It can’t be! It’s just too good to be true!

That may be our reaction when something wonderful happens in our lives, something that we never expected.

It can’t be! It’s just too good to be true!

For example, imagine you apply for an upper-level position at your place of employment. You do so without much hope of success since there is a rumor that the management has someone in mind from outside the company. But you apply anyway, and you work hard to make a good impression during the interviews that follow. Weeks go by, you hear nothing, and you assume you were passed over for the position. Then unexpectedly, the head of the company calls you in and informs you that you got the promotion. Not only that, you will also receive a substantial increase in salary and improved benefits.

You are stunned. It can’t be! It’s just too good to be true!
Such a reaction may help us to understand what happens in this Sunday’s Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter. (Luke 24:35-48)

The disciples are gathered together as they listen to Cleopas and his companion recount how they met the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus.

Suddenly, the Lord appears among them. We are told, “they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.”

Jesus whom they had seen arrested, crucified, and placed in a tomb, could not be standing before them, alive and risen. That was just too good to be true. Dead people stay dead. They must be seeing some sort of phantom, some type of ghostly apparition.

Besides, who knew if the earlier report of what happened on the road to Emmaus was true or just wishful fantasy.

The Lord, aware of their inability to comprehend his most unexpected presence, tries to help them understand that he is real and risen. “Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

He then asks for food. “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.” Ghosts do not eat, but living people do, risen people do!

Then the Risen Lord explains that what happened to him was in accord with God’s plan. “The Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

By those words, the Risen Lord commissions his disciples to witness to the truth of the Gospel, to show humanity the way to peace and fulfillment, and to proclaim that for those who accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, death is not annihilation but the pathway to an eternal life of joy.

But many people refuse to accept the resurrection of Jesus and the truth of the Gospel not because they do not want to believe, but because it all seems just too good to be true.

But it is. It’s all true. That is the amazing message of Easter!

© 2021 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski