I have perused a new book called Visions and Appearances of Jesus by Phillip Wiebe. Phil is a Canadian Christian that I know well. We both studied in graduate school many years ago in Adelaide, Australia. In fact Phil and his wife Shirley helped me to make and arrange copies of my dissertation as I was finishing up. Phil and I have kept in touch over the years, and I can attest that he is a solid, responsible citizen with a careful mind that is enquiring and logical.
Phillip is professor of philosophy at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. In his book Phil documents that Jesus has appeared to people down through history, as well as thirty folks he has recently interviewed personally. Below I have excerpted just a couple of many tantalizing cases:
(1) Where are the Dead?
Marian Galiffe was interviewed by Phil in London in 1993 about her experience which took place in1991.
Marian was devastated by the death of her son Joe, who died in a traffic accident at the age of 18. She would lock herself in his room and lie on his bed for hours. One day she expressed her anger to God: as a devoted follower of God, why had he allowed Joe to die. She fell asleep until 9 pm, then felt as if someone had awakened her. She felt commanded to go downstairs and enjoin the family to read the Bible and pray. They gathered around and stood up as she read from the Gospel of John, and they joined hands to pray.
At that moment, the door flew open, a breeze moved through the room, and a painful sensation creased Marian’s chest. A light brighter than anything she had ever seen exploded and filled the room. As the light faded, Jesus came into view dressed in white. He appeared to be transparent, and had long hair. He commended her to look down the length of his arm, and eventually all she could see was his hand. Then a hill covered with green grass appeared, and she saw Joe running toward her with three other children. Joe wore his favorite check shirt and blue jeans.
The command came, “Have you forgotten the other children? They are with me.” Then she remembered. One was her child from a pregnancy that had been terminated because of fibroids in her womb. The other two were twins later lost because of the terminated pregnancy. The children appeared to be the right age.
Her husband didn’t see any of the things Marian reported, but did observe she was in “ecstasy” as the events unfolded. Afterwards Marian felt like telling everyone that Joe was alive.
Phil’s comments: The story suggests that the lives of the unborn continue after death. Marian saw beyond death where the deceased live, grow up, and are reunited with members of their earthly family.
(2) Take me with you:
Barry Dyck was 18 years old, and attending a Bible College in British Columbia. He had gone skiing to Mt Baker, Washington State, when he went over a drop-off and crashed. Three vertebrae in his neck were broken and one disc was herniated. The pain was excruciating. In the hospital he was placed in a neck brace and traction, and kept immobile. Over the next week his head swelled and impaired his sight.
Eight days after the accident, in the middle of the night, Barry woke to find Jesus standing at the end of his bed and stretching his arms out toward Barry. Barry immediately sat up, despite all the medical equipment attached to him. He grasped the hands of Jesus and begged “Take me with you.” He was drawn by an indescribable feeling of love. Jesus said no, but indicated everything would be okay. During the night, Barry took off the neck brace during a fitful sleep.
When he awoke in the morning, he could see perfectly and the swelling and pain were gone. He was released the next day, even though the doctors had expected him to be in hospital for three months, and to wear a neck brace for an additional eight months. Barry resumed jogging after four days, without any ill effects.
X-rays taken several weeks later showed no evidence of a fracture in his neck. In contrast many X-rays taken while in the hospital showed obvious signs of fracture. Barry believes he was healed by Jesus in 60 seconds, the duration of the encounter. Barry said Jesus was about six feet in height, and his hair extended about six inches below his shoulders. He could not see facial features in detail. The encounter convinced Barry that he was loved. Barry went on to study science in college, and accounting after that.
In this encounter, the invisible spiritual world seems to have penetrated our ordinary world of space and time, and left a trace of evidence in this world. I spoke to friends of Barry who verified the skiing accident and the incredible healing.
Post-script: the book is filled with many enthralling examples of Jesus’ appearances, many from modern times. My thanks to Phillip Wiebe for allowing me to excerpt and post these segments from his book.
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The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
Now while they were talking about this, Jesus himself took his stand among them and said to them Peace be to you! But they were so startled and terrified that they thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, Why are you troubled and why do such doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. (Book of Luke, chapter 24).
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