It is fairly easy for most of us to determine what is real and conversely, what is not real. We have learned to trust our sense and believe that reality is what it appears to us to be. What is real is what “is”. It is the way things are. Even one important step in the scientific method is to observe. In the quantum world the observing even takes on a more critical role in identifying what is real.
Not too long after Jesus went back to be with our Father, people began to discuss what had happened when Jesus was among them. Among them were some people who had a tough time believing that the Divine could ever be flesh and blood because it appeared to them that flesh and blood was pretty tainted and discolored. Fleshly things, temporal beings, physical reality was too lowly for a god to ever become a real human. So their answer was to say that Jesus was not real in the sense that we are real. He was simply a ghostly apparition with no physical content. He just looked real.
So one of Jesus’ best friends felt compelled to jot a note to some people he loved to tell them what was really real. It is in a letter we have labeled I John. Right from the get-go John urgently makes his case that Jesus was most certainly real. He draws on his own experience to vociferously declare, “I am telling you that I saw him with my own eyes. I touched him with my own hands. I heard him talk with my own eyes.” And later, “If anyone says that he didn’t come in the flesh they are just flat wrong”.
It was critical for John to declare to his friends what is real. It is equally important in our times to come to know Jesus as real. It is the way we can make our way through a media/cultural climate in which we have to bob and weave not to be flattened by what are often flat out lies. Not only is it important to survive but it is important to thrive. John says the reason I am telling you this is not just so you won’t be knocked down but that the reality of Jesus is the source of great joy.
In a Lewis Carroll wonderland it is important to know up from down. Right from wrong. Good from bad. Truth from lie. But most of all to know a real God who became flesh and pitched his tent among us. To know Jesus is to know reality and that reality will set you free.