Thursday, April 22, 2010

T. M. Anderson: He Saw Jesus

Whenever you hear of a testimony from someone who claims to have seen our Lord how do you respond? Are you skeptical? Are you cynical? Do you question the person's sanity or honesty?

I agree that some fantastical reports of visions have been claimed by various folks. Frankly, I have been skeptical of many of them. However, I ran across an account from an unlikely source: the late Wesleyan preacher and Asbury College professor, Tony Marshall Anderson (1888-1979). One morning in January 1950 T. M. Anderson claimed a divine visitation during his prayer time. From his book, Prayer Availeth Much:
During the peaceful hours of the early morning I was praying and waiting before the Saviour when He suddenly revealed Himself to me. I saw Him as clearly as anyone ever saw Him in the days of His flesh. I ceased to pray, and remained quiet and speechless in His Presence. The moments seemed too sacred for me to break the sweet silence by prayer. What could I have said to Him? Was He not the answer to all prayer?

I do not know how long He lingered with me on that memorable morning. I was not aware of the passing of time. To me, all time had ceased, and eternity had begun. No language can express my boundless joy and happy surprise when He stood before me. I shall never forget the beauty of His face and the glory of His garment. The glory radiating from His Person filled the room with a soft silent light. He spoke not a word to me. His attitude was as One who listens attentively when you speak. I realized as never before in my life that He wanted me to pray. My heart was immediately burdened to pray for a visitation of God. I humbled myself in His Presence and put my head between His feet and poured out my soul in the agony of intercessory prayer.

The vision of Jesus satisfied my heart and gave me perfect contentment of mind regarding His willingness to answer prayer. I realized that He was the end of all seeking and the answer to all problems of life. I bowed low before Him, and opened my inmost being to welcome Him as my Lord and Master. I devoutly worshipped Him in spirit and in truth. To this gladsome hour He is as real as the flesh of my body and the earth beneath my feet. I have never had one doubt regarding His presence.
Was Anderson ill? Did he really see Jesus...the real Jesus? He writes from his work, Prevailing Prayer:
Was I a misguided soul, led astray by my own over-wrought imagination? Was I a hapless victim of a mental disorder? Could it be that the vision was a hallucination created out of my wishful thinking? These were some of the questions presented to my mind.

My searching of the Scriptures was rewarded by finding revealed truth to assure my heart before Him. I recalled the words of Jesus spoken to His disciples: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also ... He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him." The Savior spoke these words following the request of Philip, "Shew us the Father."

These words of the Savior glowed with a new light, and imparted a new meaning to my rejoicing heart. This promise was sufficient to confirm my faith in the reality of the Savior's manifestation. I needed no other promise to support my faith, and substantiate my sincere claim.
Again, this view came from a dyed-in-the-wool second blessing holiness preacher and teacher in the religious education department at Asbury College. Was he correct? Consider the Scripture...and the possibilities:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
(John 14.21 ESV)