36” Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Luke 24:36-39 NKJV
On the third day, Jesus appears to the disciples who struggle to believe that what they see before them is the resurrected Jesus. They think that Jesus is merely a spirit and not flesh as He was in the life He had with them. Jesus sees that they are stuck looking at life from a physical perspective and not seeing the greater spiritual realities and what they represent. How does Jesus get them to look away from the world, from the natural truth and see with expectancy the greater realities of the spiritual realm? He accomplishes this when Jesus tells His unbelieving disciples to touch Him. Jesus’ very words to them are “Handle me”.
Jesus says the same thing to you and me in the struggles we face in this life. When we are living something that is contrary to the promises of Jesus, when life is at odds with the promises of Jesus it is easy for us only to look and see the physical and miss the spiritual truth and reality. Jesus is telling you today that when you cannot see beyond your problem, to handle Him, to touch Him. How do we handle Him? We handle Him by handling the Word. We need to pick it up, read and grow in our knowing Him as we “handle Him” by handling the Word itself.
Picture the disciples at this moment. They are still in the misery of having lost Jesus and watched Him die on the cross and be buried in the tomb. Jesus appeared to them in their discouragement and gloom and said to them, “Peace be unto you”. In their misery, Jesus appeared in their midst and He will do so for you and me today as well. Jesus is with you today even if you feel discouraged and broken-hearted.
The disciples did not believe that it was Jesus. Their rational minds could not receive that. All too often in our own discouragement, we rationalize Jesus and His promises away, even though He is actually standing right there in our midst, representing our victory. Jesus questions why they would allow such thoughts of doubt to enter their minds. Jesus is also asking you why you are allowing thoughts of doubt. He expects us to put away and dispel the doubts that come in life. How do we do that? He told the disciples, as He tells you today, to touch Him, to handle Him.
As you handle the Word you are handling Him and the only result of that will be the ability to see His victory even in the appearance of defeat. Handle the Word and you see that He is present in your situation with His victory for you right now. Handle Him and see this instead of the uncertainty that leads to doubt and fear.
J Todd Hostetler