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He is RISEN!
“It is true! He is risen!” This verse is charged with joy. You can hear it. It leaps up off of the page at us with that exclamation mark. This verse comes near the end of the passage about the two disciples who have encountered Jesus on the road to the village of Emmaus after his resurrection. And we, today, this Monday after Easter Sunday, are filled with the same enthusiasm, the same joy. This is one of my favorite stories in the gospels. When we meet these two disciples walking dejectedly along the dusty road to their village, in our imagination, we can see their slumped shoulders, their sadness as they talked to each other, and debated about the terrible events that they had witnessed over the last few days that ended with the death of their beloved Jesus on that rough hewn cross. We can see their wonder too at the news that some of the disciples have gone to the grave and found it empty. We can imagine their sorrow, their confusion. We might even wonder what our reaction might have been if we had been there, like these two. They had seen so much of him, seen his power to heal and to raise people from the dead. They had seen and known his capacity for love and forgiveness. No one in all of their history was more like the promised Messiah than this Jesus. Being human, they might have pinned many earthly hopes on what Jesus would do for them in earthly terms. “Was he just another prophet in the long tradition of the faith?” “Would be become their king?” “Would he free them from the oppression of their Roman overlords?” “Would be make them prosperous and comfortable in this life?” But what they saw…