Sunday’s Reflection: This is Jesus’ third resurrection appearance in Luke’s Gospel. The women find the empty tomb, but do not see Jesus (vv. 1-12). Jesus’ second resurrection appearance is to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, an incident that Luke records in considerable detail (vv. 13-35). This resurrection story takes place in Jerusalem where the two men who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus find “the eleven gathered together” (v. 33). This encounter, then, almost certainly takes place on Easter evening. The place is almost certainly the room where the disciples gathered behind locked doors as related in the Gospel of John (John 20:19-23)—although Luke does not specify the place.
Jesus opens the minds of his disciples not only so that they can understand the scriptures and grasp who Jesus really is, but also so that they may continue to follow in his way of love once he departs this earth. If we want to fulfill our end of Jesus’ eternal covenant, we need to partake in that which the risen Jesus did himself: offer his peace, make his body known, and share in the sacred meal.
This morning’s passage ends with a charge: “You are witnesses of these things.” To be a witness means to share with others your experience – and that is exactly the charge with which we leave the Eucharist: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” When we participate in the Eucharist, we are encountering the risen Christ. When we pass and receive the peace, it is the same peace that Jesus gave to his disciples in his appearance. Like the disciples, then, we too are witnesses of these things, and it is as witnesses that we go forth into the world, proclaiming the resurrected Christ.
“You are witnesses of these things” We have not seen the risen Christ with our own eyes, but we have experienced him in our lives. Our responsibility is to tell the story as we have experienced it, and to do so at cost if need be. Over time, as a result, this word martyrs would come to our church history —those who were killed because of their Christian witness.
Prayer: O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. Resources are from the Anglican Church of Canada and Sermons that Work.