Links Daily Devotional

Seeing More and More

“For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:17, NIV)

So much of golf is visually enjoyed. The playing of the game is tactile, but the experience is made full by the landscapes stretching out before us—the way a fairway turns around a crooked bunker, the stately oaks framing the approach, the mountains providing backdrop to the green. Or is this a coastal course, with the ocean edging the hole and the birds circling above the green grass before diving again to find a meal?

They saw Christ—with their eyes and with their hearts—and they understood that he was the ultimate gift from God.From Liberty National’s views across the harbor at the New York skyline, to Bighorn’s desert waste areas, from Sahalee’s giant firs and cedars to Torrey Pines’ ravines and cliffs, all of this is our playing field. And the only way we can make a mess of it is to “make a miss of it”—that is, to get so busy grinding out shots that when a friend says in the clubhouse after the round, “I can’t imagine a more beautiful setting than this for golf,” you are reduced to a grunted response because all you’ve been thinking of are those four three-putts you let spoil your round.

Curiously, Jesus offered some powerful observations on the way people variably see (and hear) God. And in essence, he had this say: Too many people can’t see what God has made available in his Son.

You may wonder if there is a note of hubris there. Was Jesus saying for himself that there is none like him? In a way, yes. But he did so by first setting up the fact that a Messiah had long been promised, a Savior from God for the people. Now many men have taken this mantle upon themselves, and when they do, we call this a “Messiah complex.” But when you are the Messiah, when God has sent you (and he has only done this once!), then you possess no more of a complex when you say you are the Messiah than a boss has a complex when he says he is the boss. What’s true is true.

What’s not true is that everyone agrees with you. Quite tragically there were many who stared Jesus right in the face, who heard his words for themselves, and who missed it. Of them, Jesus quoted Isaiah, saying, “They hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” More spiritually fatal, their “heart has become calloused” (Matthew 13:15).

So Jesus made clear to the disciples how blessed they were in their seeing. They recognized him for who he was, and were allowed access to the Savior in a way that even the greatest of prophets and most righteous of Old Testament people were not. They saw Christ—with their eyes and with their hearts—and they understood that he was the ultimate gift from God.

In one way, we share this advantage, for we have the gospel accounts. We can read of Jesus’ life as the prophets could not. They saw only a shadow in the distance. Yet, we sometimes think we are disadvantaged, for Jesus does not walk physically with us as he did the disciples. In the hours when that “absence” weighs you down, remember that Jesus addressed this lack of sight as well, when he told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Believer, believe! When you do, you will see what your heart already knows to be true!

Jeff Hopper
February 9, 2016
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