2.4.14 Believing is Seeing

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Epiphany- Day 29

Psalm 123 NIV

I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.

As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
till he shows us his mercy.

Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us,
for we have endured much contempt.

We have endured much ridicule from the proud,
much contempt from the arrogant.

 

John 11:25-44 NIV

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.”But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

CONSIDER THIS. . . .

Conventional wisdom teaches us that seeing is believing. Jesus teaches just the opposite: believing is seeing. To mature into a real Christian means we must leave behind our elementary and often cynical demands of, “I will believe it when I see it.” You, Christian, are of a different spirit. You are learning that sight is the fruit of faith. Remember, the writer of Hebrews captured great wisdom when he wrote, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen,” and “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (ch.11)

Jesus made the question abundantly clear, “Do you believe this?” And in case we missed it he asks again, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

We search for evidence in order that we might have faith when all the while faith is the evidence. This teaching challenges us to the core. Epiphanies do not come in order to help you believe. They come because you already believe. This is why the secrets of the Kingdom of God have been made known to you. Faith is not blind, but it does require a leap. Faith is only blindness to our former way of seeing. The leap you must make requires leaving your former way of seeing; a launching  out into the deep inner confidence of  unseen realities. This is where the Glory dwells.

It’s why you lift your eyes to him whose throne is in Heaven. (jdw)

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