Monday, April 12, 2010

Why They Could Not See Jesus

Luke 24:13-35

So they're walking from Jerusalem when Jesus joins them in their excursion. They did not "notice" who He was and Luke records that they were kept from recognizing Him. The interesting part about the verb is that it is in the passive tense which means something was acting upon them to keep them from recognizing Him. Some insert here that this was a "Divine" blindness put upon them by God. I'd like to propose an alternative.

In verse 25, when Jesus begins the greatest unrecorded Old Testament class of history, He labels these two as slow of heart to believe. In other words, they were experiencing a drought of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God is what Paul teaches us in Romans and so it should be no shock then that Jesus begins to teach, from the word of God, these two men. In order to build their faith, He taught them His word. He taught them the revelation of Himself in what we know as the Old Testament Scriptures.(I really would have loved to have been there.)

The real reason why these two were not able to see Jesus is that they were not believing the witness of the Scripture. They knew Jesus was crucified. They HAD BELIEVED(emphasis mine) that Jesus was the redeemer of Israel. They had heard of the incredible story told by the women but they had also heard of Peter and John's report of an empty tomb but no Jesus.

With all that they could see, Jesus was not who they thought He was to be. They were blinded by their own vision. They were blinded by THEIR OWN UNBELIEF. Thus, Jesus taught them the Word, which brought forth faith which when coupled with the eating of the bread led to the opening of their eyes. Surely, He could have opened their eyes earlier but the point is pressed that faith comes by hearing the word of God. In fact, their hearts were telling them this was Jesus the whole time(verse 32) but they didn't believe because of what they had seen with their eyes.

Why could they not see Jesus? They could not see Jesus because of unbelief. If you and I want to see Jesus, we need to hear His Word. Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing. And what should we believe? The testimony of Scripture is the answer for the child of God.


selahV said...

Luke, this is great. I have this passage in draft to do a devotional. It confirms what I am thinking. Thanks.

I had a much better comment to put to this but the cyber demons ate it when I pushed publish. can't begin to duplicate it. Maybe I wasn't suppose to? selahV

Luke said...

Mrs. V,

I'm glad I could be of assistance though it was unwittingly.

I hope to write more about this issue of believing/not believing because to me, it addresses a question that was asked of me why some believe and some don't. This is the start of a length process for myself but eventually I hope to have posted enough to comprise a short essay on this topic.

But I do know that the answer to unbelief is still to preach the word because faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Byron said...

Luke, of course I have a different take on it (surprise, surprise). I would not say that God put a "divine blindness" on them as if God had to add some inhibitor to their spiritual sight to render it useless. I would rather say that being natural carnal men they are unable to "see" due to spiritual blindness. Of course, that's just the way I look at it, from what I remember in the Scriptures.

But more than that, I look at verses like John 10:26 KJV which seems to be pretty plain in its statement that, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." Notice He does not say they are not his sheep because they do not believe, but that they do not believe because they are not His sheep. And you cannot simply say that they become His sheep by choosing Him, because I do not see any way to divorce choosing Christ from believing in Christ, which would be required here.

Anyways, interested in your thoughts (but I'm sure you saw where I was going with that from a MILE off... lol)

Luke said...


So that makes two of us(three if we include SelahV) that believe that God was not doing the blinding. So far so well.

You say they were spiritually blind and I say they were unbelieving. I really do not see that you have offered in that response anything particularly different than what I offered. In fact, unbelief precedes blinding in II Corinthians 4:4 though the blinder in that case is none other than Satan himself. In II Thessalonians 2:9-12, those who are blinded by a delusion are thus blinded because they received not the love of the truth/believed not the truth. So from where I understand the Scriptures both in Luke 24, II Cor 4 and II Thess 2, unbelief PRECEDES blindness.

Concerning John 10:26. The only way for the Jews to "become" Jesus' sheep was for them first to have been the Father's sheep. But they really were not of the Father because had they been, they would have received the Son. They had prejudiced themselves against the Son because they had really not aligned with the Father.(John 8) The Jews tried to claim being of God but they were not and this was evidenced by the fruit(or lack thereof) in their lives. In John 10:38, Jesus appeals to them to look at his works which reveal the Father's presence. If they indeed believed the Father, they would recognize His works in His Son. But these very same Jews(not sheep) would be pricked in the heart at the preaching of the Word of Jesus and repented and believed.(Acts 2)

Now if you will allow me and I think you would, Not Sheep would be the same as Vessel Of Wrath. But Paul writes in II Timothy 2:20-21 that a man can become a vessel of honor. That would be a foolish statement to make if the man were already a vessel of honor. But what Paul is saying is that if a man follows after the Lord, he can become a vessel of honor. Thus in my logic, if a vessel of dishonour through purging can become a vessel of honor, then a goat can become a sheep by repenting and believing according to Peter in Acts 2.

No Byron, you would have disappointed me had you not shown up at all.:)

Byron said...

Luke, sorry I have not responded again yet: been one of those weeks, and I do want to reply but it won't be tonight.

Byron said...

Well, Luke, sorry but I must bow out of the conversation. I just cannot get there this weekend. Well, best wishes today and this Lord's day.

Luke said...

Thanks Byron.