The Bare Soul -
September 1, 2013
John 12:20-21 - Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
Seeing something whereas just hearing about it can totally change one's perspective. Most of us have undoubtedly heard the analogy of attempting to explain the Gospel to someone that doesn't have "ears to hear or eyes to see" -- that it is like trying to describe a sunset to a person that was born blind. Hearing about it is totally inadequate to the visual experience. While we can truly experience sensory delights through our hearing such as a loving voice of a mother or a melodic cantata performed by an accomplished ensemble, the visual experience coupled with the auditory enhances the experience ten-fold.
No other malady in the New Testament drew more derision as did blindness. In John 9:1-3, Jesus' disciples question Him regarding being born without sight. The disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." Later in this chapter (John 9:34), we find the Pharisees mocking this man who received his sight from Jesus saying, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?" There was a clear understanding from these texts that those born blind were considered as outcasts from the grace of God and excluded from His love. Undoubtedly, that is why John the Apostle dedicated an entire chapter to this important life lesson regarding who was truly blind and who truly could see. Jesus told the Pharisees that were following Him, at the end of this chapter (John 9:41), that ... "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains." However, there is an important distinction to make regarding who truly sees and who doesn't.
In Isaiah 6:1, the prophet had a vision that would forever change his life. "In the year of King Uzziah's death, I [Isaiah] saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple." The first words out of the prophets mouth were not, "Wow, this is incredible, God! I need to go tell that corrupt and rebellious nation Israel what an awesome and glorious God you are because I have truly seen who You are. Maybe I should start a TV ministry or write a book?" No, the first thing that Isaiah dealt with was his own understanding of his utter sinfulness: "Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5) A few verses later, we hear from the prophet again when he volunteers for the prophetic ministry that the Lord God has destined for Isaiah. A true vision of who God is will inevitably change the beholder, for God will never reveal Himself to someone who is not ready for the revelation and for the calling to follow. (Even Jonah, although he at first resisted, heeded the calling after the revelation of who God wanted him to fulfill to the city of Nineveh [see the Book of Jonah]).
Seeing God or Jesus is paramount in order to become truly His in this lifetime. Many will be in heaven who have never truly experienced seeing God as Isaiah did, or as those who walked with Jesus in His lifetime. However, even as the Greeks who desired to see Him (as stated in the opening scripture), we should all desire to see Jesus in this lifetime for that is the thing that will truly change us for the life to come. God is overjoyed when a sinner comes to salvation and embraces the justification that His Son bought for the entire world by His shed blood. Luke 15:7-10 states that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that turns to the Lord and accepts His free gift of salvation. Beloved, there is so much more than merely accepting His wonderful gift and hoping that this takes care of our "fire insurance" premiums! There is so much more than merely escaping hell and waiting for Glory in the "sweet by and by"! The writer of Hebrews tells us to ... "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14) Sanctification or "to be set apart for His purposes" is not implicit of just the life to come, but is available to us all here on earth. There is opportunity for us all, through obedience to His Spirit, to be set apart for His pleasure while we wait for His appearing (whether we die or see Him in the sky!). We should all desire to give ourselves totally to Him in this lifetime, not only to partake of His nature (see the fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22,23) but for no other reason than He is worthy of our love and adoration because He gave us everything -- that is, the death of His Son for our redemption. Our utmost desire should be that of those who sought Jesus in ancient Jerusalem, "Lord, we desire to see you!" Only as we truly see Him will our lives be changed and readied for Glory in the "sweet here and now"!
Lord Jesus, we want to see you ... to be changed by You in Your magnificent presence. Even as Isaiah was changed in a moment of revelation, give us the "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You". Enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may truly behold your majesty. Then, send us forth to change the world for which you died. In your glorious Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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"Seeing Jesus" was originally published on November 16, 2008