a) Reflection on God’s Word
What feelings and thoughts filled the hearts of the disciples when they left Jerusalem and on the road to Emmaus were joined by Jesus, whom, however, they did not recognize? Jesus first asked them: “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him: “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He asked: “What things?” So they said to Him: “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death... But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” Then the disciples told Him about the women having seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. And Jesus said to them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Their hearts burnt within them while He opened the Scriptures to them. Short after, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him in the breaking of bread, but He vanished from their sight.
Jesus, open our eyes too, that we may recognize You in Your brethren (see Mt 25:40). Your brother is the one who has received You, bears witness to You and is persecuted therefor by those who persecute You. Grant to me, O Lord Jesus, that I may see You today in Your brother who is praying with me.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): We all repeat: “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.” (Lk 24:31)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): We all say together: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa*”, and one of us adds: “You are here. Now I recognize You both in me and my brother!”
d) Song (5 min): Jesus opens my heart and my mind for His word.
Song: “Jesus, name above all names”
Jesus appears to the apostles
(Note: We reflect on the last two biblical truths alternately – one Sunday we reflect on “The Apparition to the Apostles” and the other Sunday “The Apparition to Thomas”.)
a) Reflection on God’s Word
On Sunday evening ten apostles are assembled in a house behind locked doors. Numerous questionings rise in their hearts. John is calmest. Seeing the empty tomb, he believed in Christ’s resurrection which the Lord had foretold several times. Even Peter looks different than in the morning. He has already told his brethren about the Lord having appeared to him. He himself does not want to speak much about it; however, this fact spreads among the disciples in a trice and soon it is the talk of Jerusalem. It is evening and the apostles are still talking of all these things which have happened – how Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and how the other women met Him. Besides, they recall some of Jesus’ words which He said in the last few days concerning the things that were to be accomplished in Him. Suddenly they hear somebody knocking at the door. They open and see two breathless disciples who left Jerusalem only a few hours ago. These unexpected arrivals, both talking at once, announce to the apostles that they have seen the Lord – whereupon the apostles say to them: “The Lord is risen indeed and has appeared to Simon!” The apostles are delighted that the two disciples have met Jesus. They are on the point of asking them about all the particulars when suddenly they see a radiant figure standing in the midst of them. Jesus is standing there, and as they are terrified and frightened, supposing that they are seeing a spirit, He says to them: “Peace to you! Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And to give them a safe proof, He took a piece of a broiled fish and ate in their presence. The fishbones were left there even after Jesus had parted from them.
Jesus told the disciples to go and preach repentance and remission of sins in His name to all nations. The disciples look at the glorious Lord and begin to understand the essence of salvation in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our sake.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): We all repeat: “Behold My hands – it is I Myself. Touch Me and see!” (Lk 24:39)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): We realize: where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name, Jesus is there in the midst of them, though we cannot see Him.
We all say together: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa”, and one of us adds “It is You Yourself. I touch You now.”
d) Song (5 min): I personally experience, along with the apostles, the meeting with Jesus who is now present here! Song: “Jesus, Jesus”
Jesus appears to Thomas
a) Reflection on God’s Word
On the Sunday of Christ’s resurrection Thomas struggled with doubts more than the other apostles. He was not a witness of Jesus’ first apparition to the disciples that evening. When he returns to their company, they tell him this joyful news: “We have seen the Lord!” But Thomas does not share their joy. The news that Jesus appeared in his absence touches him painfully and cannot help to relieve the sadness and unbelief which have filled his heart. He says to them: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” His conditions sound implacable. After eight days the disciples are again inside, and Thomas with them. And suddenly Jesus comes just as a week ago. The doors are shut again and Jesus stands in their midst. Then He turns directly to Thomas and repeats almost word for word what Thomas said a week ago, not believing that Jesus could be alive. Jesus knows exactly Thomas’ requirements and now shows him His glorified wounds and says: “Reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas approaches Jesus and falls on his knees before Him. He becomes aware of his stubbornness, unwillingness to believe God and his brothers, and also his pride connected with this unbelief. Jesus looks at him with love and suddenly he understands that the cause of his sadness was the sin of pride, that he was simply unwilling to bow to God. But now he confesses with all his heart: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus says to him: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus wants me too not to abide in darkness or sadness, for, in fact, I am often like Thomas. In many situations I do not believe Jesus, I do not believe in the power of His resurrection, nor His almightiness. However, through repentance I have to come out of my unbelief and in faith to meet the glorified, risen Jesus, my Lord and my God.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): We all repeat: “Reach your hand here, and put it into My side.” (Jn 20:27)
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): We all say together: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa”, and one of us adds: “Forgive me my unbelief! Now I confess: My Lord and my God!”
d) Song (5 min): Now I personally experience that Jesus is my Lord and my God. Song: “Emmanuel” (which means, God – Jesus – with us)