Luke 24:36-39 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look 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."
Sometimes its hard to imagine what the first Easter was like, and sometimes its easy, looking back to say, I could have done better. Its Easter Evening, earlier in the day, the women had gone to the tomb, and met the angels who told them that Jesus was risen, and the women told the disciples, who did not believe, although some did go to the tomb, and found it empty. In the afternoon, Jesus had walked with 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize him until he blessed the bread and broke it. They have just returned to Jerusalem to tell the rest that they had seen the Lord – and that’s were our text begins, while they are still talking about it.
So what is the response? They were terrified and trembling – in severe emotional distress, and their minds were overloaded with questions such that they doubted what they were seeing. Its hardly a ho-hum experience, and the response – its quite like that when God called Moses out of the burning bush. Why, since this was Jesus, whom they had followed for quite some time, are they in such a state?
Well, while they had talked boldly earlier about how they would remain faithful to Jesus, and follow him even unto death – when it came time, even Peter, not once, but 3 times, denied that he knew Jesus. Some friends, some followers – when the going gets tough, … abandonment. Now when Jesus stands before you, its hard to come up with excuses, why you didn’t follow, why you weren’t faithful – you know that Jesus knows you sin, and seeing your own sin – you know what you deserve.
1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." It is not very hard to deceive ourselves, in fact the person its easiest to lie to is to yourself. But come judgement day, it doesn’t matter how good the cover-up, or what the excuse, everything will be made clear, because the bright shining light, which is Christ, will make all things visible, and nothing will be hid from his light. That’s what happened on the first Easter, first the disciples saw their sins, then they saw their Savior.
So how do we deceive ourselves? Well, we always begin with the 10 commandments, but one tool to help us see ourselves better – is to consider what it is that bothers us most when we see it in others – for often, the sin we see in others, is a sin which affects us deeply, so much so, that while we may condemn it in others, we might not even see it in ourselves- that’s how deeply we deceive ourselves.
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
It is the forgiveness of sins that makes Easter, Easter.