Weekly Scripture Focus

Focus Reading: Luke 24: 36-48

Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Focus Reflection:  The hands and feet of Jesus

Barbara Brown Taylor’s sermon on this text beautifully describes the embodied experience of Jesus, the way he drew their attention to his hands and his feet. She poetically recalls the ways the hands and feet of Jesus had been important in his ministry, healing people, breaking bread, traveling around with the good news. Now, wounded and bruised, those same hands and feet were proof to the disciples that “he had gone through the danger and not around it.”

Through the danger, and not around it. Much of our time and energy is spent on finding a way around things, rather than living through them. We don’t want to experience pain or danger, or even to come face to face with the suffering of other people, or the suffering of the earth. What can we do about all of that?

And yet, Taylor says, we bear hope for the world because of the commission Jesus gave the disciples and the whole church long ago, for we are the Body, and the Image, of the Risen Christ in the world today: “Not our pretty faces and not our sincere eyes but our hands and feet–what we have done with them and where we have gone with them.”

This reflection is from the Rev. Kathryn M. Matthews, retired after serving as dean of Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio.

Focus Questions:

  1. Where are you, in your spiritual life, two weeks after Easter?
  2. Do you feel more like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, or like the disciples locked in a room, hiding and fearful?
  3. What have you witnessed that strengthens your belief, your understanding, your trust in the Resurrection?
  4. In turn, what are the ways you respond to Jesus’ commission to “witness” to what you have experienced of the Resurrection?
  5. How do the death and Resurrection of Jesus help you to make sense of scripture?