As we talk about the things that matter, what we'll be known for, the things that we want to change about ourselves, we're talking about how the external things...just aren't them. Or shouldn't be. Yesterday, we saw that no one will come to our funeral and talk about what size jeans we wore. So maybe it's time for us to stop worrying about it so much.
And I've been telling you that I will prove this to you through the Bible. Today, I'm going to do that.
By telling you of the resurrected Christ.
That may seem strange. Or perhaps really "churchy." Like, ugh, of course it's going to be about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. (Yes, everything is about Jesus, but hear me out on this one.)
Remember that Jesus walked the earth in very public ministry for about three years. He took with Him a handful or so of very dedicated disciples, both men and women. The crowds pressed into the streets when they knew He was coming. He couldn't go anywhere without being followed and hounded and, well, recognized (almost - there were a few times...). What I'm saying is, everyone knew Jesus. They knew what He looked like. They called out to Him from the sides of the road.
Then, He dies. And He's placed in a tomb. And the women run to the tomb early on Sunday morning and find it...empty. Jesus...is risen.
...and nobody recognizes Him.
The women stand right next to the tomb talking to Him, but don't realize that it's Him that they're talking with. The disciples are on the road to Emmaus, walking and talking with Him, but they don't realize that it's Him that they're talking with. The disciples go out onto a boat to do some fishing, and someone yells to them from the shore, and they don't realize that it's Jesus. All of these men and women with whom Jesus spent three years of ministry look Him straight in the face and don't recognize Him.
Until He calls them by name. Until He teaches them about the Scriptures. Until He fills their net with fish.
Then, all of a sudden, they can't catch their breath. They can't fathom it. It's...Jesus! It's really Him! They recognize this in the context of relationship, in a revelation of His personality.
Just standing there, they miss it. When He speaks, when He breaks bread, when He teaches, when He works miracles, when He begins to interact with them, they recognize Him instantly. It is the content of who Jesus is that reveals Him, not His physical presence. Not what He looks like, but how He loves. Not that He's just standing there, but that He's drawing near.
Maybe you're not sold yet. Maybe you've heard one of the great lies that preachers like to tell without realizing it. Maybe you think there's more to this than this simple notion that Jesus, like all of us, is remembered for His character and His heart and not His face.
So...we'll talk about that tomorrow and see if we can put that to rest.
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