Tuesday, April 02, 2002


No one has ever found out at whose home or in which inn Jesus actually stayed from Easter Day until Ascension Day. Forty days or six weeks is a very long time for a person to hide his abode from his friends! Where was he? Why do the Gospels not tell us where he lodged? Why did no one ever ask?

Wait a minute! Are we thinking aright and are we asking the right questions?

Let us consider the nature of the Resurrection.

Jesus completed his saving work on the Cross and then he expired. His spirit left his earthly body and this scarred body was laid to rest in a tomb wrapped in linen cloths. Jesus as spirit was not extinguished nor was he separated from his Father. He proceeded to make a victory tour of the realms of the dead, proclaiming the victory of his cross to all who had died before he had died. And in this victory parade he descended to the depths of hell - as the Creed proclaims.

He descended as far as he could descend, that is as low as human beings and devils had gone due to their sins against God.

He descended to the depths in order to ascend to the heights (Philippians 2:5f.).

He was raised from the dead and the realms of the dead by the Father through the Holy Ghost. And his being raised was a complete exaltation from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven. This included the recover en route of his body (which was immortalised, supernaturalised and glorified in
recovery) so that he entered into heaven as the resurrected Lord Jesus in his glorified body and thus with his human nature intact and perfected and made permanently and wonderfully his for ever. And thus he began his reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords, our mighty Prophet, great High Priest and only Mediator as the One Person made known in two natures, human and divine.

From this invisible but very real and eternal world, the same Jesus made occasional visits to earth for 40 days, beginning on Easter Day morning to see his disciples, to teach them, to strengthen them, to prepare them for the mission to the world, and to assure them that would be with them always even unto the end of the age.

But in appearing to them (through locked doors and the like) he accommodated himself to their human situation so that the glory of his resurrection body was minimized by his omnipotence so as not to dazzle them, and the physical features were heightened by his graciousness in order to strengthen their faith.

He was exactly the same Jesus as they known before and on the Cross. His identity was the same and his identity had remained constant through death and burial and through the transformation of exaltation and glorification. Thus they could recognize his voice and his body when he accommodated himself to their human apprehension.

The appearance on the fortieth day is to be seen as a visible demonstration of the truth concerning him that he is the resurrected Lord who belongs to and comes to them from heaven. The entry into the cloud of glory, the Shekinah cloud known in OT times as the visible sign of the presence of the LORD himself, proclaims the truth that the Lord Jesus is with and in God the LORD for ever.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon Eastertide 2002

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