11 August 2014

Encountering Jesus ~ of illusions and fun house mirrors ~

Fun house mirrors.

They distort and make you look pretty silly. You are not what you appear to be when you gaze into those mirrors. It's pretty funny, unless you are hoping to make an accurate assessment of your own appearance based on what you see: Am I fat? Am I thin? Are my clothes on right-side out? Is my hair sticking out funny? Are my buttons lined up properly? Do the colors of my clothes match? Is my make-up smeared? Did I spill spaghetti down my front at lunch and forget about it before I ran out of the house? ...There are lots of answers a mirror can give, as long as it reflects rightly.

It is also critical that we perceive that reflection as well. A mirror is only a valuable tool as long as we can see.... 
“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Jesus said,a “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?"
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
In this text, we move from the reality of physical blindness healed to spiritual blindness that could be healed. As MacArthur says, "...throughout the Bible, really, throughout the whole Bible, blindness is used metaphorically to represent the human condition of corruption and fallen-ness, and the inability to comprehend God and divine truth. In fact, in Isaiah 43:8, we read of the people who are blind even though they have eyes. In Jeremiah 5:21, the people who are foolish and senseless, who have eyes but do not see. In Isaiah 56:10, the corrupt leaders of Israel are described as watchmen who are blind, all of who see nothing. Jesus called the Pharisees blind men, and then He called them blind guides... Paul, according to Acts 26, was sent with the gospel to the nations 'to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light.' That had happened to him on the Damascus road, hadn’t it? He had been blind, spiritually. He was blinded, physically. And then, he was given sight both physically and spiritually in that Damascus road experience. All sinners... are darkened in their understanding [Ephesians 4]. ...[Jesus, Himself, in John 3] said that sinners love the darkness rather than the light because they cherish their evil deeds. Revelation 3:17 characterizes the world of sinners as wretched, naked, miserable, poor, and blind. ...the Bible speaks of blindness as a metaphor for spiritual ignorance, spiritual darkness, spiritual corruption, the inability to know God or to know the truth. That natural blindness, because of sin, is compounded by Satan’s power and deception, which makes a kind of double-blindness, spoken of in 2 Corinthians 4: the god of this world, Satan, has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 

Naturally blinded, satanically blinded."

That's pretty serious stuff...

Sadly, most people are clueless of just how disabled they are when it comes to seeing.

The biggers and I have been traveling up to a wildlife rehab center - and volunteering. Recently we worked with another volunteer who rather amazed me with her confidence as she interacted with the animals. I knew I wasn't nearly so comfortable with wild critters.

Then, a car horn beeped from the front of the property and she said she had to leave. When I asked her why, she said she was legally blind and so one of the county buses was her transportation. That horn announced the bus's arrival.

I was shocked.

Sometimes... the people we think can see clearly really can't.

Sometimes... people who can't see have a false confidence because they can't see the danger all around them.

I think we can see that with the Pharisees: everyone else assumed they could see and in their blindness to what Jesus was offering, they confidently assumed that their vision was perfect and that all of their assumptions and interpretations were likewise perfect.

Scary place to be.

MacArthur continues, "When this blindness is persistent, and impenitent, when this blindness continues relentlessly, there is a third kind of blindness, a divine judgment blindness that brings about a terminal blindness. Isaiah said, Isaiah 44:18: 'They do not know, nor do they understand.' Why? Because God '...has smeared their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so they cannot comprehend.' That’s exactly what God said to Isaiah in the vision in chapter 6. They will hear and yet not understand. They will see and yet not perceive. They will not believe, because they have been hardened as a judgment of God. In John 12:39 and 40, those who persist in unbelief cannot believe, because, as Isaiah said, “ 'He has blinded their eyes, hardened their hearts, that they would not see, perceive, and be converted.' At that point, judicially blinded by God, they cannot see, they cannot perceive, they cannot be converted. Paul wrote of such a judgment in Romans 11:8. 'God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.' This is dangerous reality. Natural blindness is damning. Compounded satanic blindness is even more damning. Terminal blindness is a judgment of God, is the removal of all hope."

The Bible is pretty clear. The way of sinners is blindness and darkness.

All throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments... Jesus' coming is often spoken about as the coming of Light... the seeing of a great Light... the shining of Light.

Thinking of Jesus as the Light of the world immediately brings to mind this song:

A sign shall be given a virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing undiminished deity
The glory of the nations a light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace His warm reality
Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us
For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come
Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us
So what will be Your answer? Will You hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son but gave Him for us all
On earth there is no power there is no depth or height
That could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ
Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us

Have you beheld that the Light has come?
Or are you still stumbling, blind and in darkness?

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 4736 - 4766)

Bubble wrap fun!

friends and sleepovers and playing

a baby coyote

really good books to read

getting all those events on the calendar

more good contacts and potential meetings

studying through a really hard passage in God's Word... finally getting a glimmer of sense... and finding it incredibly challenging... and a whole new direction to pray for current events in this world

Minecraft multiplayer conversations... when you aren't a player

sharing a Bible study book on Hebrews

a full heart

reading Psalms

listening to gospel songs done Appalachian folk style

little girls that clean up their mess

looking forward to upcoming birthday parties

getting to spend the night with a friend - who lives close enough that you can bike there and back all on your own... and that feeling of grown-up independence!

a brand new to me creamy white turtle neck sweater - don't think I can have too many of those when we move to Quebec

those littler, 12 oz bottles of Coke - they make such a nice treat

big girls decluttering... all on their own initiative

really liking using soap nuts to do our laundry

finishing up another season of Alias videos with Brendan

watching a really, really old musical with my girls - and hearing what they found remarkable

finding the photo from our first prayer card

praying we'll hear back soon from a church considering our support

praying we'll hear back soon and definitively from a few churches considering whether they are going to continue supporting us because we are moving to Quebec

making plans to go and look at houses here so we have some ideas about what Tim should look for when he goes to look at houses up there

beginning to look at cars for drivers-in-training to use... someday...

that God has protected those drivers-in-training

that we can trust God, because He is sovereign and sufficient... always

little girl whispered conversations

hair by Mary Michelle... always good for a smile

back scratches from Elsie Mae

  Ten most recent posts in this series: 
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series.

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