Seeing The Risen Lord

Ken Shellnut in an article for CT magazine titled, “4 in 10 Evangelicals Say They’ve Been Visited by the Dead writes, “In the summer of 2023, Heather Beville felt something she hadn’t in a long time: a hug from her sister Jessica, who died at age 30 from cancer. In a dream, ‘I hugged her and I could feel her, even though I knew in my logic that she was dead.’”

Like fellow Christians, Beville is sure that death is not the end. But she’s also among a significant number who say they have continued to experience visits from deceased loved ones here on earth.

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 42 percent of self-identified evangelicals said they had been visited by a loved one who had passed away. Interactions with the dead fall into a precarious supernatural space. Staunch secularists will say they’re impossible and must be made up. Bible-believing Christians may be wary of the spiritual implications of calling on ghosts from beyond. Yet more than half of Americans believe a dead family member has come to them in a dream or some other form.

Researchers say most people who report “after-death communications” find the interactions to be comforting, not haunting or scary. Professor Julie Exline says, “They’re often very valuable for people. They give them hope that their loved one is still there and still connected to them. These experiences help people, even if they don’t know what to make of them.”

There are several factors that come into play for a person to turn to supernatural explanations for what they’ve experienced. Prior belief in God, angels, spirits, or ghosts, combined with a belief that these beings actually do communicate with people in the world is one condition. Another factor is the relationship between a person and their loved one—“the need for relational closure” amid prolonged grief.”” Certainly we must be careful with these matters as the Bible warns us in Deuteronomy 18 not to call on spirits outside of God Himself.

Whether these visitations, dreams, or hallucinations actually occur, perhaps only time and eternity will reveal. But we do know that it happened 2000 years ago on that first Easter Sunday when the women first went to the tomb of Jesus. Matthew 26:1-10 reports-- “Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen’, as he said. ‘Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’” And Jesus has been making Himself known to us ever since!

This Sunday we celebrate that Jesus is alive and because He lives, we too have life here and for eternity through Him. If you do not know Him, He longs to meet you today and the good news is, He is still risen and He is here among us today. Hallelujah—Christ the Lord is risen today!

Let’s celebrate and remember that He is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

He is Risen,
Pastor Ray
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