The same day as Jesus’ resurrection, two men are walking to a village called Emmaus when Jesus appears to them and asks them why they are sad. The men’s eyes are restrained, so they don’t recognize Jesus. Therefore, they tell Jesus all that has happened the last couple of days regarding His crucifixion and the report of His resurrection by the women.
“Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” So we see how Jesus gives hope to the hopeless! He reveals who He is and what he came to do by sharing His story, the story of the Bible!
Later the men say, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” This is what happens when people hear the story of Jesus, who came on a rescue mission to save the hopeless — hearts are set on fire. So the men, with burning hearts, go and tell the other disciples, who were hiding in fear of the Jews, that Jesus is alive. While they are sharing the Good News, Jesus appears and says, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
Since doubting Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared, he says he will not believe unless he sees and touches Jesus’ wounds for himself. Eight days later, Jesus gives Thomas what he thinks he needs in order to believe. Then Jesus says, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus is saying, blessed are the ones who hear an eye witness of the risen Christ and believe. That is why John writes, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Jesus appears again to a few disciples that have been unsuccessfully fishing all night. Jesus tells them to cast the net again, and when they do the net becomes so full of fish that they can’t even drag it into their boat. Then John recognizes it is Jesus and says, “It is the Lord!” When Peter realizes it is Jesus, he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore to be reunited with his friend and his Savior whom he previously denied three times. However, Jesus still loves Peter despite any past or future failures. So Jesus restores Peter and commissions him to care for His people. Then Jesus tells Peter what it is going to cost to love Him and care for His people – “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”
Peter will never again deny Jesus as Lord and Savior. He will spend the rest of His life sharing the story of Jesus with the world, even until they crucify him upside down since Peter will deem himself unworthy of dying the same death as Jesus Christ.
But you have to love Peter. Because after the news of his certain persecution, Peter responds regarding John, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus tells Peter not to worry about John and the plans He has for him. He says to Peter, “As for you, follow me.” Jesus has specific plans for John, like He has specific plans for Peter, and like He has specific plans for all those who follow Him. Paul will later explain this in a letter the Ephesians – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
However, there is one thing all Christ followers are called to do, and that is to make disciples. Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Then He instructs His disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the “Promise of My Father upon you”, which is the Holy Spirit. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the disciples will be emboldened to go and make disciples of all the nations, fulfilling the commandment given by Jesus.
Tomorrow, the Gospel Era ends, leading us into the Church and Missions Eras. Keep reading. (Luke 24:13-43, Mark 16:12-13, John 20:19-23, Mark 16:14, John 20:24-21:25, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:44-49)