I often spend a lot of time reminding my people that Jesus’ resurrection is a historical and verifiable event. It happened. Too many people saw it and witnessed it. No one ever found a body or even a secret grave with Jesus’ name. Jesus’ life and death are indisputable, and the only thing stopping the skeptic from believing He rose is that the feat can’t be duplicated. As I tell my school kids and confirmands, believing Jesus died and rose for you is harder than knowing that He died and rose.
While Jesus’ resurrection did not require a witness, it happened. No one simply saw Jesus walking around by chance. No one saw him on purpose or by accident. He appeared to whom He chose. Even when people saw Him, they didn’t see Him until He allowed them. His words revealed Him to them. From the entering of the locked room to the road to Emmaus, Jesus caused people to see Him before they saw Him.
Now, one could argue that this proves His resurrection wasn’t necessarily real but spiritual. But is it that crazy to not be able to see something standing right in front of you? We fail to see things all the time; like I fail to see my keys, glasses, and my sock’s twin. We see what we want to see. As Werner Heisenberg said, “We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”
Our myopic vision is ultimately the result of Adam’s fall and our continue love of falling. Not only are our senses broken since sin came into the world, but our inward bent inclinations don’t help much either. We only see what we want to see. We think we can be empirical, yet look how easily our brilliant minds are warped by words and ridiculous narratives. The Germans were trained to see Jews as rats and themselves as the Darwinian future. Young people convince themselves to think they are obese when they are deathly skinny. Whole societies can invent realities that have no basis in evidence; such as our current obsession with transgenderism, mulit-genders and multi sexualities. And you probably have your own stories of convincing yourself something is true when it is not; messed up relationships, addictions, general self-righteousness.
How could anyone possibly see something as insane as a crucified man walking around in perfect health? We have come to believe death is a part of life, even though we know deep down it is disgusting. We can’t see God unless He causes us to see Him. We can’t hear, “you are forgiven,” unless He causes us to hear it. We can’t see a resurrected Jesus unless He causes us to see Him. In fact, Jesus says you have to be born all over again. We are all born blind and believing in a generally false narrative either revolving around ourself as the hero or the enemy.
When Thomas said he didn’t trust his friends witness but required to see Jesus himself, the answer was not seeing Jesus, it was Jesus. Thomas didn’t believe because he saw. He believed because Jesus opened his eyes. Jesus then began the opening of eyes through the witness of His discourse by saying, “blessed are those who believe but don’t see.” He wasn’t saying that they were better than Thomas. Jesus blessed us with the ability to see Him through the words of His church. It was no more easier to believe Jesus rose for those standing right in front of Him than it is us. We all need Jesus to open our eyes and truly see Him, truly hear forgiveness, let alone to see ourselves as saints and the future as glorious.
Open our eyes Lord.
He does. Through His preachers, using His Word, Jesus breathes on our dead illusions, dead-end narratives, and blind eyes. Through His Word spoken by His ambassadors, He appears in our locked dark rooms and says “Peace be with you.”