“After his suffering, Jesus… appeared to them during forty days, speaking to them about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 1:2-3
Forty days. The risen Jesus could’ve used that time to tell his disciples what it was like being entombed in airless rocks, or with what divine mechanism the angels rolled away the stone, or how he felt when he saw Mary in the garden alone.
He could’ve explained to them the odd physics of walking through walls, divulged where he got the fish he fried for them on the beach, helped them understand why a glorious body still bore awful wounds.
He could’ve addressed post-ascension practicalities, equipped them with doctrines, vision statements, and achievable goals for the early church.
He could’ve imparted all kinds of goose-bumpy new things, revelations and secrets from beyond the grave.
But no. Here he is, a new creation fresh from God’s morning, yet not a single new topic comes out of his mouth. He’s still talking about what he talked about pre-crucifixion at the lakeshore, on the mount, in the temple precincts, at Capernaum, on the road to everywhere.
“He spoke to them of kingdom of God,” of debts cleared by mercy, small things of infinite worth, mighty things reduced to dust, broken bread instead of broken bodies, tiny sparrows, counted hairs, banished demons, truth declared to tyrants, put-away swords, found sheep, found coins, found children, a hidden way inside, a buried pearl, living water, branches and vine.
Even suffused with eternal light, one foot in heaven, it’s all he can think to tell them. For forty days and forever: the kingdom of God.
For forty days and forever, would that it were all we too could think to tell the world.
Speak to me that I may speak, good Jesus. The old word, the new word—God’s own realm. For forty days and forever. Amen.
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.