The Last Verses

Luke begins the gospel in wonder. The wonder of the incarnation is felt in the astonishment of those participating, in their poetry and song, in the pronunciation of Gabriel: is anything too wonderful for God?

Luke also ends in wonder. The astonishment of the discovery, the unwillingness to believe out of sorrow and dullness of heart is turned into an inability to believe of sheer overabundant joy. And there is the amazing suggestion when this risen Jesus who proves he is no ghost, who eats and is touched disappears, appears out of nowhere, and then rises into the clouds. Luke that way, obliquely, suggests with delicate precision that the wonder begun in the incarnation has not stopped with the incarnation; the resurrection has deepened it, opened up a whole new world of wonder. The incarnation was just the doorway. What lies beyond the resurrection is promised to, hinted at, and awaited by these men who to the death believe that nothing is too wonderful for God.

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