Text: Luke 24:1-12
King Solomon the wisest and richest man who ever lived, in all his wisdom failed to grasp the fundamental truth about God when he asked the question:
“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built 2 Chronicles 6:18
Is it true that Jesus is here among us? The answer is a binary one ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Both are true. He is among us but more than that, He is in us.
Jesus introduced profound changes to how we view God. He brought God near. To Jews who knew a distant unapproachable God, Jesus brought the message that God cares for the grass of the field, feeds the sparrows, numbers the hairs on a person’s head.
To Jews who dared not pronounce the name, Jesus brought the shocking intimacy of the Aramaic word ‘Abba’. It was a familiar term of family affection, like daddy the first word many children spoke.
Before Jesus, no one would have thought to apply such a word to Yahweh, the sovereign Lord of the universe.
But after Him it became a standard way of addressing God even in Greek speaking congregations, imitating Jesus they borrowed the foreign word to express their own intimacy with the Father. – With this new revelation and understanding that He is Here, present among them.
We know God as Abba the loving Father, only because of Jesus.
If we consider the virgin birth, it is more than just a Christmas story it is a picture of how close Christ will come to us. The first stop in His journey to us was a woman’s womb.
If we want to know how far God will go in order to connect with us we can look in part to Mary and her humanity for the answer.
Even better, we can look within ourselves. Because what God offered to Mary, He offers to us an invitation to all who become followers of Christ that: ‘If you’ll let me, I’ll move in’
Throughout the whole of the N.T. is a preposition that leaves us in no doubt, the preposition is the word ‘in’ Jesus lives ‘in’ His children.
To His disciples Christ declared I am in you John 14:20 ‘In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you.’
The apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was ‘…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love…’ Ephesians 3:17
Indeed the mystery of the gospel is ‘…Christ in you the Hope of glory.’ Colossians 1:27
The apostle John was clear ‘Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us by the Spirit whom He has given us.’ 1 John 3:24
And here is possibly the best invitation of all Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
We like Mary, if Christ is in us will have no choice and no option but to deliver and bring Christ into the world. Like Mary we present Christ ‘He is here’
But He is in us. We are more than a modern day Mary because whereas He was a fetus in her, He is a force in us by His Spirit. He will do for us what we cannot do of ourselves.
He is here present in life’s circumstance. He hears, heals, helpsand hedges us in Himself because He is here.
Jesus is not a dead God but an Easter God and so this is not a dead faith. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, Luke 24:5b -6
Jesus is radically different to anyone else who has ever lived. There are those who have been examples of living but Jesus is the life itself. It would be easier for us all, if God had given us a set of ideas to think over and kick around and decide whether to accept or reject. But He didn’t, He gave us Himself in the form of the person Jesus the Christ.
Jesus, pointed to the father and said “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.’’ John 14:6
In this story of a present tense God, every believer is passive because God has done everything.
God experienced what it is like to be a human being. In 33 years on earth God’s son learned about poverty, about family arguments, social rejection, verbal abuse and betrayal.
He learned as well about pain. What it feels like to have an accuser leave the red imprint of his fingers on your face.
What it feels like to have a whip studded with metal shards lashed across His back.
What it feels like to have a crude iron spike hammered through muscle, tendon and bone. He learned all that, so that he could be here with us.