A Tangible Faith
He Is Risen!!
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” “ John 20:27-28
I watched the movie, Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle, the other night. If you aren’t familiar with the Jumanji movies, the basic idea is that instead of just playing a fantasy game, the Jumanji game actually pulls people into the game and they physically experience the game. In the case of this latest movie, the characters of the movie are pulled into a video game, where they physically have to complete the game to make it home.
I’ve played my share of video games over the years and, while I have enjoyed it, there’s something lacking. It isn’t real. I’m pushing buttons or hitting keys on a keyboard. I’m not actually running through a jungle or flying a jet. I don’t actually have to know Jiu-Jitsu. No matter how good the graphics or interfaces are, games aren’t real. That’s the appeal of the Jumanji films. What if the game was physically real?
When we say, “He is Risen!” we aren’t just saying Jesus spirit is alive or Jesus is alive in Heaven. We are saying the Jesus literally, physically rose from the dead. Jesus appeared to His followers several times and He made a point to show them that He was really, physically risen. He spoke with them (Luke 24:13-35, John 20:19-23, etc.). They saw Him ( John 20:19-23, Matthew 28:16-17, etc.). He ate with them (Luke 24:42). They touched Him (John 20:24-29). For many of Jesus’ disciples, seeing that Jesus was physically risen helped them to believe. It made it real to them. The Bible tells us that when the women reported Jesus resurrection, the disciples didn’t believe them. It wasn’t until He was in the room with them or, in the case of Thomas, they actually touched Jesus, that they believed.
Even today, God still gives us physical ways of experiencing Him. We don’t just speak of the Word in the church, but Word and Sacrament. He gives us His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper that we physically eat. He washes us with the waters of baptism. We get wet! These are tangible sacraments that God has given us. We can feel them. Why did God do this? I think that at least one reason is because the one who created us knows that things become more real to us when we can touch them. When doubt starts to creep in, we can say, we tasted the supper and felt the waters, and believe.