35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched.
44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things. 49 And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
Jesus has risen from the dead. We hear that a lot and can get really used to it. But the truth and the power of the resurrection needs to pierce our hearts with the same mixture of incredulity, astonishment, and joy as it did for these folks (v. 41). That won’t happen by talking about it, not by writing or reading about it, not even by singing about it. The only way to have our hearts pierced with the incredible, astonishing, joy-filling power of the resurrection is to experience it first hand. How do we experience it first hand? By making use of the authority we have been given to proclaim the Gospel: there is forgiveness of sins for all who repent. If you are reading this, you have access to this authority to carry out this mission of proclaiming this message. (Note this is specific, not generic authority, not any random mission, not any other message.) You have the authority to pray for the sick in Jesus name and watch them be healed (resurrection power), delivered from addictions and bondages (resurrection power), have their entire lives transformed (resurrection power), and watch them take up the same authority you have (resurrection power).
Jesus is still not a ghost. Some of us alive today are still witnesses of his resurrection power. You can be a witness of his resurrection power too. But to be a witness to his resurrection power, you have to actually witness his resurrection power actively at work in the world today. Fortunately, the resurrection power of Jesus is still actively at work in the world today. You already have permission to call on, make use of, and witness the resurrection power of Jesus at work in the lives of people all around you. Luke gave us a whole other book (Acts) on what it looks like when people operate in the resurrection power of Jesus. I think it is the coolest thing in the world to see a person’s life transformed by the resurrection power of Jesus. There really is nothing like it. I highly recommend trying it. What are you waiting for? You already have all the permission you will ever need.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.