Wednesday, May 28, 2014

For His Eyes Only

I've come to accept that there are some things about God that I just won't get in this life. I won't get to understand the Trinity. I won't comprehend the real nature of love. I won't even get to know whether God really cares whether we dunk or sprinkle. But it never occurred to me until recently just how much Christ invested in His relationship with His Father, a relationship from which we are pretty much excluded. 

Oh He tells us about it, all right.
I and the Father are One.--John 10:30
...just as you are in me, Father, and I in you...John 17:21
In fact, He uses it as an example of the closeness He wants to share with us. But He also makes it clear that we're not there yet. What He has with His Father is something very special, very different, and we are, by its very nature, left out of some stuff.  After all, they are both GOD, and we're not.

Nowhere did this seem so obvious as when I realized during this Easter season (head slap) that Jesus rose from the dead in the presence of God His Father alone. Nobody else was around--not His best friends, not the women who loved and served Him, not the Pharisees, not Pilate and his government officials, not even a passing shepherd or centurion. Nobody.

What gives with that, I wondered? Where was everybody? I mean, this was the single most important thing Jesus did. Lots of people die, but HE ROSE! Only Him!

And then I started to get it.

Jesus became a man, and the most of what we can grasp about Him is connected with Him as man, not with Him as God. We understand love as human beings, the same way we understand obedience, charity, worship, prayer, and everything else. We don't know the first thing about being God. Jesus shared the God-part of Himself with His Father alone. It had to be that way. 

Why do you think He was always going off alone to pray? When He was alone with His Father, He could be Himself--fully God and fully man.  Only once did He share that with anyone human:
Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John...and let them up to a high mountain by themselves.  There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.--Matthew 17:1-2

THAT's who Jesus really was. And it freaked them out. They right away wanted to start a building project, right there on the top of the mountain. They didn't get that Jesus. And if they, who knew the man Jesus better than anyone, failed so miserably to assimilate that little display, think what they would have done if Jesus had arranged they be there when He walked out of His grave, looking for all this sad world like His true self.
"C'mon, guys. Meet at the gravesite just after midnight. I've got a surprise for you..."
Not hardly.
After Friday, they'd already had as much as they could take. They were long gone.

No, this moment, like some of the most important moments in our own lives, was too intimate to share. After all, we do the same thing in our own lives. The consummation of marriage, often the birth of a child, and often, too, our first real glimpse of God--they all occur away from prying eyes. We treasure them for this. No one knows, and they don't need to. We might share the fruit of those moments, or some of the less private parts, but when hushed privacy cloaks a special moment, it becomes a sacred touchstone and in that context, Jesus reserving the holy moment of rising for His Father alone makes perfect sense.

We get to share the result, though, and to that end, Jesus' arms are wide open, filled with the fruit of His dying and rising. We don't need to see it. We get to know it. And He did not withhold any part of that experience. He lets us touch the holes in His hands and feet. He lets us eat with Him. He walks with us on our own Emmaus road.

Lord of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ lives, and we are beckoned to join Him.
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.--Psalm 27:13


  1. It's true - the important things are always done alone before God. This is the example Jesus gave us.

    1. And yet, we are so often concerned about how we look to the world. Thanks, Laura.