Earlier this week I flew to Wellington for a meeting. When we lifted off from Nelson the sky was blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was just right. When I landed the sky was grey, it was raining and the wind chill factor was down to zero. Within 10 seconds I was nearly frozen to death. I shook my head in disbelief. The distance between Wellington and Nelson is only 125 km – as the crow flies. How could this be possible? Was I really on the same planet?
Take that experience and ramp it up a hundred fold. That was what it was like for the Son of God to come to this earth. He must have wondered what hit him. Perfection encountering deficiency. Holiness encountering sin. Truth encountering lies. Sincerity encountering pretence. Love encountering rejection and hate.
The light came and shone and the darkness does not comprehend it.
“Who are you?” The Pharisees questioned (John 8:25)
“Precisely what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them.
But they didn’t get it. Because they didn’t want to get it.
Jesus made it very plain who he was. He is fulfilment of all Old Testament types, shadows and prophecies. He is the Word of life. He is the bread of life – the true manna God sends from heaven. He is the true temple of God. He is the true vine. And he is the way, the truth and the life.
But the Pharisees just didn’t get it. Take the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus for example, which we find in John chapter 3 (my paraphrase):
“Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
“I don’t understand what You’re talking about” Nicodemus replies.
“Unless you come into the kingdom, you can’t understand”
“I don’t understand what You’re saying”
“Look,” Jesus says “Unless a man is born from above, you cannot see the kingdom of God”
“I don’t understand a word of what You’re saying.”
Note that everything that comes out of Nicodemus’ mouth confirms what Jesus is saying. The natural man – the man without God working in him, is in complete darkness. It’s one thing to be blind and know it. It’s quite another to be blind and not know it. And that is the exact condition of all human beings. We are blind to our own blindness.
Is there any hope for us? Yes there is.
There is a moment – a wonderful moment, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, when Gandalf the Grey takes off his cloak and it’s Gandalf the White. And every one steps back – in wonder and amazement. They got it.
That is what happens when the Spirit of God opens our eyes to see the true nature of the Son of God; we see him for who he really is. It is what happens when we hear the words of Jesus – they sound strange, other-worldly, and we struggle to comprehend them. We take a deep breath, close our eyes and BELIEVE in them. When we open our eyes, there he is, right in front us.
That’s when we realize he’s been standing there all the time. We just couldn’t see him.
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1–5)
I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)