Encountering the living Lord Jesus Christ hauls us out of self absorption and transforms us into people who love God and love one another. Meeting the risen also helps us overcome doubts that plague us. Jesus had promised His followers that He will rise from the dead on the third day, and yet the disciples were doubtful. Despite Jesus’ assurance, Mary Magdalene was weeping after Jesus’ death. The women were afraid and astonished to find an empty grave. Peter was stricken by Jesus’ death even when he saw the empty grave. Thomas doubted the other’s testimony and wanted to see, touch and feel the body of the resurrected Christ for himself.
The disciples were traveling to Emmaus, a seven mile journey by foot, distracted by the events of the week. Even when the resurrected Christ joined them, they failed to recognize Him! What kept the disciples from believing that Jesus would keep His word and come back to life? It was their assumption that the dead do not come back to life. Therefore, they even ignored external evidence. But when the light of truth dawned upon them, their eyes were opened, and they encountered the resurrected Christ. Their joy knew limits as they run back to the gathering of disciples to share their encounter and new found truth; Jesus is alive!
Jesus, as the experienced presence, represents the ethical demands of the kingdom of God. As Paul states, “The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Only intellectual belief in resurrection is not the soul of the follower of Christ. Rather, a disciple of Christ is transformed by an encounter with Christ, by the grace of God. This transformation is visible in their life style of peace, joy, love and service for all.