and about Jerusalem leading up to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles empowering them for the mission to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
St Luke tells us that Jesus appeared several times to the apostles to help them in their bewilderment and fear at what had happened to Jesus. He seemed to be the same person they had known before his arrest, trials and crucifixion. But he appeared and disappeared in no normal way. Jesus encouraged them to touch his body, to see the wounds in his hands and side but it seems they were reluctant. Thomas confessed him his Lord and God but they thought no one could see God and live. No wonder the disciples were terrified and astonished. Jesus showed them that he was not a spirit or ghost or emanation by eating in front of them.
Even so St Luke says they disbelieved for joy and marvelled. A resurrection body is entirely beyond human understanding.
When Jesus had reassured his disciples he went on to give them important guidance for their future mission. They were to preach to all nations that all who repented and believed in Jesus Christ would receive forgiveness of their sins. The Holy Scriptures proved this to be true.
As their writings show, the first disciples searched the old Testament for texts which pointed to Christ The creed we are about to recite confirms this. We say, ‘On the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. We believe in the Holy Spirit who spoke by the prophets.’
We can give some familiar examples of texts which Christians believe point to Christ:
Isaiah chapter 7 ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a child and shall call his name Immanuel, God with us.’
Psalm 2 ‘You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.’
Psalm 72 ‘The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
will bring presents. The kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him.
Isaiah 61 ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted…
Isaiah 53 speaks of the Passion of Jesus.
Genesis 22 speaks of the sacrifice of the only son.
Psalm 22 speaks of the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Psalm 110 ‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek. The letter to the Hebrews expands this theme.
Exodus 14 anticipates the baptism of believers into the death and resurrection of Christ.
Psalm 16.10 ‘You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you leave your Holy One to see corruption.’ A prophecy of Christ’s resurrection quoted by St Peter in Acts 2.25ff.
We could go on but there is no need.
In 1933 Mr Hubert Worthington, the architect, completed the beautiful dining hall of the College of the Resurrection.
He was a friend of our founder, Charles Gore, and commissioned in thanksgiving a tondo, or roundel, carved by Eric Gill. It is placed in the middle of the great wall behind the high table and depicts the Lamb of God holding a banner inscribed with the word ‘Resurrexi’, I am risen.
More recently a small figure of naked Adam has been placed in a niche above the Refectory door.
The first Adam looks down the hall at the second Adam, recalling the words of St Paul in his letter to the Romans chapter 15. ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ Amen.
Crispin Harrison CR