top of page

3 Easter - 18 Luke 24:36b-48

The disciples never answered the question.

Now it comes to us.

Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Maybe fear has become so familiar that the answer feels too obvious to bother saying, but I hear different answers.

Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Church attendance is shrinking and getting older, and so am I.

The other political party, whichever one I disagree with, is destroying our country...and dividing my family.

Life is complicated and overwhelming.

Too many people are not getting vaccinated, or too many people are.

My kids are black.

My parents are undocumented.

My spouse, my grandma, my reliable rock has died and now I am lost.

The business didn't make it; the money is almost gone.

The doctor didn't want to say it.

Fill in your own answers: Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

This week, kind, compassionate, caring, good shepherd Jesus doesn't bother to stop and listen to his disciples' answers.

He keeps talking, apparently even with his mouth full.

Touch me, feed me, listen up.

Scripture says this and this and this.

You are witnesses of these things.

Wait, what?

What things?

Jesus has raced ahead to verse 49 while most of us are still stuck on verse 38.

That's the life of faith, and church history, in a nutshell.

For some reason, fear feels more real and reliable than joy.

Grief is more tangible and trustable than hope.

Trusting good news takes time; trusting bad news is immediate.

It takes years to build a temple or a business or a friendship or a marriage and only seconds to blow one up.

Joy comes with disbelief; there is no Easter without doubts.

What Jesus embodies, and then shares with us, is what we have learned to call "too good to be true."

Eternal life...peace...a place at the creator's family table...forgiveness...true freedom...the completely new way of seeing reality Jesus calls life for all nations and not just the privileged or the proper – it's all too much to trust when our days are so full of danger and despair, so many concrete reasons to fear and doubt.

So Jesus the talking corpse makes it tangible, touchable, visible for us.

He invites the disciples to touch his skin and watch him eat.

He gives us Holy Communion, bread and wine we can see and feel and taste and swallow into our bloodstreams, for those of us who prefer drugs to words.

And he also asks us to feed him, which is what our friends at Central Lutheran in Van Nuys do

every week, providing groceries for hungry neighbors even if there are fears and doubt involved.

Hunger doesn't wait for explanations.

Jesus can do all the Bible study he wants, but he's not doing a training seminar so that the disciples have all the right answers to all the nations' potential questions.

He is feeding them Scripture; he is not just filling their brains, he's nourishing their souls.

He's moving their hearts.

He is leading the witnesses: he is meeting them in doubt and disbelief and walking them toward a joy so infectious they can't not share it.