Standing on a London street corner, G.K. Chesterton was approached by a newspaper reporter. “Sir, I understand that you recently became a Christian. May I ask you one question?” “Certainly,” replied Chesterton. “If the risen Christ suddenly appeared at this very moment and stood behind you, what would you do?” Chesterton looked the reporter squarely in the eye and said, “He is.” Is this a mere figure of speech, wishful thinking, a piece of pious rhetoric? No, this truth is the most real fact about our life; it is our life. The Jesus who walked the roads of Judea and Galilee is the One who stands beside us. The Christ of history is the Christ of faith. What gives the teaching of Jesus power? What distinguishes it from the Koran, the teachings of Buddha, the wisdom of Confucius? The risen Christ does. I will say it again: The dynamic power of the gospel flows from the resurrection. The New Testament writers repeated this: “All I want is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Brennan Manning, Chapter Six
Do you remember when you were a child and you had an imaginary friend?
That friend was someone I could talk to whenever I was lonely. Play with when no one else would or could. An invisible friend who knew me so well that we didn’t have to talk about it. A friend who would be there for me even when no one else was.
But then I grew up and my imaginary friend moved away.
Or did he?
And while psychologists and psychiatrists might look at me as being one strange duck if I started believing once again in my imaginary friend, the New Testament actually teaches me that I do truly have an unseen Friend who is right beside me every moment of my earthly existence.
How strange is that?
Yet G.K. Chesterton, a well-educated, solidly grounded Englishman of the early twentieth century understood full well the reality of the present risenness of Jesus Christ. No imagination needed. No smoke and mirrors. No hocus-pocus. No fairy tales, thank you.
To Chesterton, Jesus of Nazareth, the God-man who was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and became the small-town carpenter who went on to save the world, was next to him with every move he made.
But if that seems strange to you, know that every generation since 33 AD has had those like Chesterton who have lived their lives fully aware that the Risen Christ was good on His promise when He stated to his friends, “Fear not, I will be with you, even until the end of the age.”
So today, you and I have an amazing promise that stands alone when it comes to amazing promises. A man who was born 2,000 years ago to a virgin, suffered and died at the hands of evil men, and rose again on the third day, has promised to be right behind us until the end of time.
Maybe I wasn’t that crazy when, as a child, I had my imaginary friend. Could it be that as a child, I was actually living closer to the truth then than I am, as an adult, today?
Jesus actually said that it would be easier for a child to enter into these Kingdom truths than for an old geezer like me. So maybe this idea of recovering my true identity as Abba’s child just might have more benefits than I first imagined.
There goes that word again.
Just imagine. What if G.K. Chesterton had it right?
Wait. Was that Jesus I just caught a glimpse of behind my back?
My prayer: God, I confess that as an old man, it’s truly hard for me to imagine. As a child, my imagination was in full bloom. But now, as a responsible adult, it seems as though my ability to imagine has become much more complicated. Yet Your Word tells me that Jesus was telling the spot-on truth when He promised to be right next to me until the end of time. Open my eyes to Your Truth, for Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Why have I allowed my imagination to be stolen away from me? If the actual truth is that the resurrected Jesus is right behind me right now, why is it that I can’t agree with that reality? Why is it that my physical eyes are the final judge to what is seen and what is unseen? What might it look like for me to move beyond my limited viewpoint and believe, as Chesterton did, that the Risen Christ actually stands right behind me, right now?
So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?
Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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