We have many different ways of using words. There are times when words are so familiar that they pass us by. Amongst those are words used in many Church of England prayers addressed to God the Father which end with the words, “…through your Son Jesus Christ who is alive …”.
Notice the words, “…who is alive…”. Those words may have a bigger influence on people who are not regular church-goers than those who are. What do they mean? How can a man who died about 2,000 years ago, executed by the Romans, who were very efficient at execution, be alive today? Yet that is the message the Gospel writers wanted to tell us. There is a physicality about the Resurrection appearances. The disciples were not seeing a spirit, a ghost or an apparition but the man they had followed from Galilee. “See my hands and my feet, it is myself; handle me and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have…[Jesus] said to [the disciples] ‘Have you anything to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it before them.”. [Lk 24: 39, 41b & 42] “Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, ‘Put your figure here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’”. [John 20: 27] . “…to us…who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” [Acts 10: 41b]. “While eating with [his followers Jesus] told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father.” [Acts 1: 4a].
Jesus body had been changed by the Resurrection. He could materialize behind locked doors but notice the word materialize which the shorter Oxford English Dictionary says “…cause to appear in bodily form…express in material form.” Jesus had greater powers than his pre-resurrection body had but it could still be material, able to enjoy food, drink and the company of friends.
That is the promise which Easter holds out to us. Jesus offers to us resurrection bodies like his. We don’t know how that will happen but we know that it will. The God of hope gives us hope of our resurrection so that we can live with courage in the present.
(Image from Free Bible Images)