December 27, 2022

The Same, But Different

John 20:11-16

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

—  Luke 24:42-43

On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene wept at the empty tomb of Jesus. She was beside herself with grief. Then suddenly, when she turned around, she saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him. She guessed he was the gardener. Not a bad guess, considering where they were and what time of day it was. But when he spoke her name, then she could see. It was Jesus, still Jesus.

Later that day, Jesus joined a pair of despondent disciples walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). They had a long conversation with Jesus. But they didn’t recognize him, not even when he was teaching them from the Scriptures. But when he broke bread with them, then they could see. It was Jesus, still Jesus.

Later that evening, Jesus also appeared to his disciples in a locked room (Luke 24:36-49). They weren’t sure it was him. Besides being able to suddenly appear and disappear, he seemed different. “Is this a ghost?” they wondered. But he wasn’t that different. He was still flesh and bones. “Touch me and see,” he said. And apparently he was hungry. So they gave him some fish to eat. Then they could see. It was Jesus, still Jesus.

Sure, he was different. But he was still the same. Sure, he was different. But he was still human. And he still is.

Jesus, when you rose from the dead, you didn’t cast your human nature aside. You may be different, but you are still like us. We can’t wait to be different like you. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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