April 20, 2009

While in their joy they were disbelieving...

Hebrews 11.1 tells us that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the certianty of things unseen."  And yet even in seeing and touching, the disciples can't quite grasp that "assurance of things hoped for" piece.  Or maybe they just aren't sure what to hope for.  Jesus' death was, to say the least, tragic.  The carpet had been ripped from beneath them, life was spinning rapidly and it no doubt felt out of control.  Last weeks lesson tells us why they gathered in a locked room, "for fear of the Jews."

But to have Jesus alive, again.  To proclaim that their rabbi, the one who was so despised that conspiracy brought him to death on a cross, was alive, well that was most certainly a stickier situation.  To leave that room and proclaim his resurrection would, most certainly, assure them of a similiar fate.

So then, perhaps their faith was weak because they hadn't a clue what to hope for.  Or maybe it was because even in seeing and touching, there wasn't much certainty.  Was he a ghost?  An imposter?  An apparation of grief and exhaustion?

Faith is tough to muster.  Jesus helps it along by reminding them of their shared experience.  This is what you've heard me say.  This is how it has to be.  This is what we hope for.

Without their past experience of Jesus, I'm convinced they sit in their disbelieving.  Instead, they have their hearts and minds opened by him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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