Read: Luke 24:36-53
Suddenly, we’re at the end of Luke’s gospel where he gives us a slight peek into Jesus’ appearance before leaving earth. The walk to Emmaus is followed up by an even more extraordinary event.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36
Holy ____! Seriously!
Luke tells us they were startled, frightened like they’d seen a ghost. I think that puts it mildly, to say the least. I’m sure they looked back and laughed at their first reaction, but during the event, I’m sure this was not the least bit funny.
Jesus kept the pressure on:
He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? It is I myself Luke 24:38,39
The disciples were unprepared to see Jesus in the flesh. Cleopas and his companion were trying to explain their encounter, the things Jesus said as He broke bread with them, but this was just too much to process for them. I can imagine they were doubting themselves as they retold the story.
Told You So
Jesus showed them His hands and feet, then asks them for some food. He’s hungry. They probably needed to eat as well. The conversation quickly turned to remind them of the times when Jesus had explained how and why this would happen.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44
Once again, we are exhorted to look at the Old Testament to understand the New. These writings are compiled for us to easily browse and read, but the disciples knew them well. I have no doubt Jesus invested time during the previous three years talking about these very scriptures.
Opened Their Minds
Then something miraculous happened:
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45
I think this was miraculous because their heads were spinning out of control, they really didn’t know how to process all this information. Further, these rather simple men, chosen by the Lord, are changed from this point forward as they await Pentecost and the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Blessing of Jesus
Luke doesn’t waste much time in jumping to the end, but I like to think that Jesus carefully unpacked the scriptures after opening their minds. They discussed the details before Jesus led them out and blessed them.
I’m not able to appreciate fully what this means, but to receive the blessing in Jewish culture was a very big deal. This is not a quick pat on the back and move on, this is a moment when I envision Jesus looking at each of them, hands on their shoulders, or perhaps grabbing their neck and looking them straight in the eye. From this posture, each received their personal blessing from Jesus Christ. Wow!
The Ascension of Jesus
Luke’s concluding words are far better than any I can write. Joy has returned. You are indeed blessed by the Father, touched by the Son, and filled with the Spirit. I pray this will touch you the way I am this morning:
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:51-53