THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B 17th / 18th April, 2021

Apart from passing reference to an appearance to Simon Peter (24:34), Luke records only two appearances of the risen Jesus, the first to the disciples at Emmaus, the second to the whole group back in Jerusalem. In a sense they are so closely linked as to form but one appearance that serves to link Jesus’ resurrection with the final episode of the gospel, his ascension. After the opening verse connecting today’s story with that of Emmaus, the gospel falls into two parts. The first establishes the reality of the resurrection by emphasising the physical in terms that are reminiscent of John’s gospel As he does for Thomas (John 20:24-29), Jesus shows the disciples his hands and feet; and as he cooks fish for the disciples by the sea of Galilee (John 21:9-14), so he eats fish before them in Jerusalem. In the second part Jesus repeats what he did for the disciples on the way to Emmaus. He recalls and reinterprets the scriptures for them, not only so that they can come to grips with what has already happened – his death and resurrection – but be prepared for the future. They are to preach ‘repentance for the forgiveness of sins. To all the nations’. In one short declaration – ‘You are witnesses to this’. Luke paves the way for his companion volume, the Acts, to tell the story of the mission to the nations.