Christ is risen!
There’s an old Jewish proverb that says “What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.” Of course, the ancient Latin playwright, Plautus, famously declared “Seeing is believing all the world over.”
So what is it about seeing, or observing, that makes believing possible? It has everything to do with how we humans “know” things. You see (wow, it’s even in our language!), we humans were made in God’s image to become like Him, and He made us with 5 (at least) senses. And these senses help us take in information about our world. This is why even the blind, or others who are challenged in other senses, find that their healthy senses become heightened to make up for their lack on other areas. We humans were made to know our world. Of course, it’s also true that “looks can be deceiving.” Wow, this may be more complicated than I thought.
Look at our lesson today in John 6:40-44:
The Lord said to the Jews who came to him: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Our Lord Jesus tells the Jews who came to Him (by the way, this is a significant phrase) that eternal life is seeing the Son and believing in Him. And they struggled with this because they thought they knew Him already as just a run of the mill fellow. The Lord’s words, His teachings, caused them some trouble because they were only seeing Him as one of them rather than fully seeing Him for Who He is.
Frankly, we make that mistake all too often. C.S. Lewis said “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.” (The Weight of Glory)
All day long we meet one another and interact with one another without truly seeing them for what they really are: Persons created in God’s Image intended to become by grace what He is by nature.
This is the mistake we make with Jesus. We want Him to be a religious philosopher, or a moral teacher, or even an “ascended master.” But He is much more than this and it is our blindness to this reality that keeps us deluded about our own identity. It’s when we “see” Jesus Christ for WHO He IS that calls out to something deep inside of us that we instinctively know but have allowed the brokenness of our world to hide from us that cripples our sight in seeing Him and entering into His Eternal LIFE.
This is why our historic Orthodox Faith has such an insistence on identifying Jesus as the “theanthropos;” the God-Man. Jesus IS what we are called to be. He IS the mysterious marriage of the Divine and human in flesh. And that’s why the Jews of the Lord’s day were so offended by His words. They only saw a small part of Who He is, and it cost them dearly. Someone recently asked me how I answer people’s questions about Orthodoxy and I told them I always start with the full identity of Jesus and the loving miracle of God becoming flesh for our sake. It is seeing Jesus as the Church teaches me to see Jesus that then allows me to see myself and everyone around me as God intended us to be!
Today, do you see Jesus Christ for Who He really IS? Our historic Christian faith invites you to abandon your blindness to see Christ and then see yourself. Then the Church invites you to a life of repentance to wake you up so that you will never make the deadly mistake of being blind to your true self, your neighbor’s true self, and to the Lord Jesus Who loves you and has given Himself for you SO THAT you will be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Will you share this devotional with friends and family today and invite them to join us in a daily adventure of a living faith? Thanks!