Friday, 19 September 2014
Found In Him Chapter 6: His Love Made Visible
How do you usually think about the resurrection? About Jesus, risen?
We talked about this during our small group leaders’ time. One woman shared:
“I tend to think of the resurrected Christ differently from the way he comes across in these verses. I think of it as hope, generic hope. But these scenes when he appeared to people show me how very specific and personal he is. He’s done it. It really is finished! Done. Covered. Forgiven. Forgotten. There really is hope!”
Let’s take a quick look at the scenes together.
Love made visible…
1 John 4:9 tells us that God’s love was made visible through Jesus. We’ve been seeing that in the details of his earthly life. Last week we saw his love made visible during the hours leading up to and during the crucifixion. And today we got to gaze at his love made visible after his resurrection.
That’s because he doesn’t just appear to a crowd and say, “Voila! I’m alive!” and then vanish into thin air. No, he appears many times to multiple people, alone or in a group. Each time is different. Each need is different. What he says is different. And the hope is different, too, to fit the need.
First we see the women bringing spices to the tomb. What did they expect? A dead Jesus. They were keeping themselves busy by trying to do something useful. They were pushing down grief with duty. Futile work. Vain efforts, but it was better than nothing. They expected death, but he gave them LIFE! Their whole world exploded with joy, energy, amazement, endless possibilities because…he’s not dead. He’s alive!
Second, we see Mary, bowed in sorrow near the tomb. What did she expect? A stolen Jesus. Maybe she could soothe her grieving heart by finding his corpse again. Even if she could only look at his face, it would be worth it. She expected a lifeless form, but he gave her a whisper of LOVE. When he said her name, she knew everything she needed to know. He’s alive and he loves me.
Third, we see Peter trying to cover his shameful failure with accomplishment. What did he expect? A disappointed Jesus. You can hear him thinking, “I may not be able to die for him, but at least I can catch a few fish.” He expected to feel a little better about himself, but instead Jesus completely restored him. He didn’t just forgive him, he called him to be a shepherd. And then, glory be, he told him this: “Peter, you wanted to die for me. You failed. But I’m going to enable you to do it.”
Fourth, we see Thomas mired in doubt. What was he expecting? A disapproving Jesus. I’m sure the disciples had spent a week trying to argue him into faith, but he still couldn’t believe. He may have hated his weak faith. He expected a lecture for unbelief, but instead Jesus gave him a gracious chance to see and touch. There was no word of reproach, rebuke, or chastisement. Jesus was alive and full of reassurance to a weak man.
Fifth, we see the disciples asking Jesus when he would restore the kingdom to Israel. What were they expecting? An answer-man Jesus. After all, now that he’s alive, their highest hopes would be fulfilled. What they didn’t realize was that their question was wrong. Their hopes were too small. They expected their kingdom to come, but instead they learned how much bigger his kingdom is. Jesus was alive and not only that, he was coming back. In the meantime God the Spirit would come and be with them.
What are you expecting? How do you need the risen Jesus to make his love visible to you today? Ask him. Then watch him blow your expectations sky high!
In this the love of God has been made manifest to us, that God sent his Son into the world so that we might live through him. I John 4:9