Questions for Reflection and Discussion
Read Luke 24:36-49: While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (NIV)
- Why do you think it’s so common in our culture for people who grew up with the Christian faith to begin to deconstruct it as adults? (What do we mean by “deconstruction”?)
- How might this process of deconstruction actually be a good thing?
- Jesus understood that in order to believe something as difficult to believe as his resurrection from the dead, the disciples would need some evidence. What did Jesus do to help them believe that he had actually been raised bodily from the dead?
- What are some things that have helped you personally to believe in Jesus’s resurrection from the dead?
- Read the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 14: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Why would the Christian faith be useless if Christ had not been raised?
- Jürgen Moltmann wrote that the miracles of Jesus are “…not supernatural miracles in a natural world. They are the only truly ‘natural’ thing in a world that is unnatural, demonized, and wounded.” What did he mean by that?
- Read 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”What will we be like when we are resurrected? What does it mean that we will be like Jesus?
- What did you sense God saying to you in this message? What was helpful for you personally?
- Read John Updike’s poem “Seven Stanzas at Easter” and discuss what he’s trying to get across.
Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.
And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.