March 19, 2012

Seeing Jesus is not about my eyesight

In Bible times, some Greeks came to Philip and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:20–21) The Scripture does not say whether they ever did, but in those days, seeing Jesus was a bit more complicated than we might think. He could be standing in front of a person and that person might not know who they were looking at.
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him . . . . When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:15-16; 30-31)
This has significance for those who are not part of the family of God. I want others to know Jesus, but realize that all my talking, and even any demonstrations of His great love and grace depend on the power of the One who can close or open eyes, not on what I do. This is humbling.

Besides that, He knows the hearts of those who cannot see. These Greeks may have been honest seekers of the God who forgives sins and changes lives. They also may have been thrill seekers or name-droppers who wanted to go home and tell their families who they ran into in the marketplace while they were in Jerusalem. Jesus reveals Himself to those ready to see, not to the mildly curious or those with frivolous motivations.

There is significance in this for me too. As today’s devotional reading says, Jesus is often present in my life in ways of which I am not aware. I might be praying for Him to do some great thing and cannot see any results. It seems as if He has not heard me. For weeks and months and years I might not see Him doing anything.
Then He suddenly is there, showing Himself and His hand in that prayer request through unexpected ways. Actually, He often keeps me from seeing what He is doing until He is at the finish line with it. Then I realize, like the two disciples above, that He was walking by my side in that thing all along, or at least long before I suspected He was involved.

Of course, I wonder why He does this appearing and disappearing. The only reason that makes sense is that He wants me to walk by faith, not by sight. Trusting Him is about believing what I cannot see. As soon as I can see, then I focus on the results or the method or the thrill of answered prayer, instead of continuing to put my faith in Him. He is the One who promised to never leave me or forsake me, whether I can see Him and what He is doing — or not. 

Lord, walking with You is not about my ability to see, but about Your ability to reveal. Will I trust You no matter what my eyes are doing? Will I keep moving along the path, assured of Your presence even when the path is dark and unmarked? Will I keep my focus on You even in the tension between knowing for sure and not seeing or knowing for sure? I’m glad that You open eyes, and that You always know what I need to see — and when I need to see You. Keep my focus on You, whether I can see You or not.

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