Friday, November 16, 2018

Flesh and Spirit

When it comes to Christ, God in flesh, our perspective is limited by our own flesh, yet we still look to both the Lord and the mirror to determine what it means that God is like us - and that we are called to be like Him. But when it comes to those things that are essential to His nature, to those things that are the Spirit of Christ, rather than the flesh of Him, looking at the human before us is of little use.

Unless we look into His eyes.

In America, we are trained not to look each other in the eye. It didn't used to be this way, but this is how it is now. You shouldn't look someone in the eye, for any number of reasons. It's too intimidating. Too intimate. Too time-consuming. Too shame-inducing. I would venture to guess that the number one reason we don't look others in the eye is not for their comfort, but for ours. Most of us are too ashamed or insecure to look someone else in the eye, for we know that when we do, they may be looking back into ours. 

Yet we must look Jesus in the eye if we are to discover what is most essential about Him, what is most sacred and holy and wonderful and beautiful. His flesh is pretty amazing, but His eyes...His eyes reveal His spirit, and that is breathtaking.

When you look Jesus in the eye, you'll see His gaze fixed on Heaven. You'll see the passion and tenderness with which He sees all that can be in a world that is far from it. You'll see how unwaveringly He looks into eternity and believes that it doesn't have to wait until forever; it is possible today. 

When Jesus looks at the blind man, He doesn't see just a blind man. He sees a blind man who can glorify God through seeing anew with healed eyes. He looks at the lame man and sees him dancing. He looks at the deaf and whispers gleefully into his ears. He looks at the broken and sees wholeness, restoration. He looks into the world and sees Heaven. It's amazing. 

It's what tells us how He does it, how He doesn't get jaded by everything that's going wrong here, everything that's not as it's supposed to be. It tells us how He keeps believing - He believes precisely because He sees. You can't see that in His hands or in His feet or in His heartbeat; you can only see it in His eyes.

Of course, it is inherently dangerous, I suppose, to look Jesus in the eye, for the same reason it's dangerous to look anyone in the eye - you may discover that He's looking right back into yours. And our natural inclination in broken flesh is to break our gaze, to turn away. 

But if you fight that urge, something incredible happens.

You may just see what Jesus sees in you. 

It's pretty cool, we think, that Jesus came in flesh. It's cool enough, actually. He looks like us, walks like us, talks like us. If we ever needed a God to connect with, here He is. It's all we ever needed, we think of Jesus, and for many of us, it's enough. God in flesh. Okay. Cool. 

But when you look into His eyes and see His Spirit, He becomes so much more than mere flesh. And when you look into His eyes and find Him looking back into yours and you see what He sees in you - the restoration, the redemption, the wholeness, the healing, the Heaven in you - that image He can't let go of, the one that drives His Spirit, the one that unwaveringly sees beyond what's broken in front of Him - it changes everything. Absolutely everything. 

When you look into His eyes, you start to believe there's something more to this Jesus, something His flesh just doesn't capture. And when you look into His eyes and see Him looking at you, you start to believe that maybe there's something more to you, too, something your flesh just doesn't capture. And you can't explain it, perhaps, you can't even really comprehend it, but you want to be like that. You want to be who Jesus believes you are, who He already sees in you. 

You never would have known it had He not come in the flesh.

But you also never would have seen it if you hadn't seen His Spirit.

So don't let your view of Jesus get hung up on what you see in the flesh or in the mirror. There's a lot more going on here, a lot more than meets the eye. Unless, of course, you look up and meet His eye. And then....

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