“Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.” These words by J. Oswald Sander from his book Spiritual Leadership speak to the importance of looking beyond the obvious. Of seeing below the surface. Of seeing with insight and understanding.
Through the ages many have failed to see what should have been obvious. None more so than those in Jesus’ day who lacked spiritual vision. Who could not see who He was. Who could not see His mission. Who could not see His Godhood.
Jesus told Thomas, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.”
Yet on that fatal Friday when Jesus was crucified, the crowds that watched just saw another man executed. They saw a man beaten. His brow bloodied. His back cut to ribbons. His body bruised. Severely so. They looked upon him whom they crucified, but really didn’t see.
Helen Keller once said, “The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” Well, there was no crowd more pathetic than those who called for the crucifixion of Christ. They looked, but didn’t see.
When I see the cross, I see an innocent man being executed A sinless man suffering. A guiltless man who was really the “God-man.”
I see my Savior. My Redeemer. My Deliverer. I see him who came from heaven to earth on a rescue mission. To restore my relationship to God. To purchase my ransom. To save me from sin.
I see the wondrous love of God. His mercy. His grace. His goodness. I see a love that is unconditional. Authentic. But also undeserving.
When I look at the cross, I see what the Hebrew writer meant when he wrote, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
However, I have an advantage. All they could see on that Friday was a savage beating. A cruel crucifixion. A horrendous death. But my vision is enhanced by Sunday. I have the advantage of seeing what Mary Magdalene saw very early on that Sunday morning. I see the stone rolled away. I see an empty tomb. I see a risen Savior. I see the greatest evidence of His Deity. I see through the power of the resurrection His victory over death and the Devil.
And I see the significance of Sunday worship. Of collective communion. Of the memorial feast. We celebrate, not just a life. Or a death. But a living Lord. A risen Savior. A reigning King.
When you attend services Sunday, do more than look. See more than just unleaven bread and grape juice. Look beyond the scourging. The suffering. And the slain Lamb. So when you eat and drink the supper you will see Friday’s cross through the lens of Sunday’s empty tomb.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman