Monday, April 12, 2010

Seeing Jesus Alive

In Luke 24, there is a famous episode where Jesus meets two disciples leaving Jerusalem brokenhearted and disappointed that Jesus is dead, not recognizing that He is the one talking to them. Jesus rebukes them by asking why they don’t know their Old Testament better. Don’t you know that the Messiah was supposed to suffer and die and then be revealed in all His glory? The point is that His disciples don’t recognize Him in the flesh because they did not see Him in the Word. If they knew the story, if they knew how to read their Bibles, they would know that Jesus was supposed to die and be raised again on the third day. Rather than leaving Jerusalem in disappointment, they would be waiting expectantly for the news that His tomb was empty and that Jesus was alive.

If Jesus rebuked those disciples for what they should have seen in the Old Testament, how much more so are we held accountable for the entire Bible which includes the actual record of the resurrection of Jesus? But we still do this. We do this as we read history, as we hear current events, or perhaps as we look at our own lives and families. We read history and it seems to be a story of failure. We hear about current events, and we are tempted to despair. Or perhaps your own life and family seems unfortunate or regrettable in various ways. And when people seem a little too optimistic or cheerful, we are quick to ask, are you the only one not paying attention? Haven’t you noticed what has happened in the church? Haven’t you noticed what has happened in DC? Haven’t you noticed the immorality all around us? But the response of the Risen Jesus is not, “Oh really? Maybe I should tune in to CNN a little more often.” Jesus points us to His Word, and He calls us fools. Fools read the world as though the world is a straightforward story. Fools read politics and economics and cultural trends as though they are what they seem. Foolish Christians only see sin and failure in their own lives. And Jesus says that we are fools because we are slow to believe His word. You don’t need another newspaper, another radio talk show host, another breathless report about what is going on in Jerusalem.

You need to see Christ. And first of all you need to see Christ in His Word. You need to see Christ in Moses and all the prophets and all the Scriptures. And when you see Christ in His word, when you see Him there, you will look up and see Him right in front of you. You will see the story of history and the story of current events and the story of your own life as the story of Jesus’ sufferings and glory. You will see Jesus enthroned in glory sending forth His Spirit and filling this world with His glory, putting all His enemies beneath His feet. To miss this story is to miss the resurrection. It is to act as though Jesus is still in His grave.

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