‘Neath a blanket of sleep.
Dawning from night’s deep.
Today is the one
Waiting for the rise
Of the Son,
“What think ye of Christ?”
My friend recounted an interesting experience. His daughter was dating a young man who, for some reason, was interested enough to listen to some missionaries and their message. At one point, he asked, “Who is this ‘Savior’ you keep referring to?” He had never made the connection that the “Savior” was “Jesus Christ”.
Who is Jesus Christ to you? What’s your understanding of who He is? April carries with it an interesting Christian tradition…the Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Why or how it got mixed with the tradition of eggs and rabbits, I’m not sure…but that’s not the tradition I wish to speak of now.) For many, Easter is just another commercial holiday in the tradition of monthly holidays. For many Christians, it’s just another Christian Tradition. But for some, it’s a special Sabbath…a time to reconnect oneself to Christ, to revisit that relationship we’re supposed to have…with Him. A renewal of my relationship…with Christ.
So…how are we doing?
One of the great miracles of Easter is not only that Christ rose from the dead (which, by itself, is Terrific!) but that He would allow others to see Him…risen from the dead. The resurrection wasn’t a personal secret hidden from the world. It was made public. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, the woman at the Tomb. He showed himself to the Apostles. He showed himself to some men walking on the road to Emmaus. He showed himself to some 500 people before ascending to heaven. He even showed himself to “other sheep” which were not in Jerusalem (link). We are not kept from that very knowledge.
But what about us? How come He hasn’t shown himself to us? Aren’t those just stories? Myths? Perhaps. Some day, though, we’ll have to face the question…”Are you willing to believe it anyway?” That, my friend, is FAITH…trusting in something you cannot see…but is true. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s not a belief in something we know isn’t true. For, as Christ said, blessed are those who haven’t seen, and still believe. (link) Perhaps, the miracle of “not seeing” is having an increase in the Sight of Faith…with a promise that, yes, in time, you will see Him, too!
If Christ appeared to us…right now…how would we respond/act?
Are we ready to see Him? This would indicate our current relationship with him.
- Do I see him as a fictional person, a figment of someone’s…some people’s… imagination, the result of a frenzied mindset? If so, would I be SHOCKED if He appeared right now? Would I be paralyzed?
- Do I see him as some Distant God…someone so far away, so uninvolved, so removed from my life. Why would He even care to see me? Why should I care to come to Him?
- Would I see him as some Great Judge…knowing and realizing that I had not been obedient, that I had been rebellious, that I was not humble and repentant, that I didn’t take care of the business that I needed to take care of…by procrastinating the day of Changing my Heart? If so, I have every incentive to duck and hide in shame and embarrassment. I wouldn’t want Him to see me…because I’d finally realize my foolishness, I’d realize that I didn’t really trust him.
- Would I see Him as someone or something amazing, a Creator God…as if I’ve never really seen something like that before…and would I just be amazed—standing from afar, unfamiliar with who He really is?
- How about as my Teacher ? I would probably want to be a bit closer because I have more respect for Him. I’d be grateful to have been taught by him, but not really have a close connection. I’d probably want to inch closer to see him…but I wouldn’t be standing too close. Kind of like adoring Him from not too far away….
- How about as a Friend….where the ties are much closer. Friends can talk to each other, share moments of joy or sadness, and give encouragement. I’ve prayed for help many times, and He’s helped me from time to time. Friends are eager to see each other…especially good friends. I’d probably run eagerly to meet him and want to give him a hug.
- How about as a Brother…..where ties are eternal. Somehow, when you’re family…it’s not the same as when you’re friends. When you’re friends, you know that they’re not always there with you…but when you’re a loving family…you know, at the end of the day, they’re always there. And if that love between family is great…and my love for my Brother is great, and His love for me is great….suddenly, the feeling is not just an eagerness to be together…but a longing to be together. And when we see who it is, we long to run to greet Him….and embrace Him…..and when we know that not only is He our Brother…but our Brother who died for you, for me, our Brother who saved us from individual peril, our Brother who was punished for every bad thing that you and I did…..then, would you not kneel in gratitude? Would you not cry as you knelt at His feet knowing full well that here He is, standing before you, the One who saved you?
How do I pray?
Do I pray casually? Or are my prayers deep, intent, sincere? Have I recognized how He speaks to me (much like how Mary Magdalene did after He spoke to her.) Do I know of Him….or do I know Him?
How do you know?
You may say that you know Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ loves you….but I ask, “How?” How do you know that He does? What is your personal evidence that tells you He has manifested His love to you personally? What is your witness…what have you witnessed? Has He shown you that He loves you more than once? Even more importantly, have you recognized that it was Him? What has told you about the kind of person either Heavenly Father or Jesus is (because if ye have seen the Son, ye have seen the Father)?
If Christ appeared now….would I recognize Him?
Jesus Christ was born to a people that was looking for him, waiting for him for the longest time. And as he grew up, as he served among them during his ministry, the majority of the people could not…and would not…see him for who He truly was: the Son…of God. There were a few who did, and they were the ones who followed Him and learned at His feet.
What about us?
- Would I recognize Him by the way He treated people…by the way He treats me?…because through my daily interactions with Him I would have already known how He treats me…long before seeing Him in person.
- Would I recognize the love that I feel from Him, now that He’s here, as the same love I’ve felt during my moments of trial or during my prayers…before He came?
- Have I felt His love/concern for me during different times in my life….could I recognize those times and truly say that, yes!, I have felt Christ’s love for me…that I knew that this person, that event, this feeling, that thought, this help, that inspiration, or this witness…came from Him…because He was concerned about me?
- Have I repented of my sins, changed my ways, and become humble and sincere in my intents and actions, even Pure… and purified by the Spirit…so that I can actually see Him…because He IS pure. (Like begets like. Blessed are the pure in heart…for they shall see God)
Do I have faith in Christ?
Do I understand what “faith in Christ” really is? Thomas, the Apostle we know as “Doubting Thomas”, thought he had faith in Christ…until Christ died…and then he couldn’t believe it when he was told that Christ rose from the dead and that others had seen Him. He would not believe it until he saw for himself.
Am I willing to believe…even without seeing? Am I willing to trust Him, even without knowing what may happen in a future of uncertainty? Peter had faith in Christ and even started walking on water…but when the waves of turbulence and uncertainty crashed around him, he began to sink. When things seem to spiral out of control around us…do we keep our eye to Christ and His ways and teachings, believing that we can still do the unthinkable, the seemingly impossible tasks? Are we willing to? Are we ready to face the waves of tribulation, of persecution, of uncertainty, of seeming impossibility…with full faith in Christ…even without seeing Him right now….trusting Him that He will keep His promise in bearing us up even amidst the trials, the hard times, the commotions around us?
How am I living now to prepare myself to see Him?
- Do we see the hand of the Lord in our lives? “How could we hope to see His face if we never could see His hand?”
- Do we hear His voice through the scriptures and the Spirit? Have we listened and given heed?
- Can I recognize those who pose/claim to be a “savior”, to be the only solution to whatever problems we may face? These are the anti-Christs as explained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Would not the greatest anti-Christ imitate the real Christ…so closely that if we’re not careful, we may also be deceived? Even Moses was confronted by the Great Deceiver and was commanded to worship him…but Moses knew otherwise and didn’t. Why? Because he was familiar with who Christ was! He knew Christ…and any other claim was just an impostor. Are we familiar with who Christ is that we can sift out the impostors (worldly and spiritual)?
Wait for It
My dear friends, we have some time. He’s not here yet. And we don’t know when it’ll happen. But when He does come, I want to be found doing what I’m supposed to be doing, helping who I’m supposed to be helping, striving to be the kind of person I need to be.
I want to be ready…for His coming.
I want all of us to be ready…when the Son rises…to meet us again. And that truly will be a Beautful Day!