Friday, November 9, 2012



You can often find passages in the Bible that are especially intriguing, and not necessarily for reasons having to do directly with the subject matter. One passage that has always fascinated me is Luke’s recounting of Jesus’ (apparently) third meeting with His disciples after His resurrection. Luke recounts that, after Jesus appeared to the disciples gathered in the upper room and greeting them with “Peace be with you,”

But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see that I have.” Luke 24, 37-39, New American Bible

Notice that Jesus did not say, in response to the disciples’ initial thought that they were seeing a ghost, “There are no such things as ghosts.” No. He said

“Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see that I have.”

Was Jesus effectively saying that there are such things as ghosts, but that He wasn’t one of them, that He had been resurrected, body and soul? Maybe Jesus’ almost ancillary protestations that He was not a ghost are nothing and I am reading entirely too much into this, but note that Jesus was always very careful in choosing His words, as were the Gospel writers, perhaps, after John, especially Luke.

Do I believe in ghosts? Probably not. But what I will think about and consider is a considerably broader range of topics and phenomena than what I will believe. I have never seen a ghost and, probably, neither have most of you. But I would be willing to say with near certainty that some of you, and other people I know, have seen ghosts, or at least think you, or they, have seen ghosts.

The important message in this passage of Luke, and of the whole Gospel, is that Jesus did indeed rise, body and soul, and, through faith in Him, we, too, will rise to join Him in heaven. His comments regarding ghosts are at the very most ancillary to His message, and indeed may have been said entirely to reinforce the reality of His bodily resurrection. But why did He say, effectively, “I am not a ghost” rather than “C’mon; there are no such things as ghosts”?

Intriguing, to say the least.

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