Believing is Seeing

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was 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, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:25-32)

Sometimes the elephant in the room really is impossible to see. When Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples were as slow to recognize him as they had been slow to understand his predictions regarding his death in the first place.

When we see the sun sink beneath the horizon at sunset, we know that in fact we are witnessing the Earth rotating on its axis, rather than the motion of the sun. But before Copernicus, most people took what they saw and interpreted it as the sun moving instead of the Earth. The people of Jesus day could read the words of the Bible as easily as we do today. But they interpreted them in a different way. That affected how they saw the events of Jesus’ life before his resurrection. After his resurrection, Jesus explained the familiar words of scripture in brand new ways for them, helping them to understand that what had happened to Jesus was not a defeat, not a mistake, but in fact what the Bible had foretold all along for the Messiah. Only after Jesus had retrained them, could they see the world as it actually was. At that moment, they suddenly recognized Jesus was there, alive just as he’d predicted all along.

We see what we believe, and it took Jesus’ words to help them believe the truth so that they could see indeed.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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