Happy Easter everybody. It’s a beautiful morning here in Georgia. The Bradford pears and cherry trees are all in bloom. The sunshine and the temperature are perfect – how you always imagine Easter should be.
A group of people is coming to our house in a bit. We’ll feed them Karen’s great cooking and we’ll feed their spirits too. It’s an example Jesus gave us.
Jesus, the God-man, perpetually lived in the tension between his humanity and his divinity. And by his example after his resurrection, he showed us how to do the same. I was reading about it this morning in the book of John, where we’re given four examples.*
First, Thomas shows up. If Thomas lived in America, he’d be from Missouri, the Show-Me state. His humanity needs proof that all these crazy rumors are true. Jesus doesn’t dismiss him – he meets Thomas’ need, showing the holes in his hands, but he also simultaneously appeals to his spirit-man, giving him evidence of the supernatural.
Second, the miracles. Jesus did “many other miracles” we’re told. Why did he do them? “That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” We need evidence of the supernatural to exercise faith.
Third, Peter is needy. He goes fishing, in part to feed himself. His neediness is going to get in the way of an important final conversation that Jesus wants to have with him. So Jesus meets his need, filling his nets with a supernatural abundance of fish.
Fourth, the disciples are hungry. Jesus meets their need by cooking them breakfast. Then, having shown that he cares about their humanity, he addresses the spirit-man within them. He does so using Peter as an example to them and to all of us who feel like failures. Last we saw Peter, his humanity was on distressing display. Embarrassed three times by a chicken, Peter needed to be restored. Three times Jesus lifted up his chin, reminding Peter of his love and empowering him to take care of those sheep weaker than himself.
On this Easter in 2010, I’ve got a lot of issues that remind me, like Peter, of my humanity. People who are close to me are depressed. Money issues are ever-present. I’ve got people who are in conflict and who need my mediation. But Jesus also gives me evidence of his supernatural power to meet my very real needs just in time. And he continues to appeal to me to feed his sheep.
I’m guessing that your life is a lot like mine. Full of reminders of your own limited humanity and your own neediness. Yet in the midst of that tension, on this resurrection day, I hope you’ll see that Jesus continues to show up with supernatural answers to our needs. He wants to address our needs, but then he wants to point us to relationship, asking us “Do you love me?” And encouraging us to “stop doubting and believe.”