Forty Days After Easter

Jesus wanted to make sure that his followers truly believed that he was resurrected from the dead. He also wanted to teach them one more time before he ascended to the Heavenly Father. Just like during his ministry before the crucifixion, he never took time off for himself other than to seclude himself in prayer. This was a time in which Jesus had one last chance to teach and encourage.

Two disciples (one was Cleopas) decided to visit a small city called Emmaus. Jesus began walking with them. They discussed the events over the weekend. They persuaded Jesus to go further with them. Jesus observed the Supper of the new Covenant that he instituted the previous Thursday. Then the disciples realized that it was Jesus, the resurrected Jesus, who was with them. At that point he vanished.

Peter decided to go fishing but caught nothing. Jesus appeared on the shore and told him to throw his nets on the other side where he caught an abundance of fish. Then in fellowship they ate their catch. And what seemed to be a casual get-together, Jesus suddenly turned to Peter and asked him if he loved him. This conversation was repeated three times probably in contrast to the time Peter denied Christ. The first two Jesus used the Greek word agape for divine love. Peter replied that he had brotherly love. The third time Jesus asked the question he de-escalated his question to verify if he even had brotherly love.

On another occasion, Jesus expanded his own witness before five hundred people assuring them that he truly was resurrected. Paul referred back to this event later in his letter to a church. Just think how the church had grown even before Christ was ascended. Not counting women and teenagers, and not counting the supposition that some people became a true follower of Christ when he fed the multitude of five thousand and also four thousand people. In another conversation with Peter Jesus said he would build his church. He certainly did! Those that were in the upper room and those he appeared in mass at least total to be six hundred and twenty people. Again, this does not take into consideration those priests and believers from other sources who decided to follow him as believers.

Jesus told the eleven disciples to meet him on the mountain in Galilee. How sad it is that Matthew reported that some doubted, even at that point. There on the mountain, Jesus issued what is called his great commission. In Matthew 28: 18-20 Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”

The great commission applies to us today. Jesus expects us to retain the thrill and excitement of his resurrection as a motivation to share the gospel with whomever we can. Let us rejoice that we serve a living Lord! Part of our service is to be obedient in sharing the good news of his resurrection.

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