Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Step into the Garden

Follow me, and in doing so, you will see the heavens open, and you will see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

It needs to be said that Jesus is not merely an historical figure, someone we read about in the Bible and decide to believe in. There is that Jesus. The historical Jesus. He actually did live and breathe, walked among us, taught us many wonderful things, and did many signs and wonders. One cannot truly believe and doubt this.

The nub, however, is whether or not we believe that this same historical Jesus is still very much alive, more than 2000 years later. If he is, as his followers believe, alive and well, and that he is tangible and real as opposed to some preternatural ghost, then we must consider as to how he is to be engaged, if indeed, we can engage him.

Charles Sailor published The Second Son, in January of 1979. Not sure how I acquired the book; perhaps picked it up for something to pass the time while traveling. It is a novel about a young construction worker, Joseph Turner, who falls 25 stories from steel girders, and survives – or perhaps he didn’t. Perhaps he just came back to life. The author’s characterization of Joseph’s gentle heart and his unusual gifts, despite his “ordinariness,” make him sound incredibly like Jesus might sound, were he walking among us, and living among us like the guy next door. I have read the book several times. It’s that kind of book.

The Scriptures give us a very different picture of the return of Jesus to the earth, but suppose he simply appeared in our lives as one of our friends? The point of such a bizarre supposition, is that Jesus is just as human now as he was when he appeared in the upper room after his resurrection, or along the Emmaus road, or preparing breakfast for the disciples on the shores of Galilee. His human body may have very non-human properties (at least insofar we know the human body to be), but his body still is, and will always be, human!

That simple reality speaks to why we were made in the Imago Dei, and to why we have dignity and purpose, and to that which gives our lives the magnificence of meaning!

He will remain human, and he will remain alive for eternity. He still lives and eats and breathes. Were he on the earth in his human form, and were he to step on the scales, the scales would register his weight in pounds and ounces – or stone, should the scales be in the United Kingdom.

We encounter the historicity of Jesus in the Bible, but that is a mere pathway to engaging the real, living, God-human Jesus now.

I cannot deny that Jesus may speak audibly to certain believers, nor can I deny that he may physically appear to anyone he chooses. But how the living Jesus comes to us is not an issue. The tangibility of his vitality, motivating and mobilizing us is the issue -- the relevant issue of paramount significance.

The fact that we personally engage the living Christ in our everyday lives is critical. It is, indeed, a personal, life-giving experience. And in that experience, I say experience, we can see the angels, we actually see him, and know him who is invisible.

1 comment:

  1. You have a powerful message in this blog addition, one that echoed more loudly your book. Somehow the church has "spiritualized" both the Jesus of Nazareth and the living Christ. You are reminding us of the truth discovered by "doubting Thomas" - that the risen Jesus STILL has a human body that you can touch. The importance of this truth is that it means that Jesus is still the God-Man and will forever be connected to us humans in the most personal way possible. He has a body like ours - still and forever. Going further, into the theological logic of the trinity, since God is Jesus and the risen Jesus has a human body - well - what does that tell us about the Creator of the universe. It may tell us far more than we mortals can fully understand. For sure, it tells us that God is Personally involved with the humans on this small planet - right now - today. You have a some very deep truths in your work that need to be exposed to a far bigger audience.
    Dr. Lou Tharp