Recognizing Jesus at #NEXTChurch2014

Reflections of a Pastor Couple


This week I spent some time with 400 of my closest friends at the NEXTChurch Gathering in Minneapolis. It was a wonderful time to see colleagues, catch up with old classmates, and be in a space where people were talking about what’s next for the PCUSA.

It was two and a half days of amazing preaching, transformative worship, creative ideas, informative workshops, and great conversation. In one of those conversations with my good friend John Vest something struck me like a thunderbolt.

The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus after the resurrection.

In the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John the resurrected Christ appears to his disciples and in each case they don’t recognize him, until he shows them his scars (John 20:24-29), breaks bread with them (Luke 24:13-35), speaks a word of peace (Luke 24:36-49 and John 20:19-23), calls them by name (

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Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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