2.20.14 There is only one reality and only faith can perceive it

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Epiphany- Day 45

2 Kings 6:8-18 TNIV

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

 

Matthew 20:29-34 TNIV

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

CONSIDER THIS. . .

Two of the big traps we followers of Jesus  fall into is that of  dualistic thinking and creating false dichotomies. We speak in terms of the “seen” and the “unseen,” which quickly leads to  speaking of the “physical” and the “spiritual.” The truth is there is only one reality. The trouble is with our capacity to perceive it. It is the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God who both creates reality and reveals it to us. The big question: do we have ears to hear and eyes to see? Faith is not optimistic or hopeful imagining. Faith is God given capacity of perception. Faith does not come by trying harder to imagine what is unseen, or worse– just naming and claiming it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. And the Word of God reveals the World of God. Faith is the ever-growing Holy Spirit empowered capacity to perceive the fullness of reality.

If we learn anything from the Incarnation, God becoming human, we learn that the dualities and false dichotomies of our former way of thinking are collapsed. Jesus is indivisibly  fully God and fully human. He prays for “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Consider the Elisha story. The naked eye could only perceive that the city was surrounded by an army of chariots and horses. It struck terror in the heart of the servant. Note the prophet’s response, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” This word from the Lord, along with the prayer of of the prophet opened the eyes of the servant to perceive the true reality– he saw the hills filled with horses and chariots of fire surrounding them. And in a twist of paradox and reversal, the eyes of the enemy armies were blinded. Take a minute to reflect on this mind-bending reality.

So what’s the application here? We must humble ourselves with the blind beggars on the road from Jericho and cry out to Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us! We want our sight!”

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