Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was imprisoned for fighting against the Nazi regime, wrote in a letter from prison:
It is “through the resurrection of Christ that a new and purifying wind can blow through our present world ...
If a few people really believed that and acted on it in their daily lives, a great deal would be changed. To live in the light of the resurrection — that is what Easter means.”
That wind of resurrection is blowing through our world — can you feel it?
Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
He said to them, “Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
In an essay called “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” author H.P. Lovecraft opens with these words: “The oldest and strongest emotion of [humankind] is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” In hindsight, we can see that many of our life choices are driven by fear — fear of what we do not understand, fear of people who are different, fear of losing what we have, fear of not getting what we want… fear after fear after fear.
This passage shows the disciples in the grip of Lovecraft’s oldest and strongest kind of fear. When they see the risen Christ, they do not know or understand who he is; they leap to the frightful assumption that he must be a ghost. But Christ reassures them that there is nothing to fear. After witnessing the resurrection, the disciples learned that fear has, in large part, been rendered powerless. We need not be driven by our fears, because we know that our greatest fears have been overcome by the resurrection of Christ.
God, after witnessing Christ’s resurrection the disciples went on to live with boldness. Give me that same peace that passes understanding, so that I may not act from fear today. Amen.
As one who has been raised with Christ, go today to witness the resurrection of your own life.