“Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith” Hebrews 12:2
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
In the light of His glory and grace.”
As a new Christian the words of this song brought comfort and reassurance. There was just one little problem – how did you do it? I wanted to actually see Jesus like the chorus suggested. Would my everyday cares and problems evaporate at the sight of His face?
I didn't know anyone who'd ever seen or would admit to having seen Jesus. Forty plus years ago if I'd stood up and testified that I'd really seen the Lord I may have received a polite, tepid response at best. If I persisted in my belief that I'd had a personal encounter with God I may have found myself in the Pastor's office for a sit down, or worse, received the left foot of fellowship. Sound far-fetched?
Oral Roberts was one of the forerunners of the healing revivals that swept this nation. No fly-by-night kook, Brother Roberts had a proven, documented track record of miracles and healings. When he announced that he'd seen a nine hundred foot tall Jesus the secular media blasted him (no surprise there). The Christian community crucified him, present company included. The audacity – someone claiming to see Jesus! If he couldn't see Jesus what made the rank and file think we were any different. We mocked, laughed and kept right on singing that same old chorus.
“Because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” John 20:29. This verse and 2 Corinthians 5:7 “we walk by faith and not by sight” seem to exclude the possibility that we can see into the heavens. It's more necessary than I once thought and it's totally in the realm of possibility.
Jesus said in John 14:12 that we would do not only what He did, but even greater things. The Apostle John told us that if everything Jesus did had been written down there wouldn't be room enough to contain all the books that documented His activities. The Lord accomplished a lot in that three year span of time. The dude was busy. Jesus Himself said that He only did what He saw the Father doing and only spoke what He heard the Father saying, John 5:19 (emphasis mine). If it worked for Him, why are we busy testing out new methods?
Christians like to brag that New Testament believers have a better covenant than those who lived under the Old. Genesis eighteen records Abraham's first hand encounter with God and their discussion concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses spoke with God “face to face,” Exodus 33:11. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders went up, saw God and ate with Him, Exodus 24:9-11. Before there was either an Old or a New Covenant, Enoch “walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” Genesis 5:24. Abraham's personal interaction with God didn't exclude him from the Hall of Faith described in the book of Hebrews. For us New Covenant folks, Paul not only encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus but also visited heaven on at least one occasion. Those experiences didn't seem to dampened or diminish Paul's ability to walk by faith.
Sounds like I may be venturing onto some slippery, theological territory. Am I implying that we can actually “fix our eyes on Jesus,” as the scripture says? I may get stoned but I say, “Yes it does.”
This may sound controversial or even New Age-ish. For the record, there isn't anything new about the New Age. Everything they have is a counterfeit of something real that belongs to believers. Do a cursory search of early church history and you'll find that supernatural experiences weren't unusual. In may parts of the world outside our Western, logic, reason based mentality, spiritual things are as real if not more so than what is seen in the natural. They're normal. If that's so, we could benefit from that kind of normality here.
How about you? If you could see Jesus face to face, what would that look like to you? What in your life could take on more importance when you looked into His eyes? What would keep you from pursuing that kind of relationship with Him right now?