This morning I was thinking about something that I had shared in church last Sunday. That it took Thomas placing his hand in Jesus' side to convince him that Jesus was actually standing there in front of him. Then I wondered why didn't Thomas recognize Him? Was there something about the appearance of Jesus that caused a mistaken identity? After all, they had spent lots of time together before He was crucified. He should have recognized Jesus' voice. And His face. And all of that. Wouldn't we recognize our loved ones if they came back from the dead? I know there have been times that I have longed to see my precious parents again. But if I could, would I recognize them?
Jesus was tortured and beaten through the crucifixion process. We know that. Bearing all of mankind's sins made His suffering grueling. No other human being ever, has suffered to the magnitude that Jesus had to. And Satan, knowing that this was going to change the course of history forever, that sin and death would be defeated, and that he would be cast into the lake of fire, was surely going to make sure Jesus paid for it. And God wasn't going to stop it either. In fact, when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?", and the sky turned black, I believe that He sensed that His Father had turned His back on Him at that moment. For two reasons. One is that all of our sins were on Jesus and because our Heavenly Father is Holy, He will not look at sin. Another reason is that the Father knew how much His Son was suffering, and He couldn't bear to see it. Nevertheless, nothing was going to stop God's love for us, and even allowing His only Son to suffer on that cross showed that God is in control. As we approach the end times, we need to be reminded of this.
For Thomas, maybe the last time he saw Jesus was on that cross. Maybe the image of His broken body was etched in his mind, and the former Jesus was a distant memory. If Thomas was able to see the scars in Jesus' hands and side, would he have also been able to see the marks of the whipping and lashing, and the holes on His head because of that cruel crown of thorns? To what extent was Jesus' image restored, to the point of being recognizable? The Bible doesn't say. We are only left to our imagination.
This brings me to a deeper question: Would you recognize Jesus if He came into your room? How well do you know Him? As I ask myself this question, I almost think that I would be like Thomas. I have developed for myself an image of Jesus, as everyone has. I think I know what He would look like, based on artists' renditions. I would see love in His eyes, and His mannerisms would reveal a tenderness of mercy and grace. I have formulated an image based on the collection of Scripture verses I have read and messages I have heard. But, how accurate can this be?
We exist in a physical realm, and our flesh rules. This is all we have ever known, and we base our thoughts and opinions on it. If we see it, it exists. That kind of thing. Thomas was using his physical senses to be convinced that Jesus was there. But there was more to Jesus than he realized. God is Spirit, and we find that hard to define. Being born again, allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of our heart, mind, soul and will, is the only way we can truly know Jesus. Our physical world is temporary. The spiritual, heavenly kingdom, is forever. The Bible tells us to worship God in spirit and in truth.
In essence, the only way we can truly recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior is through the Holy Spirit. The only way we can honestly know Him is through the Holy Spirit. And the only way we can acknowledge that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is through the Holy Spirit.
Precious Jesus, we want to know You.
We know that we need You.
And we ask You to reveal Yourself
to us through the Holy Spirit.
Open the eyes of our hearts to see you.
And to experience an intimacy with You
that will carry us into Your Kingdom.
We love You and thank You
for all that You went through,
to redeem us from our sins.
Let us be for Your Glory!