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 Tuesday 12th April – Not just “looking” but “seeing”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
(Luke 24: 40-44)
As we continue to explore what it means to truly “see” Jesus and to discern His ongoing activity in the world around us, this admonishment from Jesus should rightly challenge and convict us.
As if to prove the point that He really is their risen Lord and not a phantom or spirit, Jesus eats fish with them.  He next words, however, are striking.
“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

It’s a gentle, but nevertheless direct, rebuke on the part of Jesus to His listening disciples.  You can almost hear His tone of voice, “Guys, I did talk to you about this on several occasions…This is what our Holy Scriptures have been pointing to all along – did you not see?”
For contemporary readers of Jesus’ words there are two immediate and obvious challenges.  The first is simply – do we know our Scriptures?  Do we know the Bible?  And the second, slightly subtler challenge is, when we do engage with the Bible, do we do so with our eyes wide open to see and encounter Jesus?
The first challenge is one that I have felt very keenly myself of late.  Am I engaging deeply with the Bible and its truths?  Am I reading and studying the whole book, and not simply sticking with my favourite books or passages?
The danger of Biblical illiteracy is that we find ourselves constructing (and therefore worshipping) a Jesus in our own image, who conveniently conforms to our cultural and personal prejudices and sensibilities.  In recent years I’ve found myself in a number of conversations in which people have very confidently stated what “Jesus teaches” on a particular issue or topic, when in fact He never taught anything of the kind!  Indeed, I’ve fallen foul of this myself, often because I thought I knew what the Bible revealed about something, only to find upon closer inspection that I’d read what I wanted to read, and not what was actually there!
This, then, is Jesus’ second challenge, which was probably His primary emphasis with the early disciples, who would have known their Scriptures well.  Just as one can “look” but not truly “see” so we can “read” and yet not truly “understand.”  Jesus Himself said as much in his quoting of the prophet Isaiah within His Parable of the Sower: “They will be…ever hearing but never understanding” (Mark 4:12).
When we come to read the Bible, do we do so in anticipation that we will meet with the Lord?  That reading will not simply be an academic exercise of receiving information, but a spiritual experience of encountering God through His written revelation to us?
Just as the Old Testament Scriptures the early disciples had were not just historically and contextually bound but were also pointing towards something very much within their own time-frame and experience – so the whole of Scripture very much does speak today.
Part of our calling as Christians is to be alert and expectant for the signs of God’s Kingdom breaking into the present – to notice the Holy Spirit at work.  Our alertness is sharpened as we immerse ourselves in Scripture and allow God to speak into our lives today through His written word.
So let us commit, not simply to read but to live in the narrative of Scripture.  Not simply to absorb words and information, but to meet with God by His Spirit that we might know Him more deeply.
In our cycle of prayer today:
That we see lives being changed by the power of Jesus one person at a time.
Contributed by Jonny Dade