Families blog – Seven words of the risen Lord

Michael McGirr 10 February 2024

What phrases of the Resurrected Jesus delight and move you?

There is a beautiful custom of pondering the seven phrases or sentences that Jesus said when he was on the cross. Each one of them is full of meaning. We could also take time to think quietly and deeply about the things Jesus said after he rose from the dead. They speak to us just as profoundly.

Do not be afraid (Matthew 28:10)
How many times does Jesus tell people not to be afraid? The answer is many, many times. God knows that we are anxious and timid, that we hide behind things that may not matter as much as we think. The risen Lord calls us to a whole new perspective on life, one in which God will surprise and delight us.

Tell my brothers they must leave for Galilee (Matthew 28:10)
Why Galilee? It was where Jesus’ friends first met him, where the dream began. Sometimes couples in the doldrums return to the place they went for their honeymoon. Others like to revisit their childhood home, a place where they had been happy. Jesus knows that the disciples have been traumatised. He wants to meet them in the place they first found love. A fresh start is calling.

Go into all the whole world and proclaim the Good News (Mark 16:15)
After all Jesus endured, the resurrection stories do not include the least suggestion of retribution or revenge. He doesn’t even mention Pilate or Annas or Caiaphas. We believe that he would have welcomed reconciliation even with Judas, but Judas did not have the courage to believe that. Instead, Jesus focuses on the future. He is on the side of life and the adventure of faith. He wants the door open, not closed.

What are you talking about? (Luke 24:17)
When Jesus first met the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he wanted to listen to their troubles. Then it was their turn to listen. Their lives were literally turned around. The same applies to us. God listens to us pour out our hearts and then asks us to listen. He asks us to recognise him when we least expect.

Have you anything here to eat? (Luke 24:41)
Many of the resurrection scenes involve food. This is partly to emphasise that the risen Lord is not a phantom, but a physical person. It is also about rebuilding community. Every table can be the table of the Lord. God shares our daily bread on both special occasions and also when we have a quick lunch at work or school.

Do not cling to me (John 20:17)
Mary of Magdala clearly loved Jesus. At first, she didn’t recognise the risen Lord. She does so when he asks why she is crying; she can’t mistake the compassion in his voice. She hugs him, but Jesus tells her not to be clingy. He says, ‘go and tell the brothers.’ Love of Jesus means going somewhere and doing something.

Do you love me? (John 21:15)
The reconciliation of Peter and Jesus is surely one of the most emotional scenes in the entire Bible. In Jesus’ darkest hour, Peter had denied three times that he even knew his friend. With great generosity, Jesus wants to put this behind them. He asks three times if Peter loves him. Of course, he does; he just stuffed up. We all do. Jesus asks us every day if we love him, not because he needs to hear it but because we need to say it.


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