By David Faust
A child’s questions sound simple on the surface, but they raise challenging theological issues. Where does Jesus dwell? In Heaven, yes, at the right hand of the Father. And here on earth in the hearts of individual followers. And more broadly, in the church as a whole, which is his body. Wherever two or three gather in his name, he’s there in the midst of them—genuinely, but not visibly. The invisible part can be hard to explain.
The apostle Peter interacted with Jesus for more than three years. They walked, talked, and ate together. Peter knew the tone of Jesus’ voice, the subtle expressions on his face, the firmness of his handshake, the gestures he used when he taught the crowds. Years later Peter wrote a letter to encourage Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor who were being persecuted for their faith. Unlike the apostles, they hadn’t rubbed shoulders with Jesus. But Peter insisted, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).
How can we love Jesus when we haven’t seen him? How is it possible to rejoice because of someone we never have seen?
What We Can See
Although we haven’t encountered Jesus’ physical presence firsthand, he is recognizable to those with open eyes.
We can see the testimony of Scripture about Jesus. His unparalleled personality shines through the Gospels, written by eyewitnesses who were guided by the Holy Spirit. Scripture shows us Jesus’ wise words, his sacrificial love, and his miraculous power. By reading the Bible we perceive that “‘he himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24) and “he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection . . . from the dead” (1:3).
We can see the result of Christ’s influence. Nature displays his handiwork. And how impoverished would our world be without the schools, hospitals, children’s homes, counseling centers, and mission works established in his name? Libraries and museums display fine art and literature inspired by faith in the Son of God. Much of the greatest music ever composed was created to honor him. We can see Christ in others who live by faith and die with hope because he dwells in their hearts.
What We Will See
The apostle John called Jesus the Word of life, “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched” (1 John 1:1).
We didn’t receive the privilege of observing Jesus firsthand in the first century, but John offered this assurance: “When Christ appears . . . we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The day is coming when we will behold the Lord we love; indeed “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7).
Now in his 30s, my son is an inner city minister who serves with the poor, the sick, and the broken. Each week Matt visits prisoners at a local correctional center, and he has baptized several of them. You can sum up his ministry in a single sentence: He helps people see Jesus.
1. Where do you see Jesus at work in your life?
2. What causes you to love the Lord, even though you don’t see him physically?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for October 19, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
1 Peter 1:1–9
1 Peter 1:10–16
1 Peter 1:17–25
1 Peter 2:1–8
Song of Solomon 1
1 Peter 2:9–17
Song of Solomon 2
Jeremiah 47, 48
1 Peter 2:18–25
Song of Solomon 3