Seeing What God Wants Me to See
I often hear people say that phrase: “Pastor Jerry, I just don’t see.” “I just don’t see how I’m going to make it through this problem…” “I just don’t see how I’ll ever be able to change…” “I just don’t see that my marriage is ever going to get any better…” “I just don’t see any hope for the future…” “I just don’t see the situation working out…” When people say “I just don’t see,” they’ve lost hope.
How we see life determines our stress, determines our success, determines our stability, determines our strength, it determines everything in our life. How we see our life. How we see God. Everything in our life is affected by our perspective. In the book of Matthew Jesus said it like this,
Matthew 6:22-23 Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness.
Obviously, he’s talking about more than physical sight here. He’s talking about vision. He’s talking about perspective. He’s talking about seeing with spiritual eyes. What he’s saying here is that perspective is everything. It is so important that we see life clearly, that we see life correctly, that we see life comprehensively and completely, that we learn to see life from God’s viewpoint.
There’s a story in the book of Mark where Jesus has a conversation with his disciples and does a miracle and that explains this to us. First, he uses a misunderstanding with his disciples. Then he uses a miracle to help us understand how people get a better vision, a better handle on what am I supposed to be doing with my life? How do I handle this situation?
We’ll start first with what is a misunderstanding between Jesus and the disciples.
1. The Misunderstanding
Let me give you a little background before we look at the text. Jesus was in the third year of his ministry. By now everybody knows who Jesus is. He’s extremely popular. Crowds are following him everywhere. He’s done all kinds of miracles, and all kinds of healings. Two of the really big miracles are when he fed five thousand people with a few loaves of bread and multiplied them. Another time he actually fed four thousand, two different miracles. He’s just finished this four thousand feeding miracle. After that happens the Pharisees come to see him. The Pharisees, you remember these guys, they were the religious leaders who hated Jesus. So they’re always having confrontations with Jesus trying to trap him by asking doctrinal questions. But Jesus never wastes any time with those kinds of people, the legalists of life. We pick up the story where he gets in a boat with his disciples to go to the other side of the lake.
Mark 8:13 So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake. 14But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. 15As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” 16At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.
Obviously they totally missed the point here. The disciples are going, “Why should we worry about yeast, Lord, when we don’t even have any bread?” Here, they totally miss the point. Jesus is using a metaphor for life and they think he’s talking about it literally.
17Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18‘You have eyes—can’t you see? [They can’t see their way clearly.] You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? ”You guys have eyes but you don’t really see. You have ears but you don’t really listen.” Then he gives them a little quiz. He says 19When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. 20“And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said. 21“Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.
“You still don’t get it?” The disciples got the answers right to the questions. How many baskets were left over after feeding five thousand? Twelve. How many baskets did you pick up after feeding four thousand? Seven. But they still didn’t get it. Here’s the point.
You can know all the facts of the Bible and still not get it.
I know some people who take pride in how much Bible knowledge they’ve got. They can quote Scriptures back and forth. They can argue theology. They can talk about doctrine. They’ve got a question for everything and an answer for everything. But they don’t get it. Jesus said to the Pharisees: “You know your problem, you guys? You don’t know the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” That was an insult to the Pharisees because to be a Pharisee you had to memorize Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy completely. Jesus says to them, “you don’t know the Scriptures.” In other words you can have all this Bible content and still be out of the loop.
Every miracle has a message in it. In both of those miracles where Jesus multiplied the bread he was trying to teach something as well as meet people’s needs. Obviously the disciples didn’t get it. They were clueless. They were spiritually blind. They couldn’t see their way clearly.
Blindness is a metaphor for a closed mind. In the Bible whenever you see blindness it is also a metaphor for a spiritually closed mind. It’s really important that we understand this because when we look at the miracle in just a minute when Jesus heals the blind man, he’s not just healing a blind man. He’s teaching us truth about when we have our minds closed. The Bible teaches that physical sight is often a metaphor for spiritual insight. They had all the facts and doctrines of the Bible but they didn’t get it.
What is it that keeps me from seeing clearly? Why is it that sometimes I can’t see what’s the problem in my life? I can’t figure out what’s the problem in my marriage. I can’t figure out what’s the problem at work. Why is it that sometimes I’m headed down the road and I have no idea where I’m going? I just can’t see what God is doing in my life.