This is the fifth installment in a series on apostolic calling.
As Christ gave sight to the blind, it is a sign for us, who are also blind, whom he enlightens until we perceive him, by which we present him to others.
Genesis 15:1-6 – “And behold, the word of the Lord came unto him (Abraham), saying, This shall not be thine heir (Eliezer of Damascus); but he that shall come forth (cf. Hebrews 11:12 – Isaac ‘sprang forth’ from Abraham who was as good as dead’) out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now towards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (vv. 4-6).
Under the stars, God inspired Abraham to ‘look with expectation and pleasure’ (cf. Hebrewחַבֶּט which is the Hiphil stem of the verb meaning ‘he caused him to look’, and if we include its imperative tense, it means, ‘I’m inspiring you right now so look at the Heavens: so shall your descendants be.’ As Abraham looked with the eyes of faith, God was at work, not only as the object of his faith but also the source of it. His sight was not bound by his circumstances; in fact, his faith was a type of sight, a ‘seeing’ so free that it was a renunciation of human effort to make the promise happen. As it is written, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
Abraham continued to see. In Genesis 22:1-18 at the last second God interrupted the obedience of Abraham as he was about to offer up Isaac, the son of the promise, showing him that, because of his trust in God to even raise his son from the dead, there would now be provided another ‘Lamb’, and that ‘God himself would see to it’. Being greatly relieved and greatly confirmed in his faith “Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen (cf. Hebrew, ’He shall be seen’). To be precise, this is a horrific foretelling of Jesus who would be seen ‘in the Mount of the Lord’ or in Mount Calvary (the very same geographical location!), i.e., seeing Christ on the Cross. Abraham was seeing this and named it accordingly.
Then in John 8:56, Jesus himself comments on this very passage and said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.” Abraham was seeing Jesus on the Cross at Golgotha. He saw this day! We must also ‘see’ this; it is the beginning of our sight. Astonishingly, the Lord said, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).
In the thirty-third Chapter of Exodus, Moses is interceding for Israel who had just made and then worshipped the golden calf, and is now hanging in the divine balance, ready to be destroyed. God’s first judgment was, “Behold, mine angel shall go before thee” (32:34). But for Moses, who spoke to God “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (33:11), the very presence of God must go with them, not just an Angel. The presence of God was not negotiable (33:16). As he throws himself and his nation upon the mercy of God, he can only ask for one thing, and this would be the conclusion of Moses whole prayer life: “I beseech thee, show me thy glory” (33:18). And the Lord said ‘yes!’ and passed by, covering Moses’ eyes from seeing the actual face of God, which is un-survivable to man, for there is so much glory. This is more evidence of God wanting to. . . waiting for. . . us to ask. . . to see his glory. Ask!
In Acts 2 we find Peter on the Day of Pentecost, speaking to a huge group of people who had happened to be in town. But they had just witnessed the outpouring of the Spirit. And they were in demand of an explanation of it (cf. Acts 2:13). Peter reasons with them from the Prophecy of Joel that this was evidence of the ‘last days’ that the Day of the Lord was at hand. Then he goes on to explain that by the Cross, no accident of fate, but ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God’, they slew Jesus but God raised him bodily from the dead, for death could not hold him. The message went deeper.
Here’s what they got: a quotation from the mouth of David in Psalm 16:25-28, where Peter connected the outpouring of the Spirit to the Resurrection of our Lord. He said, “For David speaketh concerning him (Jesus), I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad (cf. those present to see the disciples filled with the Spirit said, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” – Acts 2:11); moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life (or Christ’s Resurrection that David believed in); thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance” (or Christ’s face which David saw). So the outpouring of the Spirit meant tongues as a praise language, but even more than that, it signaled from David’s Prophecy that Jesus had been raised from the dead indeed, and the outpouring of the Spirit was further proof of it. In summary, God’s response to man’s sin was the Cross, his response to the Cross was the Resurrection, and his response to the Resurrection was the Outpouring of the Spirit. And his job is to “receive of mine (Christ’s), and show it unto you” (John 16:14), and that will produce sight.
But finally, David said that he was seeing Christ ahead of time, risen from the dead. He is describing a type of seeing that belongs to the NT experience, like Abraham did too. You need to see him too, and not just once but as David said, always!
Mark 10:46-52 – Bartimeus said to Jesus, “Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole” (vv. 51-52). Bartimeus literally got sight by faith; so can you. He is a sign to the human race: there is a blindness upon it, and only Christ can heal it.
John 5:19 – “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” This was Jesus explanation as to why the impotent man, sick for thirty-eight years, was instantly healed by Jesus, who simply said to him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (v.8). Jesus could only do what he saw his Father do. So it is true for us, to see what the Lord is doing, and only do that. This was Christ’s holy limitation he put on himself. Jesus had so much to offer just in himself. He is God the Son Almighty. The Devil played upon this in his temptation when Jesus had been fasting forty days. He said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”(Matthew 4:3). ‘Okay Jesus, it’s time for you to take matters into your own hands, if you really are somebody special. Prove yourself.’ But the Lord would not prove himself on Satan’s terms. Instead, he depended on ‘living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’. Love this lowliness; there’s such a draw here, which purpose reaches its goal at the Cross.
Will we see?
Let Jesus’ way be true of us. If we think we can accomplish the work of God apart from Jesus’ example to us, in looking at ourselves, in our own strength, and from our own frame of reference and perspective, we will get bored out of our minds and distracted, seeing very little really done in others. Meanwhile, this selflessness of Jesus, this humility, this greatness, in presenting the Father and not himself, is compelling. Will you be done with lesser things? Remember, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12). Go for nothing less.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “. . . Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. . . .” We are to ‘look to’ Jesus (cf. Greek ἀφορῶντες), ‘to fix your eyes on Jesus’, for he is the origin, the architect and completer of our faith. He inspires our faith. Whatever faith in God we have it is because he was there first electrifying it. From this view of Christ it can flow to others. Peter speaking to the lame man, “fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. . . In the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts.3:4-6). They were ready for the spontaneous. They made a demand upon his faith. They commanded his faith. They ‘had’ something to give the man because they had seen
the Lord risen and had come cannon-balling out of the upper room, filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). O to be filled and to see like that! Make this your highest priority: to walk in the promise, to see, and to perceive Jesus. Then, and only then, can you present him to others. As Isaiah said, “I saw the Lord. . . .” (Is. 6:8).