Christianity cannot afford to be short-sighted.
The eyes are important to God. Job made a covenant with them. David lifted them to the hills and Jesus labeled them the lamp of the body. The heroes of the faith used them to wait for a future city.
The Bible moves from a garden to a future city because that was always the plan. It was the way history was going to move forward, even before the folly of the first couple. But creation, as it is today, is not what it was yesterday nor what it will be tomorrow.
But the writers of the Bible don’t bother to prove that this life is not all there is to reality. Even the great religions of the world are built on that assumption.
Still, while we are peering outside into the great unknown, looking for signs of life, the audacious announcement of the Bible is that Someone on the outside is looking in.
The Bible brings history to the place where the Creator enters His story, bearing the form of the created and the image of the Creator; the image He came to recreate in us.
The author writes Himself into his story, as the only one who can rewrite its characters into those who will direct the way the story unfolds.
The cry of every protester, activist, reformer and concerned citizen is the cry for a better world. The announcement of the Gospel is that this world is already here. But, like a seed that has just been planted, it remains in the ground, slowly snaking its way to the surface.
The cheeky promise of the Bible is that, one day, this seed will turn into a tree so big that it will be home to every bird in the sky, with fruit that is good and rest that doesn’t wane.
Pity the fool who can’t see beyond the smokescreen of this loud and present reality.
The psalmist’s fool who says in his heart: ‘There is no God’ is not the earnest atheist, refusing the world behind the curtain. It’s the ritualistic, religious, short-sighted Christian who doesn’t live for the world to come because he can’t see past the one in front of him.
“By your hand, save me from such people, LORD, from those of this world, whose reward is in this life”
There is a reality woven into the fabric of this one which points to a reality beyond it.
We see it but we can’t perceive it. We feel it but we can’t describe it. We know it but we can’t understand it. We desire it but we don’t know where to find it.
After the death of Jesus, two men were going to a village called Emmaus, discussing the strange things that happened over the weekend. A dead man was allegedly alive again.
Their conversation was interrupted by the only one visiting Jerusalem who didn’t know what had happened. But after a long walk, a conversation and a rebuke, it becomes obvious that they were the ones who didn’t know what had happened—until their eyes were opened.
Then they recognized him. The rumors were true. The dead man was alive and their eyes had seen him.
The story was written for us, hoping that more eyes would be opened, more hearts would turn and more people would seek a reward in the life to come, not just in the one today.
A risen Jesus confirms the coming of a new creation, a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
The new creation promised in the Bible is expected to make this one seem like a rolled up old garment that nobody wants to wear. But it’s given to those who can see it.
The hardest thing to do with our eyes is to lift them—beyond the known, past the present, into the future—to see the invisible and live for the intangible. Then, like the men going to Emmaus, our eyes will be opened and our hearts will burn when we see the dead man who lives again.
Image Credit: Matt Neale