A Second Look

BY JOHN E. KLEMIN

WHEN PETER AND JOHN went into the grave that morning of the resurrection, they didn’t know what to think. They were downcast, and hopeless, with a sense of tragic loss, until they saw what was inside
the grave and then they believed (John 20:8).

When the unnamed disciple (most likely, John) arrived at the tomb, he stooped down, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in (John 20:5). He must have been satisfied that the body was still there.
But when Peter arrived, he was not content with a cautious glance. He entered the sepulcher and stood gazing at the clothes. The verb translated “seeth” (verse 6) implies “careful observation.” It indicates a watching for the purpose of apprehending the significance of an object or event. His partner, wondering why he should be spending so much time within the tomb when he, the first comer, had been able to
satisfy his curiosity with a glance, returned and entered, and the Bible says, “he saw, and believed.” Thank God for that second look at the tomb…that look that makes a difference.

What was it about the condition of the grave clothes that excited Peter’s amazement? The linen clothes were lying, not unwound, and carefully folded. They had not been thrown aside as is a covering when
one rises from bed. They were lying on the stone slab in the shape of the body. If robbers had stolen the body away, they could not have rewound the wrappings in their original shape. They would have cast
them down in disorder and fled, even if they had decided to unwind them.

Those clothes were eloquent evidence that a living organism had come out. They were testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ had risen, had passed through the grave clothes which He left undisturbed. It was
silent proof that death could not hold Him, nor material bonds restrain Him. It was like a glove from which the hand has been removed, the fingers of which still retain the shape of the hand.

Little wonder that when John took that second look “he saw and believed.” In modern language, something “clicked.”

What thoughts must have passed through the minds of those disciples. If His body had passed through the grave clothes and through the encircling walls without disturbing the organization of either,
there must have been some change in its physical constitution. No ordinary man could walk through a wall or a closed door without leaving some visible effects both upon the wall and himself. These disciples arrived at the unshakable and unassailable conviction that Jesus Christ was alive…that He had risen from the dead.

What a difference that second look–that investigative look–made. They rose from their bemoanings, with a light on their faces, a spring in their heels and a message burning in their hearts. There is no “in
memoriam” note in the narratives. They had discovered “life through His name” (John 20:31).

You too need that second look at Christ. The first look is the surface look; the second is the contemplative look. The first look shows you a form; the second look assures you of a reality. The first
look gives you a dead Christ; the second look gives the living Christ. The first look leaves you hopeless; the second look gives you a living hope.

Passing by a shop window one day I observed what I thought were mannequins in the window. But upon urging by my wife a second look, I saw that they were real, living people. The Bible tells us in Hebrews
3: I to “Consider . .. Jesus Christ.” We will never really see Him if we look at Him only by snatches for a moment. There is no possible way to bring an unseen person to have any real influence upon our lives
except as we direct our thoughts to Him. When we give our attention and affections to everything and everybody but Him, there is no wonder our experience brings so little blessing or power into our lives. It cannot be a languid look, as between half-opened eyelids, or as men look upon some object in which they have little interest, but it must be the sharpened gaze of interested expectancy.

This second look is not attained without decisive effort. We have to look away from much if we would really see Him. We will have to be content to be blind to a great deal that is fascinating and dazzling,
to be clear-sighted enough to see the King in His beauty. It is one thing to hand a doctrine down from generation to generation, but it is another thing to know the resurrected Christ. We need a fresh look at
the resurrection for our churches to realize that He alone is the real life of the church. So much of the work we do is our own work, not His. We plan, design, organize and hope that the Lord will bless our
efforts. Then when the bottom seems to fall out of everything, we take that second look and find the secret of spiritual success lies in “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” We must stop doing things for Him
and let Him do things through us. When we realize that Jesus Christ is alive, and begin to walk, live and work in the power of the Holy Spirit, instead of in the energy of the flesh, our programs and clever
ideas lose their importance and appeal.

When you can’t find the answers to your spiritual stagnation in yourself, or in your contemporaries, and you stand with your illusions lying in a crumbling heap around you, take a second look at the risen Christ.

He is alive! He can handle the situation. Rivet your attention on Him.

( This Easter Meditation by John E Klemin was first published in The Pentecostal Herald, March 1975 It was copied from the Oregon District Apostolic Accent )

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