Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24: 36-45
This is for those of you who feel that you missed Easter. I’m not talking about those of you that missed “coming to church,” but also those who may feel that Easter came and went and nothing changed, nothing feels any different. If you were able to fully experience the risen Christ on Easter morning, and your Hallelujahs were from the heart—you are blessed.
However, if you feel you missed something of Easter, there is something you should know. Jesus understands. The presence of Jesus among us does not rely on our feelings or our understanding. Jesus appears in the midst of people when they are not even looking for him. Easter morning is not over—it happens every single time we gather together in worship.
The passage just before our reading is the story of the two on the road to Emmaus. It was Easter evening and they were walking back to their home from Jerusalem. They were sad and despondent – how could Jesus have actually died and left them, after all he had taught them, after all the miracles?
Then Jesus appeared on the road with them. They did not recognise him, thinking he was a stranger. Just like Mary in the garden, because she did not think that Jesus was risen she did not expect to see him. But Jesus knew and met them where they were, he met them in their grief, in their lostness, in their not knowing what to do next. Even when he opened the scriptures and explained everything to them still they did not recognise him. I often wonder what we miss because we do not expect. We do not always expect God to answer prayer, we do not expect to see miracles – and yet.
They invited him in to a meal and then He met them in the breaking of bread together at the table, Luke writes; “then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” Jesus departs from them and they run all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples that they had seen the Lord.
Now we come to the reading for today. Once again Jesus met the disciples where they were—huddled behind a closed door, just as Cleopas and the other person were recounting their story, there is Jesus standing in the midst of them. In spite of just being told that he was alive they were terrified, thinking they had seen a ghost.
Jesus meets us where we are, He will show us where we ought to be, and assist us in getting there.
The huddling in fear the disciples did; those closed doors of fear of one thing or another we all hide behind, is what Jesus was addressing when he said, “Peace be with you.” The peace of Christ comes with understanding ourselves, and allowing Jesus Christ to meet us exactly where we are.
Our fears can hold us captive, whether they are fears of illness , unemployment, loneliness, and the underlying fear most of us have at some point in our lives, the fear of death—either for ourselves, or for someone we love.
To understand just a small portion of the power in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the power that is the gift of his Holy Spirit to us, because that is all I believe our human brains will allow, is to understand the power of transformation. I am not just talking about church transformation, but about transforming our own experiences of fear into experiences of peace. Transformation, where closed doors can be opened, and closed minds can be opened as we are given the gift of seeing the world through God’s eyes not our own.
Being transformed requires change and change in and of itself can create anxiety. At every encounter with the disciples after the resurrection Jesus greeted them with "Peace." The peace of Jesus Christ is the answer to the challenge that lies within every one of us. The peace that passes all understanding, the peace of Christ comes with the power of the resurrection. If you missed Easter this year, do not worry, and do not fear. Jesus will still meet you wherever you are and say to you, “Peace be with you.”
That is what Easter means, and that is what it means to be Easter people.