It has often been asked why God doesn’t make his existence obvious. (I think he has really.) Along those same lines, I have been asked before why Jesus didn’t appear to skeptics if he truly rose from the dead. Now I can agree that he appeared to at least two, his brother James and to the apostle Paul. Why didn’t he go to the priests and Pharisees though?
In John 14:22, Jesus’s disciple Judas (Not Iscariot) asks him, “Lord. Why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Yet as I read the text following, I see it talking about the relationship of Jesus to his followers. This is where we get the great text of “I am the vine and you are the branches.” We are taught in here that our whole is to be in Christ. We will bear fruit only if we do abide in him.
What has that to do with anything?
Could that not be the answer though?
What kind of people is God wanting? Is God wanting people that will come to him only because they think they have to? Or is he looking for people that come who have been seeking the kingdom of God. It is then that we realize the great truth about this. While we may have been the lost sheep looking for the shepherd, it was really he who was looking for us.
And what is the kingdom of God? I believe it’s to consist of the devotion of the followers of Christ to him. It is to be the reign of YHWH on Earth as it is in Heaven. What is this supposed to look like?
It looks like what Jesus told Judas.
It is we being the branches and showing Christ to the world. It is we being his body. It is we continuing the work that he began among us of making the kingdom a reality. It is everyday learning to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths, and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is learning to live everyday in the paradigm that Christ is the Lord of all creation.
And what happens then?
Christ becomes visible to the people through us.
This is how the early church spread in fact. It was the differences in the lives of the followers of Christ. Of course, they had strong evidences as well, but what made the church appealing was the life that they lived.
This then, is why I do not believe Christ would make an appearance to his opponents after the resurrection.
We are to show the reality to the opponents of Christ that he is alive in our lives today. We are to live lives fully dependent on him. In doing so, we show people the kingdom of God. When we show that Christ rules our lives, then people should be able to see Christ in us and come to him.
In this case, the supposed hiddenness of God is a great gift. He allows us to participate in the plan of redemption for mankind. Christ could have seen angels all around the world to proclaim the good news, but he didn’t. He chose ordinary men.
And who are we to question him?