What would you do if the Lord appeared to you in a vision? What sort of impact would it have on your faith and on your life? How much of a difference would it make? Many people wish they had a vision from the Lord – whether in a dream or while awake. Even though a vision is only an image, or set of moving images, it can strengthen faith and give direction. Pause for a minute before you read any further. Think about your answer to this question. Once you have an answer in your mind, then continue reading. I’ll return to the question at the end.
You probably know the history of Jesus Christ. He was born miraculously, though in extremely humble circumstances. His birth had been promised to His ancestors as long as two thousand years before it occurred. He was a son of Israel, a nation under the subjection of the Roman Empire at the time. Born in Bethlehem, He grew up quietly in the town of Nazareth, practicing the trade of his father, carpentry. At about the age of 30, He began an itinerant ministry as a rabbi, teaching from town to town in His homeland. The power of God was present in His ministry: He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. He fed an entire crowd of His listeners with a few loaves and fish. He calmed a raging storm which had frightened His most fearless disciples. Over a three-year period His following grew so great that the religious and political leaders of His day became jealous of Him and fearful for their positions. Some of these leaders conspired with one of His weaker followers to betray Him. Consequently, He was tried and convicted by a religious court for claiming to be the Son of God. Subsequently, He was condemned by the political authority, and even by the very crowds who had previously followed Him. He was sentenced to death by crucifixion – a humiliation which He bore without complaint. Three days later, to the utter astonishment of even His most faithful followers, He was raised from the dead (for indeed He was the Son of God). To remove any doubt in the minds of the faithful, He appeared to them many times and in many ways over the next 40 days. He then ascended into heaven. Before doing so, however, He commissioned those disciples to go into all the world and tell the story of His life, death, and resurrection, proclaiming in the process that anyone who believed that He was alive in heaven would receive the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. From His place in heaven, Jesus would relate to those believers on earth – giving them comfort, guidance, and rescue from all temptation and trouble for the rest of their lives.
If you have heard this story (and even if you haven’t before, you have now), the Lord has appeared to you…in this vision. That is, He accomplished redemption for all humanity in such a way that its story could be told – in effect, giving a vision of Himself to every human being who hears it. A vision is a story that occurs in your mind’s eye, whether by dream, trance, or otherwise. Only this vision is better than any other because it is fully attested to by those disciples – they suffered untold persecution and martyrs’ deaths in bearing witness to it. For them, it was seeing reality. For us, it is believing what they said and seeing with our mind’s eye. There is no greater vision you could have.
So, what would you do if the Lord appeared to you in a vision? The answer is in how you are living now…because indeed you have had this vision from Him.