Mothers have been heard asking wayward children, "Would you do (or say) that if Jesus was here?" It is meant to cause self-disciplining. The same thought is used as comfort. "Jesus is with you."
This method of correcting and comforting may have been used so often that we treat it very casually. We are here, dealing with life and difficulties on this earth. It is easy to imagine Jesus, far away, in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God.
Is Jesus far away in heaven, or is he here? He said, "I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 20:28 How are we to understand that promise?
After his crucifixion, Jesus went about proving to his followers that there is wisdom in guiding our actions with the thought that he is here with us.
- After the crucifixion, the women went to the tomb where they met an angel. He told them "He is not here. He is risen, just as he said."
They met Jesus in a physical body outside the tomb. Matthew 28:6-10
- He appeared to Simon Peter. Luke 24:34
- He appeared to the eleven on the mountain. Matthew 28:16-17
- Later he appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table. Mark 16:14
- The disciples were assembled behind closed doors. Jesus came and stood among them. John 20:19-20
- He spoke to Thomas about his unbelief. John 20:26-29
- He appeared to Peter and to the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:5
- He was seen by five hundred brothers at once, many who were still alive at the writing of Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 15:6
- He was seen by his brother James. 1 Corinthians 15:7
- He was seen by the apostle Paul, when he didn't expect it because he didn't believe in Jesus. Acts 9:1-16, 1 Corinthians 15:8
Let's put ourselves in the place of those disciples. We saw Jesus crucified. We saw him die. We are going about our daily chores, possibly slipping back into some old habits. It had been wonderful following Jesus, but also stressful with the threats and opposition from those who didn't believe. Now he was gone. Then without warning, Jesus appears in the room, socializing with our friends or at the table sharing a meal with the family. It is his physical body, not a vision. I told you that I would rise. I told you there was more to life than you knew. I told you I would always be with you and would never leave you.
That promise was not only for his original disciples. It is for all believers of all time. His Spirit lives in each believer. He is with us always. He is with us as we go to work, as we play, as we talk to our friends and to those who are not friends. He is with us in our loneliness and our fear. He is with us in our troubles and our victories. His presence may cause us to govern our actions and words. His presence will always cause us to experience great joy and comfort.
I may not understand the 'how' of it but I will believe his promises. I'll make sure there is room for Jesus, as I go about my daily routine. I'll set an extra place at the table and remember he is in on every conversation.
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