Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walking through Walls

Remember Jesus appearing to the disciples after his resurrection? In two accounts (Luke 24:36-43 and John 20:19-20 and 24-29) Jesus shows up inside of a locked room. The disciples thought he was a ghost, but he had them touch him to realize he was substantial. Perhaps after watching a Star Trek episode, we might suspect Jesus used a "transporter" to "beam himself" into the chamber, but not so. 

Author Wendy Backlund, in her book Living From the Unseen, suggests that this tells us God is more substantial than any created thing. And wouldn't that make sense? To use a parallel idea, for us to walk through air is no big deal -- we do it all the time, and the only time it's difficult is in high winds. Walking through that wall, or however he did it, was no more difficult for Jesus than us walking through air. 

What does that tell us about the rest of life? I think it should tell us a lot. You and I tend to look at the world around us as being the "real" world, as in "that person should wake up and live in the real world." But our world has been changed forever with the resurrection of Jesus. Author N.T. Wright calls the resurrection "The Day the Revolution Began" in his book by the same name. All through Acts, as the apostles went around preaching, they highlighted the resurrection as a new beginning (see Acts 2 starting in verse 32, for instance). Paul writes something amazing in Ephesians 2:5-6 that "even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus." So Jesus being raised from the dead means new life for everyone! 

Our true life is in heaven, seated in a place of special favor next to the Father. We may still have to deal with taxes and automobile maintenance, bring home groceries and take out the trash, but Jesus' resurrection gives us a better reason to get out of bed in the morning. 

So where is our attention? Paul reminds us in 2 Cor. 4:18 that "the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." Whatever we look at, through the day, can we learn to see it with spiritual eyes and not merely physical? When we meet someone (whether we already know them or not) can we see them in the love of the Father for them? How will that change how we choose to treat them, how generous we might be with our time and resources, how we will pray for them? Let me suggest stopping to pray, often during the day, "Father, please help me see what is here the way you see it."  I think we'll discover that as we deliberately go through the day realizing that the spiritual is eternal, and far more substantial than the physical, our thoughts, actions and words will take on a deeper spiritual quality. 

And that will, as did the resurrection of our Lord, change everything. 

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