Read Luke 9:29-33
This pandemic has really thrown a wrench into facial recognition. My phone won’t open when I’m wearing mask. How annoying.
But failure to not recognize a face isn’t just annoying; facial recognition is something God designed as part of being human. Recognizing a face is one of those things we take for granted. It really is a wonderful thing. When a friend passes you driving and you wave – friendship. When your spouse is arriving home at the airport – at last, there they are! When you lay eyes on your newborn – love.
So will we recognize each other when we get to Heaven? Will we spot the ones we love who have trusted in Jesus and found a home in Heaven? Or will facial recognition fail us? Will Heaven be a relational reset?
When we picture Heaven, we easily imagine a celestial city. But scripture says that Heaven is rather a new earth (Revelation 21:1, 4). If that’s the case, then I imagine Eden, but with humans on the other side of their mistakes, forgiven and redeemed. They’re still imbued with that signature touch of God and made in His image.
But enough philosophizing. What clues does scripture give us? Well, there’s Luke 9:29-33:
“As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ (He did not know what he was saying.)”
First of all, Moses and Elijah seem to recognize 1. Each other; and 2. Jesus. It doesn’t appear like they took times for introductions before chatting. And second, Peter, James and John, who like all good Jewish men revered Moses and Elijah, knew who they were seeing hang out with their master.
That’s a great clue. But I guess what convinces me most is who I know Jesus to be. Have you ever known God to disguise or hide good things from people He loves? Isn’t He in the business of opening our eyes so we may see? (2 Kings 6:17) Wasn’t Jesus awakening people’s awareness to Him and helping them recognize His goodness?
At this point in my dad’s life, he can’t recognize my face. He furrows his brow as he concentrates on my eyes, but nothing clicks. I look forward to the day Heaven’s breath fills his lungs; when he suddenly sees and recognizes his Savior, who, by the way, he’s never seen before. And I know he’ll spot the son my wife and I never got a chance to hold. For some reasons, I think the two of them will recognize each other.