Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Resurrection Appearances

"Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them." (John 20:26) This is the way John describes Jesus' appearance to the disciples Easter evening and a week later. I used to think that the risen body of Jesus was so changed that it would pass through the closed doors. As I meditated on this passage yesterday and today, I found myself thinking that the Risen Jesus passed from the heavenly dimension into the earthly dimension.
I looked back through the pictures I took in the Holy Land to find this one of a grove in Capernaum, the city in Galilee where Jesus lived. I remember thinking, when I took it, that Jesus might have gathered there with his friends, just as the people in the picture. If time is simply another dimension, I imagined that Jesus and his friends were still there in that other dimension. If I had a way into the dimension of time, I could be there in the grove with them. Standing exactly where I was, I would be back 2,000 years.
Decades of reading science fiction and seeing movies about time travel are what prompt these thoughts.
While we will never completely understand what the resurrection appearances were like, I am finding it helpful to think of Jesus moving back and forth between a heavenly dimension, similar to the dimension of time, and our earthly dimension. I think of the heavenly dimension as entirely God, the Spirit of Love. When Jesus dies and rises his human body and soul passes into God. For some time after that, the Risen Jesus occasionally passes back into this dimension where his followers can really see and experience him. He's not passing through doors; he's passing from one dimension to another.
Our human concepts will never be adequate to the reality of the resurrection appearances, but I am finding this dimensional way of thinking about them very helpful, especially in my prayer.

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