35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
Aren't we like the apostles? We wont believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The gospels attest to the reality of the resurrection. Jesus goes to great lengths to assure his disciples that he is no mere ghost or illusion.
He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and he explains how the scriptures foretold his death and rising.
Jerome, an early church bible scholar, comments: "As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them...Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs." (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34, 5th century)
The centrality of the gospel is the cross; but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies – death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise.
The way to glory is through the cross. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory?
Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth.
Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, so, we, too, are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all who live on the face of the earth.
Do you witness the joy of the gospel to those around you?