For the 40 days following Easter, Jesus made appearances at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Some are recorded for us in the Gospels; others are mentioned in the Epistles. Jesus likely appeared more often than was recorded. For instance, I often wonder why Lazarus, Mary and Martha are not mentioned again in New Testament literature after the great faith they showed by having dinner with Him near Holy Week, when Mary anointed his body with the costly perfume. They are strangely missing from the foot of the cross, but did they get a private resurrection visit? Jesus’ love and friendship with them was so strong.
The days following the Resurrection before Jesus ascended to heaven mirror my experiences with Jesus. Like the disciples and the women, I know He has risen; but I’m often surprised when I see Him showing up. I am aware that He told me that He would never leave me, but I wonder how many times I miss Him when He wants to show Himself or His work for me.
There is a spiritual discipline I practice called “I have seen the Lord.” It comes from the words of Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the risen Lord. These were the words she spoke to the disciples after she met Jesus in the garden as recorded in John 20:18,
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: I have seen the Lord! And she told them that he had said these things to her.
I write down in my journal any experience I have when I keenly feel that Jesus’ powerful moving in my life. One example of something I would write about is an experience where I felt that God had kept me safe from harm by avoiding a car accident. In that instance, I was leaving work on a particular night while it was dark when suddenly there was a car driving straight toward me on the wrong side of the median. I can’t really say how I got out of the way and avoided a head-on collision, but I did. My first reaction was to thank God for sparing me from harm. Later I wrote about that experience because I didn’t want to forget it. That was a time that I saw the Lord protecting me in a supernatural way. Other times I write about particular opportunities of ministry. I note the way God sends me just what I need to complete the tasks He assigns to me. I see Jesus appearing to me in the ministry and life experiences that He is very much a part of rather than a physical experience of His being before me.
I believe that there are some who do have experiences of seeing Jesus. Mother Teresa said that she saw Jesus on a train to a spiritual retreat and that He asked her to do the work she did for the poor. I hear about Muslims having dreams where Jesus comes to them and speaks to them about putting their faith in Him. I don’t expect to see the Lord in those ways. I understand they are unique and sacred moments for specific people. I do want to be more attentive to the times when I have seen the Lord show love through me that was only of Him or give love to me in a special way.
During the season of Lent I saw the Lord waking me early or drawing my attention to a sunset or sunrise—He knows how much I feel His presence when I observe His artwork in the sky. I encourage you to practice this spiritual discipline. Make a note of times that you see the Lord. He is resurrected and does continue to make appearances. Do you see them?