golgotha cried tears made of nails.
but sunday brings
joy made
of flesh.

As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his feet. Still they stood there doubting, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish.
—the memorable reunion of the risen Jesus and his clueless disciples
(Luke 24:40-42)

I love this part of the story. It’s so absurdly human.

Jesus had died. He’d been whipped, beaten, tortured, crucified, and then buried in a tomb. Now, a couple days later, he appears to his friends in a locked room and starts trying to convince them he’s not dead any longer.

“Really, guys, I’m alive. Check it out. Look at my hands. See? Does a ghost have flesh and blood and fingers? Huh? Can a ghost shake your hand?”

And I love how Luke says “he showed them his feet” (24:40). Luke (who was a doctor, by the way) doesn’t say “he showed them the scars on his feet” but rather, “he showed them his feet.”

“I’ve got feet too, guys! See? How many ghosts have feet? How many ghosts can do this?” says Jesus as he moonwalks across the room. And they just stand there in shock until he says, “Hey, you guys got anything to eat around here?”

Someone goes over to the fridge. “Um . . . here’s some leftover fish.”

“Cool,” says Jesus. “I’m famished.”

No one could make this stuff up. I mean, if we were in charge of making up a story about a risen Savior, we’d insert a rock concert, or a Billy Graham Crusade, or a victory parade, or at least a press conference. Peter would be the spokesperson. Fox News would carry it.

Instead, the disciples just stand there gawking.

And then there’s the whole deal with the broiled fish. If I were making this up, I’d have the disciples hold a banquet and say something reverent like, “Look, O Lord, we have preparedeth for thee a banquet for thine honor and enjoymenteth. For we knewest that thou wouldst riseth againeth from the deadeth just as thou hadst predictedeth. For we hath believedeth in thee!”

Instead it was, “Um, we’ve got some leftover fish somewhere. Lemme go look for it.”

I like that nothing is hidden, nothing is watered down, there’s no spin here. This story is so real and earthy and alive with the curious wonder and ridiculous logic of the truth: Jesus is alive, so why shouldn’t he have a bite to eat? He must have been hungry. After all, he hadn’t eaten since the Last Supper. And being dead can really give you an appetite.

There’s nothing to compare this to. People three days dead do not come back to life. We know that. Everything that has a beginning has an end.

Everyone knows that.

Except for the Nazarene.

He tips life on its head and turns the end of life into a glorious new beginning. Here’s how Paul explained the mystical power of the risen Jesus:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!  -1 Corinthians 15:54-57 Message

The gifts of the Master are these: freedom, life, hope, new direction, transformation, and intimacy with God. If the cross was the end of the story, we would have no hope. But the cross isn’t the end. Jesus didn’t escape from death; he conquered it and opened the way to heaven for all who will dare to believe.

The truth of this moment, if we let it sweep over us, is stunning. It means Jesus really is who he claimed to be, we are really as lost as he said we are, and he really is the only way for us to intimately and spiritually connect with God again.

jesus played hide and seek with death.
“3-2-1! ready or not here i come!” she yelled.

but after searching for a while,
she realized jesus had tired of the game and had headed home.
“come out, come out, wherever you are!”
finally, she just gave up looking
because his home is the one place
she is not allowed to go.

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about conferences, seminars, books, and DVDs that will change my life. “This (fill in the blank) will change your life! Attend this life-changing (fill in the blank) and you’ll never be the same again! It’ll be life changing!”

On the back of one Christian book I recently picked up were three separate quotes by Christian celebrities, all of which promised, “This book will change your life!”

A hernia will change your life. Swallowing two pounds of Ex-Lax will change your life. Getting bitten by a rabid dog will change your life. So will going bankrupt, joining a cult, or getting a tapeworm. All of these things are very life changing.

Change is not always a good thing. What I need isn’t change from one thing to another but transformation from who I am into who I was meant to become. Only when God’s transforming power touches me can I begin to live the simpler, freer, fresher, more creative, more patient, more passionate, more sacrificial, riskier, rawer, more real, more love-driven life God intended for me to have all along.

That transformation is what awaits all who will dare to enter the story of God. As Paul wrote, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2).

And that’s why the disciples were filled with amazement and terror and wonder on this day. God was begging to transform them. The truth was beginning to sink in. It rocked their world. Everything was backward. Death had lost its stranglehold on life. The hero had won after all.

Whiplash after whiplash after whiplash.

Nothing was as it seemed, but actually, everything was getting back to how it was supposed to be all along.

touching the unseen

questions tremble within me
like paper-thin leaves in the breeze.
but your story is stronger than my pain
and your truth is taking root in my soul.

at last my branches have
touched the edge of blueness,
easing from your caring eyes.