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April 2024

Updated: Apr 10

One of the comments I hear from people soon after they have lost a loved one is thinking they see them everywhere: in a car driving past; walking down the street; out of the corner of their eye as they walk along. The brain is eager to deny the reality of death and so it tries to find ways to deny it. Of course, a second look confirms it isn’t their loved one, which they already knew. We don’t see dead people walking around after death, no matter how much we want it. It looks like it could be them, but a second look and we know it’s not.


We might think this same thing happened with the disciples. Maybe their brains wanted to see Jesus so badly that they saw him everywhere and just imagined a resurrection. But the weird thing about the resurrection appearances is that they are the opposite of the experience of thinking we saw a loved one. At first the disciples don’t recognize Jesus, but a second look and they realize it is Jesus after all.


Remember? Mary Magdalene is found weeping in the garden beside the empty tomb on the morning of the resurrection. Initially mistaking Jesus for the gardener, it's only when he speaks her name that she recognizes him. Similarly, the disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus later that day engage in conversation with Jesus without recognizing him until he breaks bread with them, evoking memories of the Last Supper. In the upper room that evening, Jesus appears among the disciples behind locked doors, and it's only after revealing his wounds that they realize it's him. Another encounter occurs with the disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee weeks later, where they only recognize Jesus after he orchestrates a miraculous catch of fish, reminiscent of an earlier event.


Far from the disciples finding a stranger and thinking it’s Jesus, they find Jesus and at first think he’s a stranger! It’s only after Jesus re-establishes a personal connection that they realize who he is, and their eyes are opened. It’s all pretty mysterious, but it rules out the idea that the disciples were just imagining they saw Jesus when it was really someone else. Jesus’ resurrection body was somehow transformed but still he makes himself recognizable through his deep personal connections to each disciple. Is Jesus risen? He is risen indeed.

 Happy Easter!!




With the Greatest of Hope

Pastor Erika

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