Day 4: When Jesus Shows Up
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
The two disciples that met Jesus on the road to Emmaus had no sooner gone back to
Jerusalem to tell the others that they saw Jesus and Jesus appeared in the room with them all. Talk about confirmation!
John records here that the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Luke expresses some of the other emotions and reactions. (How wonderful that the gospels have these variances to give a bigger picture than just one view!) Luke describes the shock, fear and doubt that were also present…probably preceding the joy.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Through the years of following Jesus, I’ve heard and read many people’s “seeing” of Jesus. It often seems to come in the part of the story that is the breakthrough…you know, when it is all settled. I don’t experience this as often as I experience seeing Jesus in the midst of hard and learn to walk with Him through it yet again. I treasure Amy Carmichael’s story in Rose from Briar. She addresses this very thing, saying that most people write about their suffering after it is over. She chose to write about it while she was in it.
I was reminded in my spiritual direction session (for myself) the other day that when I am in a place of suffering, I often can’t “see” Jesus because I thought I would see Him coming in and fixing it all. I will see Jesus when I bring my suffering to the cross to lay what I wanted down into the ground to die. It’s when I leave the resurrection of that death in Jesus’ hands. The principle of resurrection in the life of a disciple of Jesus is something we can count on. But what that resurrection is and when it comes is not known.
In this story, the disciples suffered a deep loss. Then Jesus came and showed Himself to them. The resurrection! But in all the accounts of seeing Jesus, there was some form of laying down how they wanted to see Him so that they could receive how He wants to show up.
Yesterday, I sat at my dining room table and had communion with Jesus. Bread and Wine. I let how I wanted to see Jesus in my situation die. I buried it with Jesus in His death. I closed with saying to Him, “It is up to You, Jesus, how you want to bring resurrection to this.”
I can still feel the sorrow in my heart. But now I am posturing myself to see Jesus and what He wants to give me. He came to the disciples with a promise of peace while they began the journey of living an incarnational life of resurrection. He proclaimed peace while they couldn’t imagine how this story would all unfold.
I want to see Jesus. I want to be looking for how He resurrects what I lay down. I want to see Him now, with joy, right in the midst of letting go.
Find the smallest seed in your kitchen. You probably don’t have a mustard seed. A chia seed, a sunflower seed…something like that.
Sit in God’s presence with this verse of resurrection truth: 24 Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces [ a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died. (John 12:24)
Allow yourself the sorrow of whatever the seed represents. A place you want Jesus to do something and He isn’t. A place that maybe you have prayed for, longed for.
Listen to Jesus tenderly inviting you to place it in the ground and trust Him with its death. Lay the seed down.
I offer this message on behalf of Jesus:
This is a very precious and sacred place of death and trust in the resurrection. I know it hurts you deeply. Let’s hold the seed together and acknowledge all the longing and struggle around it. Let me bless this seed for us on this journey of faith. Lay this down beside me in the grave. I promise that it is more precious than gold and that it will produce something beautiful. Resurrection will come. I can’t promise you that it will look like you had wanted, but it will be good. Look at me, see me risen from the dead. You are my resurrection child. Open up your heart to the reality of the resurrected life with me. What you have buried will live again in a new and different way, a way that bears fruit in your life. Come now, and let me speak my peace into your soul.
Photo by Paz Orando-Unsplash