You really cannot miss the humanity of the disciples described in the various Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. The disciples were travelling a roller-coaster of emotions. Sometimes frightened. Sometimes doubting. Sometimes wondering. Sometimes inspired. Sometimes overjoyed.
This “roller-coaster” is described most clearly in the story in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 24, where the Risen Lord appears to his disciples and then eats some fish with them. We are told ” while in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering.”
Joy. Disbelief. Wonder. And all the time they are focused on what the Lord has done. He has risen from the dead.
We can barely imagine what it was like for those women and men who first met the Risen Lord. He was meant to be dead but was now very much alive. He had not left them to ride this roller-coaster of emotion alone, but he drew near to them and embraced them and blessed them.
In the story of the “humanity” of the disciples in the resurrection accounts, I see the risen Lord inviting us to lay our emotions into his gentle hands. He invites us to call out to him in all trouble. He invites us to turn a deaf ear to those who put false expectations and demands on simple faith when we are struggling. He shows us that God does not flee from people with feelings … including those feelings of human experience when we suppose that God would not want to be with us during certain times.
The resurrection accounts reveal the intent of God to be with us in times of cloud and sunshine.
In these stories of the human heart of the disciples, the Risen Lord tells us to centre our lives on God’s great plan of salvation: to repent and discover the forgiveness of sin in the love of God in Christ. To walk by faith in all that God has done for us.
We are witnesses of “these things”: that the love of God is for the likes of us – with our troubles – whatever emotions we may be experiencing. We are witnesses to the open hands of God for us, cradling our hearts, like a child safe in her or his mother’s arms.
In this Easter Season, in these extraordinary times, please pray for those around you, especially those you know who are struggling, that they might know the heart of God for them.
“While they were talking about this, 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.’ (Luke 24)