The disciples were hit hard by the loss of their beloved leader. They were hit hard by their own betrayal and cowardice. But at the bottom of their deepest despair something happened.
First they did not have words for it; they did not know how to talk about it with each other, not to mention with the outside word. Only later they would start to call it resurrection. Only later they would find the powerful symbol of the empty tomb. Only later they would attempt to record, systematize and organize their thoughts and experiences. But something powerful had happened. My professor of the New Testament Dr. Petr Pokorný in his book "The genesis of Christology" calls it The Decisive Impulse. At first the disciples were crushed by despair, and then they became filled with joy. At first they were overwhelmed by fear, and then they found new confidence. Their leader was executed in Jerusalem, and then they met him in Galilee. Something powerful had happened to them, and they started to search for words and ways to share their experience, they searched for stories and metaphors to talk about their transforming experience.
Interestingly, the decisive impulse was closely intertwined with communal meals, just as it was during Jesus’ earthly life, the overwhelming majority of Easter stories are connected with eating. Since the earliest transformative experiences originated in Galilee, this Easter Sunday gospel reading will take us to the Galilean beach with a barbecue for the resurrection picnic.
|This graphics is based on the ancient mosaic
from the Church of the Multiplication