joy 30 day devotional through the gospel of luke

Luke 24:35–42 (NLT) Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! 38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 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.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched. 

Even after Jesus showed them His hands and feet, they “stood there in unbelief.”  They were filled with disbelief, joy, and wonder.  That is a very interesting combination of emotions.  They were struggling to believe their eyes.  The appearance of Jesus after they knew He had died a brutal death, was more than they could fathom.  And yet there He was standing in their midst, talking with them, and eating with them.  It was not an apparition or a ghost.  He is alive!

Seven weeks later to the day, Peter would speak to the crowd on Pentecost (Shavuot) and declare, “But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip” (Acts 2:24).  What was difficult to believe on that Resurrection Sunday had been confirmed to the disciples without a lingering doubt.

When John wrote his letter of 1 John, he made it very clear that they (the Apostles) were eyewitnesses of His resurrection,

1 John 1:1–2 (NLT) We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us.

The Apostle Paul made it clear that he too was an eyewitness of Jesus raised from the dead.  He lists those who saw the resurrected Jesus and could corroborate the stories of the Apostles,

1 Corinthians 15:3–8 (NLT) I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 

And yet, Jesus said to Thomas for us who have not seen with our own eyes, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29b).

When my granddaughter, Audrey, was about 8 years old I walked into their house one day and my daughter, Sarah, said, “Audrey, ask Papaw that question you asked me?”  She said, “Papaw, parents in other families tell their children that their religion is true.  How do I know that what mom and dad are telling me is true?”

I responded, “Audrey, that is an awesome question!  In fact, that is the right question.  How we know what we believe is true is because Jesus is alive!  He died, and He rose from the dead!  No other religion can make a claim like ours!”

So What?  How do you know for sure that Jesus is alive?

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