The Gospel text for this week in Easter comes from the Gospel according to Luke (24:36-49). I enjoy this account because it connects so closely to the things in Acts. Matthew looks to the past; Mark looks to the present, and Luke looks to the future.
So one of the reasons I like looking at Acts is its close similarities to the life of the Christian Church today. And one of the special characteristics of both Luke and Acts is the comparatively large number of interruptions that happen throughout the texts.
You can read about this in other places, but, in general, ‘interruption science’ has declared that interruptions are, almost always, bad. And the fact that they are frequent within this gospel account, as well as within Acts, is, in my opinion, good.
This is an imperfect world. We all have interruptions, and we can call them ‘bad’ or ‘good’, but, if they are connected to Jesus, there WILL be some good in the end. So an interruption is basically a hidden miracle.
At the beginning of this text, Jesus’ followers who were going to Emmaus had come back and were talking to the other disciples, but the word for ‘talking’ here can also mean just making sounds (BDAG, p. 582). Now I certainly do not think that is what they were doing, but I do think that what they said could have been better.
So Jesus shows up. He interrupts what is going on. And things get significantly better. This gets much clearer when the text that says that he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. When he does that, he goes all the way back to Moses, saying that the fulfilment all points toward him.
Now even a short summary of that would be too big to cover at this point in time, but I hope you can see at the end of some of the books which end some of the sections in the Old Testament—Genesis, Deuteronomy, 2 Chronicles, and, of course, Malachi—these leave the reader hanging in some way. The story of Israel is not finished until it comes to Jesus.
Jesus interrupted the history of the world. Some people took it badly. Many were significantly changed because of it. Jesus is a hidden miracle, even in the ways that he shows up today.
At the end of the text Jesus promises to send a promise to them, a promise that his Father made. This interrupts their lives even more, but, of course, there is a purpose behind this.
One thing I had not noticed before is that they were to be sitting in Jerusalem, waiting for this promise. Now did you know that was exactly their position in Acts 2? Good job guys! It is also interesting to note that the tongues of fire are described as sitting on them.
So to focus on the disciples at any time would be missing the point. At this point, they become like a chair for someone much more important.
One of my teachers used to say, ‘To be ordained is to be rendered irrelevant.’