. The Real Christ...
The relevance of all this is that Jesus Christ is the same today as He was yesterday. The Jesus of history is the Christ of faith. The same Jesus who went into Heaven will so come again in like manner (Acts 1:11). The record three times says the same thing. The “like manner” in which the Lord will return doesn’t necessarily refer to the way He gradually ascended up in to the sky, in full view of the gazing disciples. He was to return in the “like manner” to what they had seen. Yet neither those disciples nor the majority of the Lord’s people will literally see Him descending through the clouds at His return- for they will be dead. But we will ‘see’ Him at His return “in like manner” as He was when on earth. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Jesus who loved little children and wept over Jerusalem's self-righteous religious leaders, so desirous of their salvation, is the One who today mediates our prayers and tomorrow will confront us at judgment day. Perhaps the Lord called the disciples His “brethren” straight after His resurrection in order to emphasize that He, the resurrected Man and Son of God, was eager to renew His relationships with those He had known in the flesh. It’s as if He didn’t want them to think that somehow, everything had changed. Indeed, He stresses to them that their Father is His Father, and their God is His God (Jn. 20:18). He appears to be alluding here to Ruth 1:16 LXX. Here, Ruth is urged to remain behind in Moab [cp. Mary urging Jesus?], but she says she will come with her mother in law, even though she is of a different people, and “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God”. This allusion would therefore be saying: ‘OK I am of a different people to you now, but that doesn’t essentially affect our relationship; I so love you, I will always stick with you wherever, and my God is your God’.
And there’s another rather nice indicator of the Lord’s conscious effort to show His ‘humanity’ even after His resurrection. It’s in the way the risen Lord calls out to the disciples at the lake, calling them “lads” (Jn. 21:5). The Greek paidion is the plural familiar form of the noun pais, ‘boy’. Raymond Brown comments that the term “has a colloquial touch…[as] we might say ‘My boys’ or ‘lads’ if calling to a knot of strangers of a lower social class”(1). Why use this colloquial term straight after His resurrection, something akin to ‘Hey guys!’, when this was not His usual way of addressing them? Surely it was to underline to them that things hadn’t changed in one sense, even if they had in others; He was still the same Jesus. The Lord was recognized by the Emmaus disciples in the way that He broke the bread. How He broke a loaf of bread open with His hands after His resurrection reflected the same basic style and mannerism which He had employed before His death. Not only the body language but the Lord's choice of words and expressions was similar both before and after His passion. He uses the question " Whom are you looking for?" at the beginning of His ministry (Jn. 1:38), just before His death (Jn. 18:4) and also after His resurrection (Jn. 20:15). And the words of the risen Lord as recorded in Revelation are shot through with allusion to the words He used in His mortal life, as also recorded by John.
Significantly, both Luke and John conclude their Gospels with the risen Lord walking along with the disciples, and them ‘following’ Him (Jn. 21:20)- just as they had done during His ministry. His invitation to ‘Follow me’ (Jn. 21:19,22) is the very language He had used whilst He was still mortal (Jn. 1:37,43; 10:27; 12:26; Mk. 1:18; 2:14). The point being, that although He was now different, in another sense, He still related to them as He did when He was mortal, walking the lanes and streets of 1st century Palestine. Elsewhere [Chapter 15, The Disciples] we have pointed out that the fishing incident of Jn. 21 is purposefully framed as a repetition of that recorded in Lk. 5- again, to show the continuity between the Jesus of yesterday and the Jesus of today. It’s as if in no way does He wish us to feel that His Divine Nature and glorified, exalted position somehow separates us from Him. When the Lord awoke, He would have immediately been aware of the carefully wrapped graveclothes and the anointing oil. He would have then realized the care shown to Him by His sisters. Some of the very first thoughts of the risen Lord were of His brethren. There was no gap between His mortal awareness of His brethren, and His feelings for them after resurrection.
Even in His mortal life, the Lord was eager to as it were close the gap between Himself and His followers, so that they didn't feel He was an unattainable, distant icon to admire, but rather a true friend, leader, King and example to realistically follow. Thus when He cursed the fig tree, having prayed about it and firmly believing that what He had asked would surely come about, Peter marvelled: "Master, behold, the fig tree you cursed is withered!". The Lord replies by urging Peter to "Have faith in God. For truly I tell you, whosoever (and this is the stress, surely) shall say unto this mountain (far bigger than a fig tree) , Be removed be cast into the sea (a far greater miracle than withering a fig tree overnight), and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says will come to pass (referring to how the words of Jesus to the fig tree were effectively His prayer to God about it); he shall whatever he says. Therefore I say unto you, Whatever you desire (just as I desired the withering of the fig tree), when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them (just as I did regarding the fig tree)" (Mk. 11:21-24). Peter's amazement at the power of the Lord's prayers was therefore turned back on him- 'You too can do what I just did, and actually greater things are possible for you than what I just did'. That was the message here- and He repeated it in the upper room, in encouraging them that "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do" (Jn. 14:12). Even when making the profoundest claims to be God's Son, sent from God and destined to ascend to Heaven, the Lord in the same context emphasizes His humanity- e.g. in Jn. 8:26, having spoken of His origins, Father, and destiny, He stresses that He has much He'd like to say and judge of His generation, but He could only share what His Father had taught Him to speak. This was a very pointed presentation of His humanity, and He made it lest His hearers think that He was altogether other-worldly.
The Lord will essentially be the same as the Gospels present Him when we see Him again. This is why Jesus even in His earthly life could be called " the Kingdom of God" , so close was the link between the man who walked Palestine and the One who will come again in glory. “They see the Kingdom of God come” (Mk. 9:1) is paralleled by “They see the Son of man coming” (Mt. 16:28). Indeed it would seem that the references in the Synoptic Gospels to the ‘coming’ of the Kingdom are interpreted in the rest of the New Testament as referring to the personal ‘coming’ of the Lord Jesus (e.g. 1 Cor. 16:22; Rev. 22:20). In that very context of referring to Himself as "the Kingdom of God", the Lord speaks of His return as 'the days of the Son of man'- the human Jesus. And yet He also speaks in that context of how after His death, men will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, i.e. how He had been in His mortal life (Lk. 17:20-26). As He was in His mortal days, so He will essentially be in the day of His final glory. It just isn't true that He came as a meek, gentle person, but will roar back as an angry lion. At His second coming, He will reveal " the wrath of the lamb" . Can you imagine an angry lamb? Yes, lambs can get angry. But it's a lamb-like anger. He came as the lamb for sinners slain, and yet He will still essentially be a lamb at His return. The Jesus who loved little children, sensitive to others weaknesses, desperate for their salvation, is the same one who will return to judge us. Even after His resurrection, in His present immortal nature, He thoughtfully cooked breakfast on the beach for His men (Jn. 21;9,12). And this is the Lord who will return to judge us. After His resurrection He was recognized by the Emmaus disciples in the way that He broke bread. The way He handled the loaf, His mannerisms, His way of speaking and choice of language, were evidently the same after His resurrection as before (Lk. 24:30,31). The Lord is the same today as yesterday.
Our tendency to value, indeed to worship, human works leads to great frustration with ourselves. Only by realizing the extent of grace can we become free from this. So many struggle with accepting unfulfilment- coping with loss, with the fact we didn’t make as good a job of something as we wanted, be it raising our kids or the website we work on or the book we write or the room we decorated… And as death approaches, this sense becomes stronger and more urgent. Young people tend to think that it’s only a matter of time before they sort it out and achieve. But that time never comes. It’s only by surrendering to grace, abandoning the trust in and glorying in our own works, that we can come to accept the uncompleted and unfulfilled in our lives, and to smile at those things and know that of course, I can never ‘do’ or achieve enough.
Realizing that we are in the grace of God, justified by Him through our being in Christ, leads us to a far greater and happier acceptance of ourselves as persons. So many people are unhappy with themselves. It’s why we look in mirrors in a certain way when nobody else is watching; why we’re so concerned to see how we turned out in a photograph. Increasingly, this graceless world can’t accept itself. People aren’t happy or acceptant of their age [they want to look and be younger or older], their body, their family situation, even their gender and their own basic personality. I found that when I truly accepted my salvation by grace, when the wonder of who I am in God’s sight, as a man in Christ, really dawned on me… I became far happier with myself, far more acceptant. Now of course in another sense, we are called to radical transformation, to change, to rise above the narrow limits of our own backgrounds. This is indeed the call of Christ. But I refer to our acceptance of who we are, and the situations we are in, as basic human beings.
Jesus is right now "quick to discern the thoughts and intents of [our hearts]" in mediating for us (Heb. 4:12 RV). But this is how He was in His mortal life here- for then He was "of quick understanding" too (Is. 11:3). He would have had a way of seeing through to the essence of a person or situation with awesome speed- and this must have made human life very irritating for Him at times. But who He was then is who He is now. It's the same Jesus who intercedes for us in sensitivity and compassion. Note carefully the tense used in Heb. 4:15: "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities" . It doesn't say 'which could not have been touched...', but rather " which cannot [present tense] be touched" . It's as if He is now touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Which opens a fascinating window into what having God's nature is all about. When we by grace come to share it, it's not just that we will dimly remember what it was like to be human. We will somehow still be able to be touched by those feelings, in sympathy with those who still have that nature during the Millennial reign. The only other time the Spirit uses the Greek word translated " touched with the feeling..." is in Heb. 10:34, where we read of how the Hebrew Christians " had compassion of me" , the writer of the letter. The link, within the same letter, is surely to reflect how they had been so compelled by their Lord's fellow feelings toward them, His fellow feeling for them right now, that they in turn came to feel like this for their suffering brother. A related word is found in 1 Pet. 3:8: "Having compassion one of another, love as brethren" . The wonder of the fact that Jesus feels for us, that He can enter into our feelings, should result in our seeing to get inside the feelings of others, empathizing with them, feeling for them and with them.
It's this feature of the Lord Jesus which enables Him to be such a matchless mediator. Stephen saw Him standing at the right hand of the throne in Heaven, when usually, Hebrews stresses, He sits. The Lord was and is so passionately, compassionately, caught up in the needs of His brethren that this is how He mediates for us. And it's the same Jesus, who walked round Galilee with a heart of compassion for kids, for the mentally sick, for oppressed and abused women...even for the hard hearted Pharisees whom He would fain have gathered under His loving wings, such was His desire for others' salvation. One of the great themes of Matthew's gospel is that various men and women 'came to Jesus' at different times and in a variety of situations. The Lord uses the same term to describe how at the last day, people will once again 'come unto' Him (Mt. 25:20-24). The same Jesus whom they 'came before' in His ministry is the one to whom they and we shall again come at the last day- to receive a like gracious acceptance. He will judge and reason the same way He did during His mortality. Likewise we know what kind of judge Christ is, and so the meeting of Him in final judgment need not be for us something so terribly unknown and uncertain. We know that He is the judge who 'justifies' sinners- the Greek word means not so much 'making righteous', but 'acquiting, declaring righteous' in a legal sense. It's unthinkable that a human judge treats the guilty as if they are righteous and innocent, just because they are "in" Christ. It's also unheard of that a judge also is the counsel for the defence! But this is the kind of judge we have, day by day- to those who believe. Will He be so different in the last day?
“The Kingdom of God” was a title used of Jesus. He ‘was’ the Kingdom because He lived the Kingdom life. Who He would be, was who He was in His life. At the prospect of being made “full of joy” at the resurrection, “therefore did my heart rejoice” (Acts 2:26,28). His joy during His mortal life was related to the joy He now experiences in His immortal life. And this is just one of the many continuities between the moral and the immortal Jesus. Pause for a moment to reflect that the Lord’s resurrection is a pattern for our own. This is the whole meaning of baptism. “God has both raised the Lord and will raise us up through his power” (1 Cor. 6:13,14). Yet there were evident continuities between the Jesus who lived mortal life, and the Jesus who rose again. His mannerisms, body language, turns of phrase, were so human- even after His resurrection. And so who we are now, as persons, is who we will eternally be. Because of the resurrection, our personalities in the sum of all their relationships and nuances, have an eternal future. But from whence do we acquire those nuances, body languages, etc? They arise partly from our parents, from our inter-relations with others etc; we are the sum of our relationships. And this is in fact a tremendous encouragement to us in our efforts for others; for the result of our parenting, our patient effort and grace towards others, will have an eternal effect upon others. Who we help them become is, in part, who they will eternally be. Job reflected that if a tree is cut down, it sprouts (Heb. yaliph) again as the same tree; and he believed that after his death he would likewise sprout again (yaliph) at the resurrection (Job 14:7-9,14,15). There will be a continuity between who we were in mortal life, and who we will eternally be- just as there is between the pruned tree and the new tree which grows again out of its stump. All our obedience and response to God's word in this life is likened to building a foundation which will endure beyond the storm, representative as that is of judgment day at Christ's return (Lk. 6:48). There is therefore a link between who we are now and who we will eternally be; we are building now the foundation for our eternity.
If who we are now is who we will eternally be, in essence... then some of life's most crucial questions are begged of us. If we don't know what to do with ourselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon, if we go back to work on retirement sheerly for something to do, if our hours are spent on endless soap operas and crossword puzzles... is that what we wish to spend eternity doing? I don't say that some element of relaxation is somehow disallowed for the believer; but if who we are now is who we will eternally be... is our yearning for some future existence motivated by a desire to love and serve God and His Son, or is it simply the normal response to the fear of death which each of us has? It was exactly because of who the Lord Jesus was in His mortal life that it was just, rightful, purposeful... that He should be raised from the dead and live eternally. By reason of our being in Him and living life for and through and in Him (and for no other reason) , there becomes a point and purpose in our resurrection to eternal existence likewise.
The Lord had such a wide experience of human life and suffering so that not one of us could ever complain that He does not know in essence what we are going through. This is my simple answer to the question of why, exactly why, did Jesus have to suffer so much and in the ways that He did. Take one example of how His earthly experiences were the basis of how He later administered “grace to help in time of need” for a believer. The Lord’s one time close friend Judas is described as " standing with" those who ultimately crucified Jesus in Jn. 18:5. Paul says that none of the brethren 'stood with' him when he was on trial, but " the Lord [Jesus] stood with me" (2 Tim. 4:16,17). It seems to me that the Lord knew exactly what it felt like to be left alone by your brethren, as happened to Him in Gethsemane and at His trials; and so at Paul's trial He could 'stand with' him, based on His earthly experience of being left to stand alone. In our lives likewise, the Lord acts to help us based on His earthly experiences; He knows how we feel, because He in essence went through it all. John maybe has the image of Judas and Peter standing with the Lord's enemies in mind when he writes that the redeemed shall stand with Jesus on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1), facing the hostile world.
Who the Lord Jesus was is who He will be in the future; in the same way as who we are now, is who we will eternally be. For our spirit, our essential personality, will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5). “Flesh and blood” will not inherit the Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50); and yet the risen, glorified Lord Jesus was “flesh and bones” (Lk. 24:39). We will be who we essentially are today, but with Spirit instead of blood energizing us. It’s a challenging thought, as we consider the state of our “spirit”, the essential ‘me’ which will be preserved, having been stored in Heaven in the Father’s memory until the day when it is united with the new body which we will be given at resurrection. For in all things the Lord is our pattern; and we will in that day be given a body like unto His glorious body (Phil. 3:21)- which is still describable as “flesh and bones” in appearance (Lk. 24:39.
Note that whilst flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, the risen, immortal Lord Jesus described Himself as flesh and bones (Lk. 24:39). In fact, we find that " flesh and bones" are often paralleled (Gen. 2:23; Job 10:11; 33:21; Ps. 38:3; Prov. 14:30), and simply mean 'the person', or as the Lord put it on that occasion, " I myself" . We ourselves will be in the Kingdom, with similar personalities we have now [that's a very challenging thought of itself]. " Flesh" doesn't necessarily have to refer, in every instance, to something condemned. Who we are now is who we will essentially be in the eternity of God's Kingdom. Let's not allow any idea that somehow our flesh / basic being is so awful that actually, the essential " I myself" will be dissolved beneath the wrath of God at the judgment. The Lord is " the saviour of the body" and will also save our " spirit" at the last day; so that we, albeit with spirit rather than blood energizing us, will live eternally. Understanding things this way enables us to perceive more forcefully the eternal importance of who we develop into as persons, right now. The Buddhist belief that we will ultimately not exist, that such 'Nirvana' is the most wonderful thing to hope for, appears at first hearing a strange 'hope' to be shared by millions of followers. But actually, it's the same essential psychology as that behind the idea that 'I' will not exist in the Kingdom of God, I will be given a new body, person and character. It's actually saying the same- I won't exist. And it's rooted in a terribly low self-image, a dis-ease with ourselves, a lack of acceptance of ourselves as the persons whom God made us and develops us into. Whilst of course our natures will be changed, so that we can be immortal, it is we who will be saved; our body will be resurrected, made new, and our spirit " saved" in that day, reunited with our renewed and immortal bodies. We have eternal life in the sense that who we are now, in spiritual terms, is who we will eternally be. Our spirit, the essential us, is in this sense immortal; it’s remembered with the Lord. In this sense, not even death itself, nor time itself, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39). Just as we still love someone after they have died, remembering as they do who they were and still are to us, so it is with the love of God for the essential us. Hence 1 Pet. 3:4 speaks of how a “gentle and calm disposition” or spirit is in fact “imperishable” (NAB)- because that spirit of character will be eternally remembered. This is why personality and character, rather than physical works, are of such ultimate and paramount importance. How we speak now is in a way, how we will eternally speak- I think that's the idea of Prov. 12:19: "The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment". Our "way" of life and being is how we will eternally be- and for me that solves the enigma of Prov. 12:28: "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death". In Jeremiah 18, God likens Himself to a potter working with us the clay. We can resist how He wants us to be, and He can make us into something else... we are soft clay until the 'firing'; and the day of firing is surely the day of judgment. The implication is that in this life we are soft clay; but the day of judgment will set us hard as the persons we have become, or have been made into, in this life.
The continuity between the mortal, human Jesus and the exalted Lord of all which He became on His ascension is brought out quite artlessly in Heb. 4:14: “Our great high priest, who has passed through the heavens”. The picture is of “this same Jesus”, the man on earth, passing through all heavens to ‘arrive’ at the throne of God Himself to mediate for us there. His ascension to Heaven was viewed physically like this by the disciples, and is expressed here in that kind of language of physical ascent, to bring home to us the continuity between the man Jesus on earth, and the exalted Lord now in Heaven itself. The same Jesus who once experienced temptation can thereby strengthen us in our temptations. We need to realize that nobody can be tempted by that which holds no appeal; the Lord Jesus must have seen and reflected upon sin as a possible course of action, even though He never took it. And for the same reason, several New Testament passages (e.g. 1 Tim. 2:5) call the exalted Lord Jesus a “man”- even now. Let’s not see these passages merely as theological problems for trinitarians. The wonder of it all is that Jesus after His glorification is still in some sense human. He as “the pioneer of our faith” shows us the path to glory, a glory that doesn’t involve us becoming somehow superhuman and unreal. Charles Hodge marvelled: “The supreme ruler of the universe is a perfect man”(2). Charles Wesley caught some of this in his hymn:
Of our flesh and of our bones,
Jesus is our brother now.
The Glory Of The Lord
The continuity of personality between the human Jesus and the now-exalted Jesus is brought out by meditation upon His “glory”. The glory of God refers to His essential personality and characteristics. When He ‘glorifies Himself’, He articulates that personality- e.g. in the condemnation of the wicked or the salvation of His people. Thus God was " glorified" in the judgment of the disobedient (Ez. 28:22; 39:13), just as much as He is " glorified" in the salvation of His obedient people. God glorified Himself in redeeming Israel, both in saving them out of Babylon, and ultimately in the future. Thus He was glorified in His servant Israel (Is. 44:23; 49:3). There are therefore both times and issues over which the Father is glorified. He was above all glorified in the resurrection of His Son. Each of these 'glorifications' meant that the essential Name / personality of the Father was being manifested and justified. The glory of the Lord Jesus was that of the Father. He was glorified in various ways and at different times within His ministry (e.g. Jn. 11:4); but He was also glorified in His resurrection and exaltation (Jn. 7:39). As the Lord approached the cross, He asked that the Father's Name be glorified. The response from Heaven was that God had already glorified it in Christ, and would do so again (Jn. 12:28). At the last Supper, the Lord could say: " Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him" (Jn. 13:31). And yet various Scriptures teach that the Son of man was to be glorified in His death, in His resurrection (Acts 3:13), at His ascension, in His priestly mediation for us now (Heb. 5:5), in the praise His body on earth would give Him, in their every victory over sin, in every convert made (Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 3:1), in every answered prayer (Jn. 14:13), and especially at His return (2 Thess. 1:10)... So the glorification of the Lord Jesus wasn't solely associated with His resurrection, and therefore it wasn't solely associated with His nature being changed or His receiving a new body. In each of these events, and at each of these times, the Name / glory / personality of the Father is being manifested, justified and articulated.
The Lord Jesus had that “glory” in what John calls “the beginning”, and he says that he and the other disciples witnessed that glory (Jn. 1:14). “The beginning” in John’s Gospel often has reference to the beginning of the Lord’s ministry. There is essentially only one glory- the glory of the Son is a reflection or manifestation of the glory of the Father. They may be seen as different glories only in the sense that the same glory is reflected from the Lord Jesus in His unique way; as a son reflects or articulates his father’s personality, it’s not a mirror personality, but it’s the same essence. One star differs from another in glory, but they all reflect the same essential light of glory. The Lord Jesus sought only the glory of the Father (Jn. 7:18). He spoke of God’s glory as being the Son’s glory (Jn. 11:4). Thus Isaiah’s vision of God’s glory is interpreted by John as a prophecy of the Son’s glory (Jn. 12:41). The glory of God is His “own self”, His own personality and essence. This was with God of course from the ultimate beginning of all, and it was this glory which was manifested in both the death and glorification of the Lord Jesus (Jn. 17:5). The Old Testament title “God of glory” is applied to the Lord Jesus, “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8; James 2:1). It is God’s glory which radiates from the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory, because He is the express image of God’s personality (Heb. 1:3). He received glory from God’s glory (2 Pet. 1:17). God is the “Father of glory”, the prime source of the one true glory, that is reflected both in the Lord Jesus and in ourselves (Eph. 1:17). The intimate relation of the Father's glory with that of the Son is brought out in Jn. 13:31,32: " Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him; and God shall glorify him in himself, and straightway shall he glorify him" .
What all this exposition means in practice is this. There is only “one glory” of God. That glory refers to the essential “self”, the personality, characteristics, being etc. The Lord Jesus manifested that glory in His mortal life (Jn. 2:11). But He manifests it now that He has been “glorified”, and will manifest it in the future day of His glory. And the Lord was as in all things a pattern to us. We are bidden follow in His path to glory. We now in our personalities reflect and manifest the one glory of the Father, and our blessed Hope is glory in the future, to be glorified, to be persons (note that- to be persons!) who reflect and ‘are’ that glory in a more intimate and complete sense than we are now, marred as we are by our human dysfunction, sin, and weakness of will against temptation. We now reflect that glory as in a dirty bronze mirror. The outline of God’s glory in the face of Jesus is only dimly reflected in us. But we are being changed, from glory to glory, the focus getting clearer all the time, until that great day when we meet Him and see Him face to face, with all that shall imply and result in. But my point in this context is that there is only one glory. The essence of who we are now in our spiritual man, how we reflect it, in our own unique way, is how we shall always be.
And so the Man who walked dusty Galilee streets is the very same one, in essence, whom we will meet in judgment day. The ultimate question for each of us, is whether we will be accepted by Him. In the Gospels, we see the Son of man, Son of God, so acceptant of others, so patient with their weaknesses, passionately dying for our salvation. Will He turn as it were another face on us at the day of judgment, showing Himself suddenly and unpredictably to be someone else? Like people we know, who suddenly surprised us one day by showing a completely different aspect to their character? I believe He won’t. Because integrity and consistency of character, sharing His Father’s characteristic of not changing, is what He is essentially about. He won’t show another face then, that we’ve not seen now. The same basic Jesus, who so wished and wishes to eternally save us, will be the One whom we meet in the final day.
If we truly love the Lord, we will fantasize about our moment of meeting with Him. I suspect that His very appearance of ordinariness and evident human aspect will impress me in that first moment of meeting. Perhaps it will be that He appears to me in the midst of everyday life, when I’m desperately consumed with doing something, and interrupts me. And He’ll seem like an ordinary local person, speaking with the same accent, wearing normal clothes, just as He did after His resurrection. And then He’ll say with a very slight, cultured kind of smile: “Duncan, I’m Jesus…”. Who knows how it will be. But if you love Him, you’ll fantasize of that moment, as you love His appearing.
(2) Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1946 ed.) Vol. 2 p. 637.
Duncan Heaster has written over 20 books, some of which contain material relevant to The Real Christ. And there is a host of other relevant material...