When Jesus Shows Up
Some of my favorite stories from Jesus’ life on earth are his appearances to his followers after he died and rose to new life. Sometimes these stories border on the humorous, as Jesus seems to just show up in the midst of everyday life. They are walking down a road; they are sharing a meal together; they are going fishing for some food or income; they are praying; or they are hiding in fear from someone who wants to kill them. Sometimes the disciples are immediately aware it is Jesus; sometimes there is a slow recognition that it truly is Jesus standing in their midst.
What I love about these stories is that Jesus shows up in the “every-dayness” of their lives and reveals Himself there. This is important for us to remember as we move this summer to our “Dinner Church” model for our worship life together. We are so accustomed to “meeting Jesus” and experiencing His powerful presence in our lives when we gather in church sanctuaries. Everything from the architecture to the seating arrangements to the altar design to the music to the proclaimed Word is designed to help lift us out of our normal daily routines to experience the presence of the Lord. All of us can give testimony to how this style of worship has transformed and formed our life in Christ over the years.
But the post-resurrection appearance stories from the Bible invite us to experience Jesus in the everyday settings of our lives. The Gospel of John ends with just on
e of those stories, when Jesus catches up with Thomas as the disciples gathered together. Thomas is invited to touch the wounds on Jesus’ hands to verify that it is truly Jesus and that He is truly alive again. I imagine this kind of scene played out at our dinner church, where people come in, meet Jesus, are invited to take a closer look at Jesus, investigate Him more closely, and come to believe and receive the life He has for them. Just after this scene with Thomas, John closes His gospel with these words: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30–31, ESV) May these signs continue in us and through us as we worship at Dinner Church, so that others may have life in Jesus’ name.