(36) And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (37) But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. (38) And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (39) Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (40) And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.Luke 24:36-43
(41) And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? (42) And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (43) And he took it, and did eat before them.
(36) And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.The passage seems to indicate that they had just gotten the news from those on the road to Emmaus.
They were sharing that they had seen Jesus, and that He had taught them the Word about Himself. We are not sure how much of that story they got out when, all of a sudden, Jesus appears “in the midst of them”. He says what the angels always seemed to say when they appear to people in the scriptures: “Peace be unto you”. Clearly they were scared. Look at verse 37.
(37) But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.They were terrified AND affrighted.
As you and I would be as well. Their brains had to process what they were seeing. It says that they “supposed that they had seen a spirit.” We forget how incredible the resurrection of Jesus was. We think about it sometimes as even part of our doctrine. Here it was something totally new that they were experiencing. To the point at which, in their minds, in that moment, it was more plausible to be a ghost than Jesus resurrected. So Jesus responds in verse 38 and 39.
(38) And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (39) Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Do not be troubled! Why are you worried? It’s me! He tells them that Spirits do not have bodies- flesh and bones. He tells them to look!
(40) And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
Why His hands and His feet? Well, at least at some level, it would have been because His hands and His feet have the wounds. Remember that Thomas said He wouldn’t believe until He could put his hands in Jesus’ wounds. They were still there.
Look at their reaction:
(41) And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
It says they “yet believed not for joy”. The idea is that they had a hard time believing something they terribly wanted to believe. You’ve heard of news that was too good to be true. It’s as if they are saying, “Is something this incredible even possible?!??!” Every jaw is agape. Every eye is wide. They cannot believe what they are seeing! There is an awe to what they are experiencing. At the end of that verse we see that Jesus asks for food. He wanted them to see His physical nature.
(42) And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. (43) And he took it, and did eat before them.
The disciples experienced seeing the risen Christ in the flesh. Jesus wanted them to know that He had risen. He wanted them to know that He had risen bodily. This wasn’t just a spiritual appearance. It was a physical resurrection. They were incredibly joyful, to the point of it being difficult to believe because it was so good. They were witnesses of Jesus fulfilling a refutable claim. We will continue to see why He was making this appearance to them in the coming verses. He says it clearly in verse 48.
(48) And ye are witnesses of these things.
These disciples were the witnesses of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. He was alive. They saw Him, spoke to Him touched Him, and knew He was alive. To the point that they were even later willing to die. The religious leaders that were used to help crucify Jesus looked at Peter and John and told them to stop preaching in Jesus name. They replied this way in Acts 4:20:
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. (20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.Acts 4:19-20
All of the 11, except for John, died a martyrs death. John died a natural death in the midst of persecution on the Isle of Patmos. The claim wasn’t just that Jesus was a good teacher, moral man, incredible philosopher, or good example. Their claim was that they saw Him die and rise again. Their claim was that He predicted that He would die and rise again. They were a witness to His resurrection. Jesus wanted them to experience that so they could be a witness to it.
Jesus wanted these people to be witnesses to His resurrected body. This would mean that they would have to sacrifice themselves for that truth as they proclaimed that truth to the world. Do we have any less responsibility? If they were to testify to the risen Savior, do we have that same responsibility. The truth of Jesus’ resurrection came to us as it was on its way to someone else. We must pass it on as well.
Jesus is risen indeed!
Who do you need to share the truth of the resurrection of Jesus with today?