“Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.”
Thursday, 22 April 2021
In the days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples, we are told, lock themselves up in the upper room. That room must have had all sorts of memories for them. It was in this room that Jesus washed their feet, that they ate with him. It was in this room that Jesus predicted his betrayal and named Judas as his traitor. It was in this room that Peter had sworn his loyalty to Jesus. We know that later, that same night, after leaving this room, he failed dismally.
As they sit and reminisce, feeling gloomy and helpless and wondering what the way forward might be, as they speak of their loss, grief and perhaps even their anger and guilt, Jesus comes and stands among them. Jesus speaks words of peace and then he “opened their minds to understand the scriptures”.
Notice how the whole mood and tone changes. From their place of gloom and hopelessness – maybe even collapse and failure – something new emerges. Jesus helps them understand what has happened. He opens their minds to see the bigger picture, to understand salvation history. Jesus, with great sensitivity and humility, helps his wounded friends to understand what they have experienced. He gives them courage. He renews their hope and empowers them to see more than what they saw when they sat huddled and despondent in that locked room.
Jesus does the same for us. His resurrection renews our hope and assures us that nothing can overcome us, not even death itself. This does not mean that we will never feel challenged and stressed by what life throws at us. However, the resurrection assures us that nothing can overcome us. Jesus is our living hope!
We, as followers of Jesus, are invited to do the same for others. We are invited to gently and humbly help others who feel the weight of life, assuring them that there is hope and newness. Empowered with living hope by the Lord, we are invited to offer hope to those around us who have lost hope. The words of peace and understanding that Jesus speaks to his disciples, he invites us to speak to others.
Take time today to allow yourself to hear words of living hope from the risen Lord. Sit quietly for a while with Jesus and allow him to open your mind so that you too have your horizons broadened. Then ask yourself: who should I speak a word of encouragement and hope to today?