View from atop Mt. Arbel in Galilee. Photo by Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016.
DayBreaks for 1/20/16: Holy Land Lessons: Would I Have Missed Him?
On our second full day in Israel, we got up and the group went to the top of Mt. Arbel, a peak that is toward the southwestern end of the Sea of Galilee. It affords one with a great view of the lake and the area where Jesus spent most of his ministry years. On a clear day, it must be a spectacular view…our view there was hindered by the weather conditions. Still, I could easily make out the shoreline of the lake, the village of Magdala (home of Mary Magdalene) and further north the other villages where Jesus’ ministry took place.
As I sat high above the lake and villages below, I tried to picture what it would have been like to have seen Jesus from that vantage point as he walked along the edge of the Sea of Galilee. It came to me in a flash – I could have perhaps made out a human form from that height and with less certainty identified the gender, but I wouldn’t be able to tell who it was – even if it was the Son of God Himself. He would not have appeared as a 1000 foot tall Super-Being, but as a normal sized man. Even if I’d been on the shoreline with him, he would have appeared normal. He would not have had a glowing halo encircling his head as it so often does in art. His voice would not have sounded markedly different than mine. I suspect that when he stilled the waters of the Sea of Galilee that his voice wasn’t that of thunder, but a normal-sounding voice.
That’s when I realized how easy it would have been to be right there in his Presence on the shore of the sea and not recognize him for who, and what, he was/is.
That got me thinking about how it is perhaps even easier today, about 2000 years later, to miss him when he makes appearances in my life.
Why did Jesus come in such a normal form? It would have been easy for him to come in some super-sized, unmistakable manner. But he didn’t. And he doesn’t come to us that way today, either. I don’t know why – other than that he highly values faith, not certainty.
Would I have been among the masses who didn’t recognize him for who he was when he walked that shoreline and journeyed from village to village? Likely so. How many times have I not recognized him and his engagement in my life? Plenty. If we aren’t looking with expectation, we won’t find or recognize him.
What does that say to me? I need to expect to see him. He’s still active, you know, acting in this world in untold millions of interactions each day. Maybe there is more to this verse than we realize: John 14:17 (MSG) – This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you.
Those with the indwelling Spirit will see him. Those without the Spirit cannot.
Proverbs 20:12 (NLT) – Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Thank you for the Spirit who gives us eyes to see and ears to hear. Improve our vision – and our hearing – so we can recognize your work in our this world and then join you in it! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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