He Stands Before Us
I WAS thinking recently about how those who loved Christ Jesus and the truths he taught must have felt when they witnessed him laid in a tomb after the crucifixion. That pain, however, turned to joy after the resurrection when Jesus sought out his disciples and, John's Gospel tells us, actually "stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.'' Many people know and love the Easter story. But are we really alive today to the timeless meaning of Christ Jesus' resurrection? The message begins with what one man did long ago, but it includes much more. In a very real sense, the power behind what happened then stands before us today--and every day--as we face the challenges in our lives.
Whatever it is that resists God--let's just call it evil--hated Christ Jesus. Why? Wasn't it because this man showed convincingly that God is the all-powerful One, while evil is powerless? Perhaps, if Jesus had been only a kindly man, inspiring people with his parables, there wouldn't have been a crucifixion. But Christ Jesus coupled those beautiful words of truth with powerful, healing works that proved the veracity of his teachings.
Did Jesus' own victory then remove evil from ever again accosting anyone? No. Evil is still what resists our own efforts to grasp the truth of God and man. It's whatever tries to separate us from God. In a sense, this morality play--in which an understanding of God's goodness overcomes evil--repeats itself for each individual. Of course, we won't face anything like the crucifixion. But we do have to face various forms of evil--some large, some small--in our daily lives.
Christ Jesus' victory over evil is the foundation for our daily victories because it provides for us the prime example of the truth he taught in action. We can study it in the Gospels until we know every word. And this isn't a bad idea, either! But it isn't until we actually adopt that experience into our hearts and prove it in ways small and large in our daily lives, that we'll see the Christ standing before us.
When we do this, when we actively strive to follow his teachings in our own lives, we become students of Christ Jesus. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says of Jesus' life work in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "His students saw this power of Truth heal the sick, cast out evil, raise the dead; but the ultimate of this wonderful work was not spiritually discerned, even by them, until after the crucifixion, when their immaculate Teacher stood before them, the victor over sickness, sin, disease, death, and the grave.''
Christ is something to consider here, because it is this which stands before us. By his own birth, by his words and by his works of healing, Jesus shows us that man is truly made in the image of God, the divine Spirit. That is, man is spiritual, not mortal nor material. Man has an eternal sonship with God, and Christ describes that sonship. This spiritual sonship was so clear in Jesus' birth and life that he is called--uniquely--Christ Jesus.
We may feel that when Jesus left the earth everything else went too--that the Christ became somehow inaccessible. But Christ, Truth, is present in all ages, in all lands. It's really only logical that the spiritual presence of Christ stands before us now as surely as it did when Jesus taught and healed in Galilee. And because the goodness, health, and peace of spirituality are real and ever present, guidance and comfort in Christ can be an everyday experience.
There is constant power in Christ as it stands before us. This spiritual power can change drastically the course of individual lives as well as that of world events. It can turn each of us to purer affections, more spiritualized pursuits, nobler lives.