When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” (Luke 24:40-41)
Easter evening is a little like Christmas evening. We’re emotionally exhausted from the anticipation, from the preparation, from the interaction, from the food, from the frustration. As we start to crash, some of us start thinking about the next big thing. Whether it’s going back to work or catching the post-Christmas sales, many of us have a hard time simply being content with the moment.
It’s not the best time, however, for new emotional events. After the build-up and the celebration, any new gifts, new revelations, new delights or despairs are likely to leave us more confused than clear. Hearing news that, for example, a good friend we thought was dead was actually alive would leave us stunned.
On the first Easter evening, some of the disciples were together. In the aftermath of a holiday, of watching Jesus die, of hearing scattered stories of seeing him alive, they were trying to figure out everything. They were, in a word, human.
Two of their colleagues arrived and said, “Jesus was walking with us, but we didn’t recognize him until we were just about to eat.” And then Jesus showed up.
They thought he was a ghost. He showed them his hands. Their capacity to understand was overwhelmed with the inconceivability of the truth. The joy they couldn’t quite believe flooded their reasoning.
So Jesus picked up where he left off on Thursday night, on the road toe Emmaus : “Do you have something to eat?”
I know we see this as a ghost-test, since specters can’t eat. But I think it’s an act of gracious normalcy. Jesus had been eating with them for the past three years. What better way to prove his presence than to meet them at a table?
It’s true then and still.