Luke 24:36b-48 (NRSV)
Verse 36While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." Verse 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Verse 38He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Verse 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." Verse 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. Verse 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" Verse 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, Verse 43and he took it and ate in their presence. Verse 44Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with youthat everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Verse 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, Verse 46and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, Verse 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Verse 48You are witnesses of these things.
The Risen Jesus wants to reassure his disciple companions (com-panions literally means those with whom one shares bread!) that he is really alive. He asks for something to eat and they share a piece of broiled fish. Eating with friends assured them he was back in the flesh—everyone knows ghosts don’t eat, right? Eating with them reminded them of his ability to provide, as in his miraculous feedings of the crowds. Eating fish and bread reminds us of communion, and the breakfast on the beach in John 21, and Jesus teaching his followers to trust and pray for daily bread. Jesus promises that he is our bread of life.
Even in the upper room Jesus’ followers still were frightened and had doubts. We, too, sometimes get frightened and sometimes have doubts. Here Jesus reminds them and us to touch and taste and know that he is present and real as our Risen Lord.
Help us to feed with and on you dear Jesus. Calm our fears and cast out our doubts. Amen.