“Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27b NASB).
“How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25 HCSB).
I have been struck once more this Easter season by the commands of Jesus to view the world through the lens of our faith. This theme runs throughout the gospels and especially in the words of Jesus after his resurrection.
Jesus is saying something which people are more and more recognizing as true. We don’t just experience facts, we bring to the world of facts our way of viewing the world. Sometimes our way of viewing the world can keep us from seeing things which are right in front of us because we don’t expect them to be there.
This is especially true of the resurrection of Jesus. There are many facts surrounding the history of Jesus.
- There is the proclamation of an empty tomb by the disciples in the very city where it was said to have happened. (The message was proclaimed at a time when it could have been disproven by a body and the story of Jesus’ life could have been disproven.)
- There is the fact that these same disciples, devout Jews, gave up worship on the Sabbath and began worshipping on Sunday, calling it the Lord’s day because on this day they said he was raised from the dead.
- There is the sudden change in the disciples, the undeniable sudden burst of energy and enthusiasm they manifested.
- There is the character of the witnesses. They were people of deep, deep convictions about right and wrong, truth and lies.
- There is the willingness of the witnesses to die, proving it by dying all alone with no one pressuring them to keep to their story.
- There is the open discussion of names of people who said they saw the risen Jesus.
- There is the admission that women were the first to witness the risen Jesus, even though women were considered next to worthless as witnesses in that world.
- There are the undesigned coincidences in the witnesses’ stories which point to an external event rather than a concocted story. Likewise, the stories are not all exactly the same, which points to eyewitness testimony versus an agreed upon tale everyone was to tell.
These are all facts. These facts viewed through the lens of the Bible all point to a bodily resurrection. The Bible presents a God whose purpose is to bring created beings into the eternal reality which he himself knows. The Bible also presents a God who awakens us spiritually to see things we wouldn’t see otherwise. It says there is a spiritual way of seeing, what Ephesians calls “the eyes of the heart” (1:18). This spiritual way of seeing comes about as we are confronted with the person of Christ (Romans 10:17).
Jesus is telling us through the Bible, “Use your faith to look at reality, as you do you will see things you wouldn’t see otherwise. You will become more and more confident that there is a God who has acted in history to bring about his purpose for you, and his purpose is to bring you into the eternal realm.”
During this Eastertide may you grow more and more confident of God’s great plan for your life and may your life reflect this abiding meaning and purpose.