The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews
15 April 2018
St. Joseph-St. John, Lakewood
In the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Remember last week,
when we heard about the disciples
locking themselves away
and Jesus showing up through the locked doors?
He does it again this week.
He’s been on the road with some friends.
They don’t recognize him until he takes, blesses, breaks, and shares bread.
Then they know him
and he disappears.
They run back to tell the other disciples
that they’ve seen the resurrected Christ.
Just as they’re talking about it,
here comes Jesus through the walls.
This is still on resurrection day,
the disciples are still scared,
and they’re still figuring out the reality of
They haven’t even gotten around to the idea
of Jesus actually being resurrected.
He shows up through the wall
and they think he’s a ghost.
Jesus calms the disciples,
then and now
“Peace be with you.”
They don’t buy it.
So he points out:
He has flesh.
He has wounds.
He invites them to touch him.
Then, “While in their joy
they were disbelieving and still wondering”
Jesus tells them he’s hungry.
Then and know,
Jesus the resurrected Christ
shows up with food.
He’s not a ghost.
He’s really there.
Death has been defeated.
This passage from Luke
is one of the strongest,
most clear and direct texts
that tell us Jesus’ earliest followers
either knew him physically after his death
or believed they did.
This story of Jesus the hungry one
isn't disciples remembering Jesus’s teachings
and experiencing that as resurrection.
This is disciples who see something is new and different.
Death doesn’t matter anymore
because Jesus is back from it.
This is the source of Christian hope.
In his book Surpriseds by Hope
NT Wright says,
“Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize
that a different worldview is possible,
a worldview in which the rich, the powerful,
and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word.
The same worldview shift that is demanded
by the resurrection of Jesus
is the shift that will enable us to transform the world.”
“Why are you frightened,
and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
“Look at my hands and my feet;
see that it is I myself.”
Doubts and fears arise in my heart
because I don’t know what’s going to happen in Syria.
I don’t know what alliances
will exacerbate more violence.
I don’t know how else governments of the world
will try to punish killing
with more killing.
For over half my life
these United States have consistently been at war.
Lily, Adrian, Dakota, Cheyenne, Roman, Shay, Ema, Anil, and Emersyn
have never known our country
not actively engaged in warfare.
I know, however, as Wright says,
“Death is the last weapon of the tyrant,
and the point of the resurrection,
despite much misunderstanding,
is that death has been defeated.
Resurrection is not the redescription of death;
it is its overthrow and, with that,
the overthrow of those whose power depends on it.”
In the resurrection of Jesus
all of creation has been changed
and what is
is not what has to be.
“Touch me and see;
for a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you see that I have.”
When we gather together as Christians
we have the opportunity to touch and see
not flesh and bones
but flesh in Bread.
Again, NT Wright,
“To make any headway in understanding the Eucharist,
we must see it as the arrival of God’s future in the present,
not just the extension of God’s past
(or of Jesus’s past) into our present.
We do not simply remember a long-since dead Jesus;
we celebrate the presence of the living Lord.
And he lives, through the resurrection,
precisely as the one who has gone on ahead into the new creation,
the transformed new world,
as the one who is himself its prototype.
The Jesus who gives himself to us as food and drink
is himself the beginning of God’s new world.”
When the disciples know fear at his resurrection
Jesus blesses them with the greeting,
“Peace be with you.”
Then he asks for food.
As Christians, we pray for peace,
and work for peace as we pray.
When we see the arrival of God’s future in our present
we're motivated to contribute
to God’s future,
and we’re strengthened for it
with the Bread of Heaven
and the Cup of Salvation.
In Jesus’ resurrection, what is
is not what must be.
Our hope, and our work,
springs from knowing that the last tool of the tyrant
has been defeated.
Let us pray, hope, and work for peace
as we know the new reality
shown to us by the resurrected Christ.