Divine versus delusion, that is a dilemma that befuddles many of us. We are not alone in our pondering of experiences. The followers of Jesus are gathered Easter evening behind closed doors, sharing stories of encounters with the risen Christ, when suddenly “Jesus himself stood among them. (Luke 24:36)” Were they seeing a ghost? Were they hallucinating? What was going on? The followers were startled and terrified. Jesus asks, “Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see.” It appears the mind is confused by what the body is experiencing and Jesus immediately links mind and body senses together inviting sight to unite with touch. Ghosts have no bones so the test at the time on whether something is natural or supernatural was touch.
Of course today we usually cannot “touch” Jesus with our hands and yet we have spiritual experiences that we need to test and make sure are real. Several guidelines can be offered.
Supernatural encounters will not lead us to contradict the written Word of God that can be touched. Voices encouraging hate, harm or evil do not originate from God. James 3:17 further encourages, “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” Human wisdom that comes from bitter envy or selfish ambition is often accompanied by disorder and “every evil practice.” A rule of thumb I use is that if something is true, it will be consistent advice throughout scripture and from several friends. Learning to be led by the Spirit requires spiritual growth. Speaking to an older, wiser person sometimes helps clarify our thinking. Seldom is the urgent necessary but if the thought is persistent, reinforced by advisors and consistent with scripture, and you are at peace, then a spiritual adventure may be unfolding.
Jesus does stand among us and does speak to our human senses today. I joke that I wish God would send me a fax but I know that he has given me his Word, my friends and a multitude of other avenues through which I experience his love and wishes today. Often I want my answers right now, now, now and like making a beautiful cake, God is organizing ingredients, mixing, baking and creating an experience I may not even be able to imagine. The followers could not believe their eyes and with them, we often pray, “Open my eyes Lord that I might see”. Please enjoy this song for a moment. ihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6Kxsr6Xcrc