Loving the Invisible
So how does one love Someone they cannot see? Is God unfair in letting the first Christians walk with, eat with, see and smell and touch Jesus, but leaving all others to hope forward to a Messiah or believe backward to a Saviour? Didn’t John, “the beloved disciple,” proclaim that Christ was the One of Whom “…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched”?
Jesus recognized we might experience this struggle. He said to Thomas, and with you and I in mind, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).
Personally, I don’t think a Jesus we could hear, see, touch, and with Whom we daily “broke bread” would have been all that easier to believe on as God incarnate! Imagine your small town plumber (Jesus was a carpenter) one day left the shop, got baptized, then disappeared for over a month only to return and wander about talking in parables, hinting at being divine. “Why,” you might say, “only three months ago he was declogging my toilet, but now – now look at him!”
No, I don’t think belief would have been much easier at all. And what was it they mused later, those two days after His entombment, “…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Had hoped, but no longer… musta been all charisma… “we had hoped…” ???
No… God is fair. He expects faith in all instances: forward-looking hope, face-to-face faith, or backward-looking belief, it is consistently true: “The just [the righteous] shall live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38].
Faith convinces one of obedience and, as Jesus explained, obedience and love are closely connected.
“If you love me, keep my commands,” said Jesus to His own. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15, 21).
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
And to the church of Ephesus that had forsaken the love they had at first Jesus’ remedy was “Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Rev. 2:5).
Loving without seeing is entirely possible, whether we love some dear departed one, grow an online romance, are blind, or love Christ Whom we “have not seen and yet have believed.” And one proof of such love is our obedience.