Text: Luke 24:36-43, 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12, HCSB
Have you ever seen a ghost?
I have, um, definitely not. We live in a very physical world. We, in a way that is different from the ancients and medievals, think of the physical world as the only part of the world worth mentioning. I mean, how much would you judge me if I told you I had seen a ghost? I’m not saying it’s not possible, but I reckon you would make a mental note to take me less seriously in the future.
But I am with Shakespeare’s Hamlet when he says, “There is more in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” He means that even if I don’t understand everything with my fancy rational mind, I acknowledge that I am small and there is a spiritual world I cannot fully comprehend.
So, when the disciples see Jesus and think: GHOST, it reminds me how they felt the texture of the spiritual element of the world in a very different way than I do. The ancient mind was more closely tuned to the spiritual; they saw colors, and stars, and water as indicators of spiritual realities. We, instead, see colors as reflected light on the spectrum, stars as gassy balls, and water as H2O.
Anyway, these guys—these spiritual guys who had seen miracles and walked with Jesus, these guys who Jesus had told He was coming back—they were “terrified” (verse 37). And remember that when the Lord (or an angel) appears to folks in the Bible, the first thing He says is often, “Do not be afraid!” (Genesis 15:1, Matt 14:27). We are simple and focused on the physical, and when humans are confronted with spiritual forces meeting the physical— it’s scary.
Jesus is where heaven and earth literally meet.
It’s astonishing. It was more than the disciples could handle. It’s more than we can handle. It’s true and it’s a mystery. Jesus is fully God and fully man. It blows my tiny mind.
But Jesus tenderly makes provisions for their terror and their doubt and invites them to touch Him and calm their fears. The awesome God-Man loves and cares for us.
Jesus fully understands both the physical and the spiritual worlds. He knows we only see dimly now and will not see clearly until we are face to face with Him in Glory. He is our bridge and connection. It is a beautiful mystery.