Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord! What does this piece of Good News mean to us when we hear it?
Altogether, Jesus appeared to His disciples and others at least 10 times after His resurrection. The four Gospels record for us what happened when Jesus appeared to His disciples. Other mentions are found in Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15. In appearing to the community closest to Him, Jesus was reassuring them and opening their minds to loving and serving a living Lord, to hope and power.
In the Gospels according to Matthew and Mark, we read how the disciples received the Great Commission from our Lord. According to Luke 24:13-49, two of the disciples were on the road to Emmaus and realising that they had just spoken with the living Christ, they rapidly turned around and went back to Jerusalem to report to the others their eyewitness account.
In John 20-21, Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples, taking time to help them overcome their grief and leading them to open their minds to the reality of His presence.
Jesus went to meet Peter and the disciples who were fishing at the Sea of Tiberias, where Jesus had helped them with a miraculous catch of fish. After an early breakfast of grilled fish, when all had eaten their fill, Jesus turned to Peter, who among all the disciples would have felt the most uneasy. Peter was elated at the sight of his Lord, yet wondering how Jesus would relate to him.
After all, Peter had denied his Lord after vehemently declaring his allegiance. Three times, Jesus offered Peter a chance to restate his love. Each time, Peter replied, “Lord, you know I love you.” Three times, Jesus reassured Peter of His love: by committing the care of His sheep to him.
This Easter, may the Lord Jesus open our minds to the reality of His presence! Let us focus on how we will respond to the resurrected Lord.
Just as Jesus spoke to Peter in such a personal way, let us see that the Great Commission is also about caring for others, especially the weak and vulnerable among us, the elderly and the young, the sick and their caregivers – are they not the sheep that the resurrected Jesus has asked us to look after and to feed?
Remember when Jesus saw the harassed and helpless crowds, He was filled with compassion to see that the people were like “sheep without a shepherd”. “Pray,” He said, “to the Lord of the harvest, to send out workers to the harvest field.”
Perhaps we need not go far to find these helpless sheep – who may be our family members, neighbours, colleagues, school mates, and friends. They are right there within our reach. Let us therefore extend the love of Christ to people, as a response that will please our risen Lord.
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –
was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference for two quadrennia from 2008 to 2016.
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