I was walking in a local park recently when a couple approached. As we passed each other I just heard one of them say,’ I’m going to have a look see when I get home.’
How true is that? Only that morning I’d asked my daughter to get something for me and as she opened the fridge the reply came, ‘we haven’t got any.’ When it was there right in front of her on the shelf! We look put we don’t always see something do we? It’s hidden in plain sight!!
In the context of my last blog, ‘fix your eyes on Jesus’ this seems so relevant. We look, but do we see Him?
John 9 recounts the story of the man born blind from birth. It’s the Sabbath when Jesus spits on the ground then covers his eyes with mud made from the saliva. Unconventional to say the least. He asks the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Whatever caused this man to be obedient to the request, he goes and comes back seeing. The man can see for the first time in his life but a lot of other unseen things surface too. Rather than rejoice with the man at this miracle, the reactions that follow reveal people’s hearts. Doubts and questions surface over:-
- the truth of the man’s original condition (v 8 is this the man who used to sit and beg?)
- the timing of Jesus to work on the Sabbath and therefore not respecting the traditions and culture of their religion (v 16 This man is not from God for he does not keep the Sabbath)
- the testimony of his parents (v 18 They called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them)
- the theology of God using a ‘sinner’ like Jesus who couldn’t possibly work from their understanding of God. (v 24 we know this man is a sinner – v 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from)
The people raising this question, twice, were Pharisees: men who were upholding and set apart to instruct others on who God was. They spent their lives looking for God and yet when He turned up in plain sight they could not see Him. They looked but couldn’t see. We really are blind aren’t we if we think we can see without Jesus?
It’s not the only time it happened either. Having been in the wilderness for 40 days Jesus ‘returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee,‘He goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath and picks up the scroll and reads Isaiah 61. Luke 4 v 20 says, ‘and eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.’ They’re looking but do they see?. This starts off promising as they ‘marvel at the gracious words’ but soon the limitations appear again as they react to His:-
- parentage – (is this Joseph’s son? rather than the Son of God)
- the promise of prophecy fulfillment (the declaration of Isaiah 61 being fulfilled and present in their midst caused such a reaction they took Jesus to the edge of the cliff to throw Him over!)
They, like the other Pharisees are offended by Jesus. The realities of the church and cultural traditions are challenged by the realities of the kingdom being present. So rather than looking and seeing what is in plain sight they reject it. They reject Him. Karla McClurg puts it like this, ‘Jesus has barely begun his public ministry, and people begin already to make conjectures as to who he is, what his motivation is, whether or not he will live up to the rumours they have heard that he is the longed for Messiah. Their own hopes and longings get tangled in their desire for him to be for them what they long for him to be. Will they leave space for him just to be who he is?’
If we are honest we can do this so often too. We look for Him, searching to find evidence of Him working or of His presence with us. We look to Him to answer our prayers and situations. But what about just looking at Him and allowing Him to be who He is not what we want to make him in our limited head knowledge?
You see, ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith’ is more of a challenge than we perhaps realise. It is so easy to become entangled by the weight of distractions that blind us.
There is no profound revelation to draw out of these scriptures I’ve mentioned. The only challenge to move from only looking but actually seeing is :-
- to stop fitting Him into our ideas and fixing our eyes on Him instead
- to cease reasoning the information and receive the Person
- to block our incessant need for judgments of right and wrong and jump into the mystery of God
- to refrain from analyzing our thoughts and accept His actions
We need to untangle ourselves from the stories we have been telling ourselves and let Him tell the story of who He is – however unconventional or unexpected that may be. If we can let go our limited knowledge to actually, ‘know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,‘ so that we’may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ (Eph 3 v 19)
That’s a wonderful promise isn’t it that Christ is far beyond anything we can imagine or gain knowledge about. He wants us to surpass our looking and go further still to see , know and experience the fullness of who He is. We’re not meant to look in black and white but see in full colour!
We can stop searching as it’s really is as simple as seeing what is already given in the Person of Jesus. Karal Mcclurg goes on to say, ‘ Maybe this is why he says to the curious, “Come and see.” Don’t try first to learn all about me as though that were possible. Just be with me. Watch me. Let me be myself as I become who I am becoming, and you just be yourself, too. We’ll let go of our preconceived ideas of who we “should” be and discover our true identities.’