He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected. – Mark 16:1
36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.
37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?
39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.”
Ghostbusters is an American fantasy comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as a trio of eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. The film also stars Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.
Ghostbusters was the first comedy film to employ expensive special effects: a combination of practical effects, miniatures, and puppets to deliver the ghoulish visuals.
Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984, to critical acclaim and became a cultural phenomenon. It was well-received for its deft blend of comedy, action, and horror, and Murray’s performance was repeatedly singled out for praise. The film earned $282.2 million during its initial theatrical run, making it the second highest-grossing film of that year, and the highest-grossing comedy of all time up to that point. It was the number one film in theaters for seven consecutive weeks.
In 2015, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Nagging doubt and feelings of fear and uncertainty often go together. The disciples were already shaken to the core and filled with grief. The Lord Jesus Christ was dead and buried. They had definite abandonment issues and feared for their lives. They were in hiding and awaiting the next shoe to drop. What could be worse?
How about mass hysteria, followed by mass insanity? Suddenly, behind closed doors, somehow there was a presence in their midst. It was speaking and offering them peace and consolation. Rather than breathing a sigh of relief and praising the Lord, they were deeply unsettled and terrified. Perhaps their imaginations were running wild or they were losing their minds. They could not believe their eyes or ears. This simply could not be happening. It was just too good to be true. In the natural world, it was impossible.
Faith and fear do not mix well together.
What was their first thought? It must be a ghost or worse, some manifestation of an evil spirit. How would you react if you were there?
Most likely, they like us, had never actually seen a ghost, but what they saw must have been what they thought a ghost would have been like.
The Greek word translated ghost or spirit here is pneuma. In this context, it refers to a disembodied spirit, a ghost. A disembodied spirit was conceived of as the immaterial part of a person’s personality that leaves the body at death. It then appears to people in a bodily likeness, a visible representation of that individual. This is a man-made conjecture, not scriptural truth. The word more frequently translated ghost in Greek is phantasma, an apparition, or spirit (Matthew 14:26). A bit of ghostbusting, and the problem was worked out, and their fears were relieved. Indeed He was risen. He was risen indeed.
REFLECT & PRAY
We too are slow to believe.
Father, I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
It is natural to be slow to believe. When our minds are made up, it is hard to believe what our eyes and ears may tell us. The disciples were not expecting any miracles. What they thought was happening, was being controlled by what they thought could happen. Apparently, their fear prevented them from initially recognizing Jesus.
The disciples are portrayed as slow to accept the resurrection. Although they had heard the prediction on numerous occasions, they did not expect the Lord Jesus to be raised. Nor do they expect Him to appear afterwards. As with most people, they had to be persuaded. The disciples were as skeptical as the rest of humanity (Bock)
The Lord Jesus Christ was not a disembodied spirit. Rather, His physical body had been transformed. His new resurrection body was tangible and corporeal. But the evidence of His death on the cross remained. The holes in His hands, feet, and side told His story. Even though His body now is healed, and strong, His wounded hands and feet remained. For all time, our beloved Savior and Lord will bear the marks of His love for us. The marks are not scars. They are open wounds. The wounds remain as they were, when they were first made by the Romans.
“Christianity is not founded on the dreams of disordered minds or the visions of fevered eyes, but on one who in actual historical fact, faced and fought and conquered death and rose again.”
“The cross was not forced on God; it was not an emergency measure when all else had failed and when the scheme of things had gone wrong. It was part of the plan of God, for it is the one place on earth where, in a moment of time, we see his eternal love” (Barclay).
“He is risen; He is risen, indeed!”