September 9, 2018-More Than Meets the Eye

“You can really sum up a person by their eyes.”

Dee Ohi, Marcy’s supervisor over 25 years ago insisted this was true.

And to be sure she was no light weight intellectually; she had a PHD in English, she was the head technical writer in that division of the company and spoke French fluently.  She was really smart.

She said a good look at someone’s eyes told her all she needed to know about their relative intelligence and capacity to think on a productive level.

Now I have learned in life that every hard and fast rule does have exceptions, and never gave her comments much credence until I came across the Asian art of Ming Xiang which translated means face reading.

Ming Xiang is a part of traditional folk lore in many Asian communities, considered by some to be a part of the five arts or by others metaphysical…but that is debated.

Regardless some believe that Ming Xiang or Face Reading is an art and discipline where you can surmise the character, resourcefulness, assertiveness and creativity of an individual by their facial features.

For example; a long nose may suggest good fortune, eyebrows may indicate power, and their eyes may tell you how generous they are.

Now let me be clear, I don’t believe for a second anything is predetermined absolutely, but when I read about this, I could not help but wonder if Dee was unwittingly affected by this way of thinking culturally, because as I remembered, she was married to a first generation Asian man.

And even though I never get caught up in folklore or the metaphysical, I do have to admit that most cultures do refer to the eyes as the windows of the soul.

For example…some years ago Marcy’s brother worked as a county prison guard.  And while most of the residents were quite moderate in their criminal activity, one young man came in accused of murder, and Chris’s wife, Janet, said his eyes looked like he had no soul.

Another example is all the songs that hi lite the eyes of their beloved as the reason for their attraction that helped blossom their love for that pretty girl or that handsome boy.

And then the last example, which is more true than I like to admit, is when Janet and I are in long meetings, and she can always tell when I am tuning out because my eyes start to glaze over and she knows I have transported myself somewhere else in my head; the proverbial, “The lights are on but nobody’s home.”

Whether it’s folksy, metaphysical, cultural or actual we do see our physical means of vision as more than meets the eye.

And in our Old Testament Prophecy of Isaiah…SO DOES OUR SAVING GOD.

“Behold, your God will come with a vengeance…He will come and save you!”

To the Israelite living in the 8th century BC, the need for God’s salvation was virtually impossible to see.

First, they were not captives of anyone and would not be for almost another two centuries.  No one would be alive that heard this prophecy or saw Isaiah’s scroll unfurled and prophesied for the first time.

But their need for God’s redemption from slavery was as certain to happen as God’s promise to redeem them from captivity which we read today.

Babylon would race across the Fertile Crescent and erase any vestiges of the Assyrian Empire, and put the Jews in captivity in the process of doing so.

In captivity in Babylon they would read Isaiah’s prophecy again and this time, their eyes would be open!

New Priests would read to new parishioners who would see these words with a whole new set of eyes.  Now open to understand God’s Holy Words.

It would be a tough way to see, but they refused to open their eyes before, now they would have no choice.

When my oldest son Micah was a little toddler, he always got up long before Marcy and I would want to on my day off.

When he was too little to get out of the crib it was no problem, because he would just entertain himself with his stuffed animals until we were ready to get up.

But when he figured out how to climb out of the crib, sleeping in was no longer an option.

Initially he would play with toys in his room, and then he would come in our room and stare at us bedside.  Then he would climb into the bed and sit on one of us. We always kept our eyes shut tight; because if he thought we were awake it was game over.

For the most part that would buy us another 5-10 minutes, but eventually he would get bored doing that as well and take matters into his own hands.

I don’t know if you ever noticed this about me, but I have been cursed with very long eye lashes, which is awesome if you are a girl, but terrible if you are a boy.

So when I say Micah took matters into his own hands, I mean he took my eyelashes between his little fingers and pulled my tightly shut eyelids open and commanded me, by saying, “Daddy, get up!”

Today it is as if God is grabbing an entire nation by the eyelashes, and making them do what they refused to do on their own, WAKE UP!

That’s right, they were purposely closing their eyes to the one that mattered most, and at times even willfully undermining Him as well.

You all remember Isaiah’s prophecy two weeks ago, the Israelites were selfish, worshipping falsely and listening to the salty lies of Satan himself.

You also remember that Yahweh made sure their eyes were not opened until He was ready for them to see again.

And that time would come…NOT in the 8th century, and not wholly in the 6th century either, but in another age of enlightenment altogether.

In Matthew 11, after giving mission instructions; Jesus resumes his travels in the cities and villages of Galilee.

This was the very region where the Assyrians and the Babylonians took their ancestors into captivity, not to be returned until Cyrus the Great repatriated them after Babylon was no more.

Here John the Baptist sends messengers wondering, “Is this Jesus of Nazareth the one whom the Prophets of Old foretold was coming to save?”

Jesus tells them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them! And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Jesus words were earth shattering, revolutionary and ultimately prophecy fulfilling.

Eyes formally blind to the truth are now open wide to the truth standing right in front of them.

Jesus words “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me” rings true even today.

Because Jesus is very offensive to this world; the world says, “I don’t sin, I’m not lost, I can find the way, I certainly don’t need saving!”

The litany of offensive statements that reject Jesus’ love is without end because they still can’t see the cross as salvation rather only as an unnecessary implement of capital punishment.

They cannot see Jesus risen from dead in victory all they see is a fairy tale.

And they certainly cannot see Jesus coming to take them home because they saw no reason for Him to ascend to begin with.

They cannot see, because they won’t believe, and they won’t believe because they refuse to open their eyes to the hope Jesus offers them outside themselves.

Just like Adam and Eve they don’t realize just how naked and vulnerable they really are, and it will take that horrible moment when the Devil will tempt them to open their eyes to gratify their vanity and become immersed in sin’s insanity.

But sin has met its’ match in Jesus, because our Savior is always more than meets our sinful eyes.

Jesus open’s our eyes for the goodness of healing the dead, resurrection to new life, and eternal living for all who believe in Him.

Jesus has always been more that meets the eye and always will be, putting all of Satan’s ambitions under His feet and holding us face to face with Him, never seeing ourselves but only Him, a vision to behold forever.  AMEN.