Do you wish you could see the way that Jesus sees? In a recent post, 3-D Vision, I discussed how Jesus saw things perfectly. Jesus saw people, circumstances, situations, conversations — everything with perfect vision because his vision always came from the inside perspective of love. On the other hand, we often have flawed vision. Our vision can be distorted, seeing only from our own needs and our own perspective. In this post, “Open Your Eyes”, I want to expand on that idea of vision and discuss how our vision becomes “distorted” and what we can do to correct it.
Distorted Vision Comes from Self-Pity
In Luke 24, we read the story of two pilgrims traveling to a village called Emmaus. It was just after Jesus had been crucified. These men had been followers of Jesus. Now, with Jesus killed, they were walking back home, disillusioned. “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them” (Luke 24:15) but they did not recognize him. Even as Jesus spoke to them, they did not recognize him as Jesus. Instead, the Bible says “they stood still, their faces downcast” because they had “hoped that [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21.
These men had Jesus right next to them. He was personally walking with them. But they didn’t even realize who He was. Why? Because they were absorbed in their own self-pity. What these two men had hoped for from Jesus hadn’t come true. Their own desires had not been met. And, because of that self-pity, they couldn’t even recognize their Savior when He was right next to them.
Aren’t we like that at times? Don’t we also let our vision of Jesus and what He is doing in and around us become distorted and even blocked because we didn’t get what we wanted from God? It can happen easier than we want to admit. A boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with us. We don’t get the job we wanted. It rains on parade day. Whatever it might be for you or for me, the truth is that sometimes when we don’t get what we want, and we wallow in self-pity, distorting our ability to see Jesus right next to us.
Distorted Vision Comes from Self-Focus
Unfortunately, self-pity multiples into self-focus. What happens next in the story in Luke is that the two men relate how some of their companions “confused” them. (verse 22). The two travelers were confused by the stories of some of their friends. Some said that they had gone to Jesus’ tomb and it was empty and that they had seen an angel who said that Jesus was alive. Some others double-checked the tomb and also found it to be just as the first friends had said although they “did not see” Jesus. (verses 23-24).
The “companions” whom the travelers were talking about were Jesus’ closest disciples. They had been on the front lines with Jesus. They were the leaders that these men were starting to look up to. But, now, these two travelers refused to join in this wonderful, fantastic miracle experience that the “companions” had. Instead, the travelers remained self-focused and self-reliant.
Our vision to see Jesus and to see the world the way that He sees it becomes impaired when we refuse to participate in the God-experiences of others. We see and hear stories of lives being transformed by Jesus, marriages being healed, addictions being overcome, relationships being restored, forgiveness being offered, baggage being left behind. But, if they aren’t MY STORIES then I am not going to allow them to change my sight. “I’m only going to see God through my experiences,” we say.
“How foolish you are!” Jesus said to those two travelers (verse 25). He says the same to us when we refuse to participate in the experiences of others.
The Word Comforts
When our vision becomes blurred, distorted and impaired, there is still hope. In the story were are reading in Luke, the Bible says that Jesus heard the disillusionment of the travelers so He “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (verse 27) Then, when they had reached their destination, we are told that Jesus acted as if He was going farther but the pilgrims urged Jesus to stay with them. (verse 28). The travelers had heard the Word and they wanted more of it!
When we become disillusioned and distracted with self-pity, when we become self-absorbed in our own lives without seeing what God is doing in others, the one thing that can begin to clear our vision, the one thing that can give us hope, is the Word. As we read the Bible, as we study what God has said and is saying to us in Scripture, we gain new perspective, new vision. And, just like the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus, we want more!
Jesus: The Eye-Doctor
What happens next in the story is remarkable. It can be life-changing when you “grasp it.” Jesus sits down to eat with the pilgrims. While “at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him!” (Luke 24:30-31). Jesus “gave” them something that caused these men to see Jesus for who He was; he “gave” them something that opened their eyes.
And He does the same for us. When we spend time with Jesus, He will do something that will open our eyes and repair our vision. Jesus is the perfect eye-doctor. He may “give” us a verse that especially speaks to us on a particular day. He may give us a conversation that we so desperately need. He may give us insight and wisdom into a situation. He may give us peace that is beyond our understanding. And, on and on. That’s who God is — He is a graceful, merciful, loving God who desires for us to know Him, relate to Him and commune with Him so that we might see Him and the world around us better.