Is It Jesus, or a Ghost?
Jesus appears to the Disciples.
None is needed.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. Luke 24:36-37 (NIV)
I remember times when I was a youngster when I went on camping trips. One of the favorite activities on those trips was sitting around a campfire at night and telling ghost stories. Even though I kept telling myself, "There is no such thing as a ghost," that didn't keep some of those stories from scaring the daylights out of me, and they often made it difficult for me to go to sleep that night.
Now, that might seem like a strange way to begin a Bible lesson, but even in Bible times, some people believed in ghosts and were afraid of them. Today's Bible lesson is one example of that.
The story begins after two men had walked along a road to a place called Emmaus. They were discussing the crucifixion of Jesus and all of the events that had taken place in the past few days. They wondered what it all meant. As they walked, they were joined by a man on their walk. They did not recognize that the man was Jesus. There is much more to that part of the story, but it is enough for now that we know that Jesus revealed himself to them. Finally, they recognized that the man was Jesus. They were so excited to see that Jesus was alive that they jumped up and walked all the way back to Jerusalem.
The two men found Jesus' disciples and began telling them what they had seen. The Bible tells us that as they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be to you." Do you think the disciples felt peace? No! The Bible says that they were terrified and filled with fear, thinking that they had seen a ghost!
Once again Jesus spoke to his disciples. "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do."
Still the disciples stood in disbelief, so Jesus asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of fish, and he ate it as they watched. That was even further proof that they were not seeing a ghost. A ghost doesn't need food.
The disciples had seen Jesus die. They had seen him placed in a tomb. But now they saw Jesus alive. Not just this day, but for more than 40 days, they saw him and talked with him. They even watched him eat food. They were not seeing a ghost! Those same disciples went all over the world, telling the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, and his resurrection. They never stopped telling the story during their whole lives.
You and I have been called to tell the story just like those disciples. We must be a witness for Jesus, too. We must tell the world that Jesus is alive.
Our Father, we serve a risen Savior. He is alive! Help us to be witnesses of what he has done in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.