Jesus saw it immediately. He greets them with words of peace and then asks them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:37)
Why indeed? Why did they take an emotional step back when they saw the risen Christ?
To be honest, we have to ask the same questions about ourselves. And the answer is clear.
Resurrection is more than they bargained for. Resurrection is more than we bargained for.
|Norman Rockwell's "Surprise"|
Eternal life, you see, is not about merely enjoying the mortal life we have now forever and ever. God is transforming this mortal life into a new kind of life. As we follow Jesus in our daily routines, his presence in our lives is changing who we are at our very core.
It is this prospect of transformation that gave those disciples pause. And our own spiritual heartburn arises from the realization that our relationship with Jesus is stretching and molding and recreating us all along the way.
At this point you may be scratching your head, wondering what on earth I’m talking about. After all, you are deeply comforted by the idea of a secure afterlife. But what I’m trying to convey to you is precisely this. If you have been thinking about resurrection solely in terms of the afterlife, you may be keeping the risen Christ at arm's length.