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Two problems with ghosts (sermon extract)

May 10, 2011

Text: Luke 24: 13-49

“They were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost”…

There are two problems with ghosts. The first one is that they are insubstantial… you can’t touch them, they can’t touch you, they are like a whisp of breath (the greek word is pneuma), they are not available to you.

The second problem with ghosts has to do with why they are there… they come back to haunt. That’s what ghosts do, they haunt right?

Notice the disciples are terrified and Jesus responds, it seems to me, in ways which address both these concerns. Firstly, he makes himself available… “touch me…” and then he eats food with them (on the Emmaus Rd it was bread, now it’s broiled fish)… he binds himself to them (in Middle Eastern style table-fellowship) as a friend. He does the opposite of haunting. He brings no resentment at all.

Notice he goes on to do the same thing with them as he did on the road to Emmaus… just in a different order. First it was bible study then food. Now it is food then bible study. He teaches them how to read the Old Testament differently… in a way that pointed towards a Messiah who suffered.

And what happens when their eyes were opened to the suffering of the Messiah? They realise that the suffering they have contributed to (remember the guilt that made them nervous at the beginning when they suspected the room was haunted by an unhappy ghost) … the suffering that they have contributed to is no less than the suffering of God… of God’s Messiah… And in spite of this, God’s Messiah has bound himself to them in friendship and food.

What an incredible meal experience!

At the same moment that they realise that they have contributed to the killing of God… they find that now they are eating with their victim… and their victim is God. And God himself has acquitted them.

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