My key word today is glimpse. Picture yourself driving at night in a rainstorm. Your headlights allow you to see the road but that is all you can see except when there is a lightning strike. The lightning allows you to catch a glimpse of the trees on both sides of the road. The trees are there the whole time but they are not visible until lightning strikes.
After Jesus rose from the dead there were some who caught a glimpse of His resurrected body. That was true for Mary Magdalene who had a short conversation with Him near the tomb on Easter Sunday. He said, “Go and tell the other disciples that you have seen me.” And then He disappeared. Two of His disciples saw Him on the road to Emmaus. They recognized Him in the Breaking of the Bread. And then He disappeared. On that same day other disciples saw their Risen Savior…but only briefly.
He stopped by the Upper Room and gave a short speech and then disappeared. His speech had only 4 sentences: “My peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you shall retain are retained.” In the days that followed other disciples had brief glimpses of the Risen Lord. Peter and his fishing companions saw the miraculous catch of 153 fish. And seven disciples saw Jesus cooking fish on a charcoal fire on the seashore.
So where am I going with this picture of New Testament people getting a lightning quick glimpse of the Risen Lord? I want to say that each of us can get brief glimpses of our resurrected Savior. Not visual sightings but brief spiritual experiences of His resurrected presence in our lives.
We won’t see Him face like Mary Magdalene and the doubting Thomas and the other disciples; but we will experience Him heart to heart. We will find Him in His new home. Namely: in the hearts of His people. For example, yesterday I met someone who told me that she quit her job in the Cities and moved up here to care for her ailing brother. When she told me that story I could see the Spirit of Jesus living in her.
During Holy Week I saw a third grader passing out palms on Palm Sunday. And on Holy Thursday she came forward to have her feet washed when I asked for volunteers. And before the Easter Vigil she was passing out candles and on Easter Sunday she was handing out bulletins. Perhaps that is why Jesus said, “If you are looking for the Kingdom of Heaven, look to the children.” Look at their spirit of generosity and you will see the Kingdom of Heaven.
Last summer I saw a couple who said that they were celebrating their wedding anniversary. I said, “Would that be 60 years?” “No. 70 years.” They said. I saw the Spirit of Jesus in their relationship. 70 years of love in good times and in bad; in sickness and in health.
I will close with a very quick summary.
During the night, lightning will give you a quick glimpse of the trees on both sides of the road. In much the same way, during this Easter season, we can get brief glimpses of our resurrected Savior. Not visual sightings but brief spiritual experiences of His resurrected presence in our lives. We can experience Him heart to heart.