Can You See?
But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind. – 2 Peter 1:9
I was not a great student in college. To be honest, I didn’t really try hard. I did just enough to get the grades I needed to graduate, just enough to stay in school so I could party another day. To be brutally honest, I didn’t care. I was lost. I could not see. So I had little reason to hope for a good future.
You might say, as a student, I was like Peter. Peter went fishing all night long, but he didn’t catch anything. I procrastinated and then stayed up all night to study for tests and write papers. That’s right, I didn’t “catch” anything either. I got the grade, but I didn’t really learn anything.
When I crammed for tests, something happened to me as a consequence. After long hours with little sleep under the lights in the library, I would look up and everything was blurry. I had my eyes examined. The doctor said I’m nearsighted. So I began to wear glasses.
I was a rebel, but I knew I better follow the doctor’s orders. I’m not blind, but it would be dangerous for me and other drivers if I were to drive without glasses. I wear the glasses because I need to see, for my own good and for others.
We are intended to see.
Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, heard about all the things Jesus was doing while he was in prison. So he sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if he really is the Messiah, or should we look for someone else. Jesus said, “Go report all the things I’m doing. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cleansed, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
Then he said something interesting: “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
If you cannot see clearly, you might stumble.
Then he asked the people about John, “What did you go out to the wilderness to see?”
Jesus questioned the people’s ability to see.
He said, “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
How we see affects what we see.
Jesus shows a little humor when he teases those who think they see, but do not:
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. – Matt. 11: 25
Can you imagine being there? What if you were a brilliant student, a scholar or a leader with academic credentials? Imagine a carpenter’s son, an itinerant preacher saying, “You can study all night long, but you cannot see. You will never understand.
It does not matter how wise or intelligent you are; God can hide things from you.
God says, “I will reveal things to small children before I allow you to see them.”
Seeing is important.
As believers, we need to see in order to know our calling. And if you are to lead others toward God’s kingdom, you need to see beyond the nose on your face.
Peter says we should “make every effort” to add to our faith several essential qualities. He says they will keep us “from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then he says, “But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind.”- 2 Peter 1:5-9
Peter knows. You can have faith, but still not see.
Recall how Peter declared, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” And Jesus praised him. He said, “That was revealed to you by my Father.” You can see because of your faith.
But then, Peter fails to add to that faith the qualities that help him to see further. Without moral goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly-kindness, and love, Peter was short-sighted. Peter tried to correct his Rabbi when Jesus explained how he must suffer. “No! Not on my watch!,” Peter impetuously declared. That’s when Jesus rebuked Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”
Peter learned that he was near-sighted.
Peter needed further instruction. He needed to see Jesus in ways he had not yet seen him.
To fulfill the great commission, we must see Jesus.
We must see the kingdom. And we must see beyond ourselves if we are going to lead others to Jesus.
Post Two – From a series of posts on Seeing God