Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

(Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24:35-48)

When special prosecutor Kenneth Starr produced DNA evidence that President Bill Clinton was involved sexually with a White House intern, no one could deny it. Of course, such proof was not even dreamed about in biblical times. But Luke offers his own kind of circumstantial evidence that Jesus really rose from the dead.

Different people have seen the risen Jesus. The disciples on the way to Emmaus come back to Jerusalem saying that they identified him in the breaking of the bread. When they arrive, they are told that Simon Peter has also seen him. Then Luke writes of Jesus making an appearance to the eleven remaining apostles along with the disciples from Emmaus. On this occasion Jesus offers his hands and his feet where presumably witnesses could make positive identification from the nail marks. As if this were not enough, Jesus also eats with his disciples showing that they are not viewing a phantom.

Cynics may dismiss the gospel testimony and physical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. However, St. Paul’s report puts the burden of proof on the doubter. By all indication Paul is a practical man with little patience for foolishness. He lists various witnesses and then mentions his own experience of the risen Lord (I Corinthians 15:5-8). In another letter he writes of that encounter (Galatians 1:16) which seems spiritual but so intensely real that it turns his life on end. We have not seen Jesus, but still we accept the Scriptural testimony because our own experience of goodness and truth corroborates everything else that is said about Jesus.