Monday, May 9, 2011

Everything New?

It must have been frustrating for Jesus, having raised from the dead, to come back to the same old disciples. After all they had seen and heard, the glimpses we get of them in the days following the resurrection are none to encouraging. Just before Jesus authorized them to extend His kingdom throughout all the world, Matthew lets us know that some of them were doubtful. Doubtful! Here they were, looking fully at Jesus whom only days before they had watched die and who now appeared more alive than they did - and some were doubtful!

John tells us that the first instinct for at least a few of them in the days following the resurrection was to go back to home and start fishing again. He makes it clear that it was not recreational fishing - not hobby fishing - not drop a line in the lake and wait fishing. This was deliberate, commercial, drag the nets the way we used to, fishing. Of course, it was not too successful until Jesus appeared on the lake shore and advised them to try the other side of the boat - as if twenty feet more or less would make any difference.

Luke gives us the most baffling portrait. In the opening moments of the book of Acts he records the disciples’ concerns as being exactly the same as they were in the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection. It is as if they are thinking to themselves, “Well, I don’t know what that foolishness in Jerusalem was all about, but I’m glad he got it out of his system so that we can get back to the real business at hand.” Jesus might have been excused had he allowed himself at least one exasperated sigh - before moving to ascension. Do you get the feeling that he was glad to be heading home?

It is easy to pick on the disciples until we see them peering back at us from the mirror - for here we are, a couple of weeks out from the wonder of Easter, and discover that our concerns, our attitudes, our behaviors, are pretty much what they were before Life triumphed over Death! Apparently we need help getting our heads, hearts, and lives around the new reality to the extent that it effects the way we actually live in the world. Learning to live new is very hard work. I suppose that is why Jesus promised us help. And so . . . on to Pentecost!

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