Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON’T
"Brother Lovett, when Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room, did He walk through the walls? What really happened there?"
It's Easter Sunday. The city of Jerusalem is shaken by a startling rumor. Someone reported seeing Jesus ALIVE. And now ten of the Lord's apostles gather in the same upper room where they had kept the Passover with Him. The doors were locked, "for fear of the Jews" (John 20:19).
As they huddled in secret, suddenly JESUS APPEARED in their midst. He did not enter by the door, nor pass through the walls. He just popped up among them. They probably were startled and a bit terrified. To calm their fears, Jesus said "Peace be with you." Then He showed them His hands and his side. The Greek text says, "They were OVERJOYED when they saw the Lord!" (John 20:20).
THOMAS WASN'T THERE
The other disciples loved Thomas and wanting to get the news to him, searched for him. They exclaimed once they located him, "We have seen the Lord!” But he said to him, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
A week passes. The following Sunday the disciples gather once more in the upper room and this time Thomas is with them. Aware of Thomas' demand, the Lord does a repeat performance. So again, with the door locked, the disciples huddle together. Suddenly, there HE is in their midst once more. Thomas' doubts come face to face with the truth.
This second appearance is just for Thomas. The Lord wants ALL of His disciples settled in the faith, inasmuch as they are going to be the pioneers of the gospel, building His church. The Lord reaches out to him. "Give Me your hand.” Jesus tenderly guides Thomas' finger into the nail prints and His side. "Stop this doubting Thomas and believe" (John 20:27 my paraphrase).
Thomas's faith explodes. In a flash he is on his knees before Jesus, exclaiming "My Lord and my God!" His faith is now settled for sure.
The Lord purposely returned when Thomas was present to drive home a huge truth. There is something He wants to burn into their hearts and ours too. It comes out as He speaks to Thomas:
"It's great that you can worship Me for Who I am. You're now locked into your faith, BECAUSE YOU'VE SEEN ME. But blessed are those who've NEVER SEEN ME yet are just as locked in as you are!" (John 20:29, my paraphrase).
Jesus is thinking of PENTECOST and beyond when He will return in the Spirit to indwell believers. He is looking down through the centuries when people would commit themselves to Him, because of the INNER EVIDENCE of the Spirit in their hearts. He was referring to you and me and the Spirit's witness inside of us. We have never seen Jesus physically, yet we believe in Him just as surely as did Thomas.
That is the BIG lesson.
THEN JESUS DISAPPEARED
JESUS' DISAPPEARANCES are just as significant as His appearances. After teaching His disciples, He did not go over to the door and walk out. He VANISHED from their midst, just as He had appeared.
See how this works. Go to your light switch. We are assuming it's night and dark outside. "Click." Instantly the room is dark. Where did the light go? It disappeared. "Click." There is light again. That is the way Jesus got around after His resurrection. He did not travel from one place to another. He simply appeared wherever He wished to be and then disappeared.
During the 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared and disappeared again and again. This was not to be sensational; it was a teaching technique. Our Lord was an incredible teacher. He was trying to get His disciples USED TO THE IDEA that even though He was absent from view--HE WAS STILL ALIVE. By way of His frequent appearances and disappearances, He was teaching them, BY DRAMA, to live by faith in the fact that He was alive. He was preparing them for the day when He would leave them for the last time.
He had a job for them (and us) that required them to KNOW He was alive, even though they could not see Him in the flesh. And He kept this up until their conviction was solid.
JESUS' LAST DISAPPEARANCE
Jesus gathered His disciples together one last time—but not in the upper room. He led them out of Jerusalem to a mountain in Bethany (Luke 24:50). There He gave them their commission. As He finished speaking, He slowly BEGAN TO RISE. This was no INSTANT disappearance. This time it was done in SLOW MOTION. While they watched, He rose higher and higher until He entered a cloud (Acts 1:9). Once inside the cloud, there was no point in going further, so He shifted to the spirit realm.
WHAT ABOUT THAT CLOUD?
One of these days, the earth will quiver under an ear-splitting blast from the sky! As people turn their eyes skyward, they will behold a CLOUD! That cloud reveals it is a CLOUD OF PEOPLE, with Jesus at the center. You and I will be in that cloud for this is Jesus returning with ALL HIS SAINTS! (1 Thess. 3:13; 4:17). What a sight! A full-color spectacle such as the world has never seen.
But did you know that cloud is the NEXT SIGN this world is going to see? This is the "SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN" in heaven (Matt. 24:30). The world was given ONE SIGN as Jesus CAME UP from the grave — His resurrection. That was to help people believe in Him. The NEXT SIGN, the last one, will see Jesus COMING DOWN from heaven — His return. That sign means: IT IS TOO LATE! Anyone on the ground seeing that sign has missed the boat and is not in the cloud that is made up of ALL OF JESUS' SAINTS. Even that cloud is going to be AN APPEARANCE! For it will flash into the sky like lightning (Matt. 24:27).
ISN'T THAT FASCINATING?
I have answered the question about Jesus' appearances to His disciples. Does it whet your appetite for more exciting truths in God’s Word? Then spend time reading your Bible and these truths will reveal the Word in your heart. When that happens, you will be ready for the cloud in the sky and for. . .
JESUS' NEXT APPEARANCE!
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2021 Personal Christianity
SINCE YOU ASKED
Question: “In view of all that is happening in the Mideast, is a permanent peace at all possible between the Arabs and the Jewish people?”
Answer: In my opinion, NO. The Arabs made no secret of their desire and intentions to drive Israel into the sea. They feel the land is theirs by right of possession since they were in the land before the Jews began their return. Their hatred for the Jews goes way back to the time when Ishmael and Isaac were born. Ishmael, while born of Sarah’s maid, was nonetheless the first-born son of Abraham. But they make no claim on that basis since Isaac was chosen to be Abraham’s heir.
The Jews, on the other hand, can look at the land as their God-given homeland. The gift dates back to the day God made a covenant with Abraham, giving to him and his descendants this land as a permanent possession (Gen. 15:18). The Jewish people made no public fuss over the land on that basis, but the record is right there in Genesis. Stated or not, this is at the root of the hatred between Israel and the Palestinians we see today.
The day is coming when God will use a world leader to kick the Arabs out of that land, but that is a matter of prophecy.
PRACTICAL HELP: “I have read many Christian books that were supposed to give help in understanding and living Bible truths, but none has given me the beautiful and practical help as do your books. Never have I found books that made the answers so easy to understand. If I had been introduced to your work years ago, my walk with Christ would have been a lot easier and more joyful. I am recommending your books to everyone, especially the new ones in the Lord. Thank you in Jesus’ name!” (Mrs. I.P.—CO)
IMPACT ON LIFE: “Dr. Lovett, over the years I’ve purchased almost all your books. What a source of inspiration and impact on my life. Every trauma in my life has resulted in spiritual growth, because of the insights gained through your books. What a help your ministry is to the growing Christian. God bless you for the help you’ve given me!” (Mrs. D.V.—MN)
A VICTORY NOTEBOOK: “I am a Christian counselor and recently God brought a client to me whose son is the victim of ritualistic Satanic abuse. That brought about my concern to learn about Satan. Hence, your book DEALING WITH THE DEVIL was given to me by a friend. WOW! I now see why my own personal victories have been weak. I now have a victory notebook. I have allowed Satan to make me think negative thoughts and from all this negative power comes a myriad of sinful actions. Thanks to God for putting your book in my way.” (L.W.—IN)
WITNESSING MADE EASY (2019 edition) helps motivate you to get out of your comfort zone in small easy steps such as leaving a Gospel tract in a locked restroom and then progresses gradually to handing a tract to someone with easy dialog suggestions. It also includes ideas for using your computer as a witnessing tool as well. Discover the thrill of sharing the Gospel with others in non-threatening ways. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $14.99 HERE.
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL has been updated and revised (2018 edition) for today’s readers. Are you tired of having Satan put dreadful things into your mind? Does he ever make you worry or get upset? Have you noticed his stepped-up activity in your life? Dr. Lovett’s best-selling book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99 HERE.
THE PREPARED LIFE book is a valuable resource for you and your family that can help you be prepared to deal with today’s problems and end-times events. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 HERE.
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