A Pink Elephant
36 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.”
The first time since His death, the resurrected Jesus appeared (seemingly out of nowhere) among the disciples and declared peace over them and questioned why they were so troubled and full of doubt. He basically demanded they have peace and quit their worrying. In a sense, He ordered them to chill out. Easier said than done. Has anyone ever told you to relax? Has anyone ever told you to calm down? Has anyone ever challenged you to quit worrying? Of course they have. And, if you are like me, it never works.
Jesus “orders” His disciples – who are staring at a man fresh out of a tomb and appeared among them out of nowhere – to calm down, relax, and be at peace. Thanks Jesus, but that is like telling me to stop thinking about a pink elephant. No, really. Stop it. Do not think about a pink elephant right now!
See what I mean? Easier said than done. (I am STILL thinking about a cotton pickin’ pink elephant!)
What Jesus does next, however, is breathtaking. He actually supplies what they need to stop worrying. He more or less trips over His resurrected body to provide what they need for confidence. In commanding their peace, He gives them what is needed for their obedience.
Think about it. He supplies evidence through all 5 SENSES:
Sight – “Look at my hands and my feet…” “He showed them His hands and feet.”
Touch – “Touch me and see.”
Hearing – He spoke so they could hear what He was saying.
Smell – “broiled fish” (that’s a smell that sticks with you).
Taste – “and He took it and ate it in their presence” (He was eating what was still fresh on their taste buds).
But wait. . . there’s more. . .
He REMINDS them of what they have heard from Him (44, 46-47).
He gives them UNDERSTANDING (45).
He PROMISES the Holy Spirit (49).
When you combine all of that together and jumble it all up, Jesus provides 8 assurances – some natural, some supernatural – to allow them to be at peace, stop being troubled, and remove all doubt.
Jesus doesn’t just tell them to “get over it and chill out.” He shows them how they can really be at peace and live confidently doing what He has called them to do.
What’s the take-away for us? There are many to be sure. But let me give you this one to chew on: Jesus always gives you what you need to do what He commands you to do.
Need peace? Need to stop being troubled? Need your doubts erased? Need help on telling others what He’s done for them? Stop. Take a moment to look around. Smell. Hear. Touch. Taste. Listen for Him to give you understanding. Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider again the massive implications of the Gospel – for you and others.
I can’t help you stop thinking about a pink elephant. But Jesus sure can make sure you have what you need for what really matters. If this passage is any indication, He moves heaven and earth to help you have everything you need.