Quiet Influence

In his book entitled The Fall of Fortresses, Elmer Bendiner described his experiences in World War II B-17 bombers. During a bombing run over Kassel, Germany, antiaircraft fire hit his plane. The ground crew found eleven 20mm shells in the fuel tank. Miraculously, none of the explosive charges detonated.

The next day the pilot asked the armorers for a shell as a good luck souvenir. However, intelligence officers had confiscated the ammunition.

The pilot later discovered none of the shells contained an explosive charge. Inside one shell, however, they found a note from an anonymous Czechoslovakian factory worker. The scrawled message said, “This is all we can do for you now.”

Quiet influence. Small deeds that result in huge results. Whether we realize it, our words, actions, attitudes, and example affect others around us. Our influence extends far beyond our immediate contacts.

In football, offensive linemen use a technique called “influence blocking,” which depends on misdirection rather than force. For example, a play calls for the running back to go up the middle. However, the guard pulls like he’s blocking for a sweep. The defensive player follows him, creating a hole for the back. Without ever making contact, the lineman influences others around him.

People are always watching, and our quiet influence affects others around us. We may never know what impact it makes upon their lives. We are challenged to lead lives worthy of example. It might make a difference in this world and the next.

Post-Resurrection Appearances

According to the four Gospels, Jesus appeared to his followers for forty days following the Resurrection. Then he ascended into heaven. The accounts of the post-resurrection appearances vary by author.

The conflated stories state the risen Lord greeted Mary at the empty tomb. Later Jesus joined two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Easter night he appeared to a gathering of disciples in the Upper Room. A week later he challenged “Doubting” Thomas to believe.

Paul compiled a somewhat different list in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, including Cephas (Simon Peter), the Twelve, a crowd of 500 believers, James (the brother of Jesus?) and Paul. The Gospel writers did not record several of these incidents, and the apostle provides no additional details.

In Paul’s account, Jesus appeared to Simon Peter first. Perhaps the apostle never heard about Mary’s encounter at the tomb. Or Paul chauvinistically gave Peter top billing. We can only imagine what the Lord said to the Big Fisherman who had denied him three times in the high priest’s courtyard.

Then Christ appeared to over 500 disciples at one time. This feels like a big miss by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I wish Paul had included more information about the incredible event.

Jesus also appeared to James, who was most likely Jesus’ brother who eventually led the Jerusalem church. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, his mother and siblings thought Jesus had lost his mind. On the far side of the empty tomb, MAYBE Jesus greeted James with the words, “So, little brother, what do you think now?

The church professes that Jesus ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. However, I believe the post-resurrection appearances continue to occur. The Holy Spirit appears in our lives daily. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the risen Lord is all about.