Is Reality Optional?
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life - and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us - what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” (1 John 1:1-4)
When the apostle John wrote to the first-century Christians about Jesus, he was writing about a Man with whom he had firsthand experience. John had talked with Jesus both before and after the resurrection. He had seen the nail holes, His pierced side, and investigated the empty tomb for himself. This led John to a singular conclusion – Jesus had really died and arisen from the grave.
And this fact, changed everything.
John, and the rest of the disciples would have the whole course of their lives reshaped because of the fact of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. It was an inescapable truth which they fully accepted.
But not everyone accepted the empty tomb. The chief priests and elders didn’t accept it – they told the soldiers to spread a lie that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body. They would rather spread a lie than accept the consequences of the truth. (See Matthew 28:11-15)
This often happens in life with uncomfortable realities. The temptation to ignore facts in order to protect our existing way of life is strong. We can ignore our financial realities, so we can continue our spending habits. We ignore the struggles in our marriage, so we don’t need to face the hard conversations that would rebuild the bond. We avert our eyes to our children’s bad behavior because it is easier to spoil them than to parent them. Short-term personal deception begets long-term ruin.
Or worst of all, we ignore our soul’s needs. Church attendance, Bible study, real fellowship with the saints, and a life as Christ’s servants are consequences to accepting the reality that we are spiritual creatures who need spiritual food and spiritual work. Accepting the facts about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, and our place in eternity are all important steps in living the life that naturally flows from such truths.
The early church changed everything because of these facts, and those who didn’t “had not a love of the truth that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)