John 14:19 NIV “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
Acts 1:9 NIV. “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.“
The Apostles and disciples of Jesus got to see and hear and talk with Jesus during His ministry. They saw Him die on the cross and they saw Him reappear a number of times after He rose from the dead on the third day, for a period of 40 days.
But then He was gone.
I don’t know about you but I often try to put myself in their shoes, imagine what thoughts went through their minds, imagine the emotions that they must have experienced, especially as the time from the ascension of Jesus grew longer. Days became weeks, weeks became months and months became years. I’m sure that they missed being able to see Jesus. I’m sure that they missed being able to speak directly with Him and I am sure that they longed to be in His presence again.
I’ve often thought that it would have been easier for them to believe in Him than it is for us because they actually saw and heard what we only read about. But, I’ve begun to have second thoughts about that. In some ways, it could, in fact, have been harder for them.
When I served in the Canadian military, there were periods of time that I was separated from my wife and children for considerable amounts of time. We’re talking about months on end. It’s difficult, really difficult, to be separated from those that you love. I longed to be near them again, I longed to hold them in my arms. And even though that was hard, I knew that in a few months, I would actually see them again.
Yet when Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostles and disciples knew that they probably weren’t going to see Him again, not like they had before, not on this side of eternity. And they loved Jesus, one cannot help but see that. We can read about the Church in Jerusalem, we can read about the churches that grew up among the Gentiles, how they made mistakes and how they flourished.
Peter crosses my mind a lot of times. We know how he loved Jesus. And I am mindful of how when Jesus was arrested, Peter alone went into the courtyard where they were holding Jesus and watched from a distance. Sure, Peter denied knowing Jesus but he did go into the courtyard. We don’t read of anyone else doing that. Fearful, yes, but his fear did not stop him from going into the courtyard. We’ve all been there, having one foot on different sides of the fence. You just have to love Peter.
And we know that when the Holy Spirit fell on them and empowered them, Peter was once again, right at the forefront. But time marches on, days become weeks, weeks months and months years. It would have been hard not to see Jesus, not to be able to touch Him or hear His voice. They had a reference point that you and I don’t have. It could have been more difficult, not easier.
I don’t know about you but if there is such a thing as reruns in heaven, I want to see it all. I want to hear their conversations, I want to feel what they felt. Somehow I believe that will be available to us or we will know. So much happened that we know so little about. Peter was just like you and I. They all were. And when all is said and done, they too had a hope, just like you and I.
This physical world that we live in, these physical things that we can see and touch, are not the only reality. Jesus showed us that, He actually proved it via His resurrection. And Jesus taught us about the Father, how He is Spirit and holy and merciful and just. I love how God’s Holy Spirit makes Jesus real to me. How He can pull at my heart, how He gently guides me and let’s me know that we are one. But I still long to see Him, to touch Him and hear His voice.
There are times when I don’t want to focus on the physical, when I don’t want to go through the mundane things that we all have to go through, eating, cleaning, sleeping, going from place to place, dealing with my own shortfalls or the shortfalls of others. As amazing as this life that has been given to us is, I long to be free of me and to be home with Jesus. And I want my loved ones to be with me, my immediate family, and my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Yet, I am grateful, grateful that I can see what I cannot see, hear what I cannot hear and be touched where I cannot touch. To experience love, forgiveness, mercy, joy, and the wonder of God’s reality is something that is hard to put into words. Even in all this darkness there is God’s light, even in all this hatred there is still God’s love and even in all this brokenness, there is forgiveness and healing available, through God’s Son, Jesus the Christ. All because of our Holy Heavenly Father. God is real.
Time, precious time, that we think we have so much of, and how quickly it passes away.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!