The Scriptures tell us about a few times when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. First, He appeared to them in the Upper Room, where they were locked in and hiding out, trying to figure out what to do with themselves next. They needed a place to clear their heads, so those who had abandoned Him at the Cross went back to the last place they spent with Him.
Isn't that interesting?
Here's this band of ragtag disciples. They've spent a couple of years with Jesus, touring with Him, doing ministry with Him, witnessing everything that He's done. They've had a front-row seat to something amazing, but when things start to turn and Jesus is facing death, they all abandon Him. You wonder what they did while He was being crucified. You wonder why they were so sure there wouldn't be anything to witness at the Cross.
Right? Because this Man who has done so many miracles could surely do one more. Yet, the disciples don't seem to be banking on that. They don't seem to care to see what happens at the Cross. They've resigned themselves to the fact that He's going to die there, even while the Roman soldiers taunt Him to call down angels or to save Himself.
Why didn't the disciples think He could save Himself? Maybe they knew that He wouldn't.
So they're gone, save John. They can't bear to watch. But what do they do with themselves? They clearly stay together; when the women come back with the report of the risen Christ, they encounter all of the disciples, it seems. And then when Jesus re-appears on the scene, they're together, still, for the most part - gathered in the Upper Room. Trying to remember Jesus the way they want to, I guess.
But isn't that just like us? We create the same kind of bunkers in our faith, trying to keep ourselves going back to the last place we saw Jesus. Trying to tap into the last big moment we had with Him. Trying desperately to hold onto what worked for us in the past.
Things change, circumstances change, and sometimes, we have trouble keeping in touch with Him. When that happens, we just go back, but the problem with going back is...He's not there. Jesus wasn't in that Upper Room with the disciples; He was on the Cross. He wasn't around that table; He was in the tomb.
And then, what do they do? The women come and tell them that He's not in the tomb, so they get up and run to the tomb. Again, looking for Jesus in the last place they left Him even though they know He's not there any more.
Finally, what happens? It's Jesus who changes things. It's Jesus who shows up where they are looking for Him, since apparently they don't know where to go to find Him now that He's not there any more. It's Jesus who comes back for them. It's He who changes their experience of their space.
He does the same for us. Doesn't He? He always comes back to find us where we refuse to give up looking because He knows we'll maybe never get there on our own. But there's something about that because at least we're looking. At least we're trying. At least it's on our minds to have Him, to hold onto Him, to remember Him.
That's something, isn't it?