In reply to His disciples’ request to explain a parable, Jesus answered in Luke 8:10 saying:
“To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. But to others I speak in parables, so that seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand.” (Emphasis added)
Jesus was telling His disciples that they and they alone, would have the truth of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God explained to them, such that they could truly see and hear, and therefore, could correctly understand. Others around them, the hangers-on, the nosey, those only out for what they could personally gain, the massing crowds around them, they would see and would hear, but would not understand; to them, the key of comprehension, was not to be given.
Why was this? Briefly and first, it relates back to Isaiah 6:9 relating to the Word from God saying “Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know.” Secondly, parables are a masterful way of teaching which allows instant recall and retelling of a complex idea in a simple story (but they do need interpretation) and thirdly, it separates out the sheep from the goats. To understand parables takes effort and thought. Jesus was surrounded by great crowds as he travelled, gawking to see more miracles, but some, also to hear. However, Jesus knew that only 12 disciples had been given to Him by His Father, so teaching the masses would be a waste of his precious 3-year Ministry time. Teaching the masses not His duty – but the duty of His disciples and of us, His descendents, and given to us as His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
But the art of seeing and hearing and understanding, or not understanding, is alive and with us today in everything around us. If one has worked on computers for a little while, the acronym “WYSIWYG” will be familiar; standing for “What You See Is What You Get” and describes a system in which content displayed onscreen during editing, appears exactly as the a finished product. But examples are all around us. Ones buys great looking meat under the red lights of a butcher’s display case, only to find it looking deadly grey on the kitchen table under daylight. The whole world seems to be obsessed with “truth in advertising,” of the lack of it, where perception is more important than the factual reality and where swallowing the lies of the enemy is more palatable than being left out of the crowd (to mix metaphors a little).
It we ever get a chance to look up at a remote cloudless night sky with its countless stars and stand amazed at the beauty and the obvious reality of God’s cosmic creation, we are still deluding ourselves. We may consider the stars to be WYSIWYG, but they are actually “WYSINR” or “What You See Is Not Reality”.
You may well ask, “Are the stars not reality? The answer to that is no, they are not. As light travels at 168,000 miles/sec. we count its speed in light years, 1 light year = 5,878,625,373,183.608 miles (about 6 trillion miles) or 9,460,730,472,580.8 km. This means it takes 1.2–1.3 seconds for moonlight to arrive and 8.32 minutes for sunlight to arrive. The centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 26,000 light-years away and the Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years across while our nearest large galaxy cluster, the Virgo Cluster, is about 5,900,000 light-years away.
What does all this mean? It means that even as we look up at the night sky we are seeing objects which may no longer exist. Objects perhaps ceased to exist millions of years ago, but their light is still coming to us; the reality of their disappearance, is hidden from us. We are seeing, but not seeing reality. You may well ask, “What has this to do with anything?” Well, First Corinthians 15:46 provides the answer saying:
“But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual.”
Now you have seen the natural, and now know it is not easy to see reality. The world and life here is not WYSIWYG but WYSINR: “What You See Is Not Reality.”
Let us now look at a couple of Bible verses to see how the Bible relates to this topic of “Seeing, But Not Seeing.” In particular, Hebrews 2:6-9 which talks about God and mankind and how we see Jesus and our world. It reads:
|v6||But one testified in a certain place, saying, “What is man, that You are mindful of him; or the son of man, that You visit him?|
|v7||You have made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honour and set him over the works of Your hands.|
|v8||You subjected all things under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to Him, He did not leave anything not subjected to Him. But now we do not see all things having been subjected to him.|
|v9||But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that He by the grace of God should taste death for all.|
As we look at the two part of v8, they appear to contradict each other. First it says ALL things are subject to Him (Jesus) and indeed He did not leave anything which was not subject to Him. All things means every single thing which exists. ALL things, means there is nothing, not one single thing in all of creation, in the heavens, in the earth, or below the earth, which is not subject to him. It is a statement which brooks no exemptions.
Yet the second half of v8 it appears to say something else; it says we do not see that all things are subject to him. In other words, that is not our reality. Our “reality” is that not all things are subject to Jesus, for that is not what we see, not what we understand from our present worldview. As we look at the world and the skies above, we just cannot naturally see that all things belong to Jesus – perhaps to prove this point, we could point to any non-believer and say that if that person could really see, surely they would believe! But they don’t, and they can’t. If the reality of God as creator of all things was so obvious to mankind, the Great Commission which Jesus gave Christian would be a simple task – for all would already be in absolute recognition of Him. but they don’t.
Then in v9, the sense of the verses seems to be turned upside-down again, as we read “but we see Jesus.” What are we missing here?
Well, the fact is that the words, “see” in v8 and v9, do not have the same meanings. The two words in the original Greek language are two completely different words.
The first ‘see’ in v8 is the Greek word “horáō” (ὁράω). It means to see with the eye, and become acquainted with, by experience. The word ‘video’ comes from horáō, and means to see what is presented to us as if it were real. We can horáō or watch or see a cartoon, or a play, or a film and know it is make-believe, yet our minds let us feel emotions of love, anger, outrage. etc. Our minds control and reinterpret what they see, into our worldview of things. We then think what we see is true, is reality. We begin to believe our eyes, even when we know they are lying to us.
The second ‘see’ in v9 is the Greek word “blepō” (βλέπω). It means to see with the mind’s eye with the power of understanding in order to discern mentally, to observe, to perceive, to discover and to understand actual reality. For a Christian, it means understanding things as God seems them, based on the Bible, the true Word of God. It means seeing with our spiritual eyes and knowing with our heart and mind, based upon the Word. It means seeing things as they really are, as opposed to how the rest of the world views them. It means seeing with a kingdom-view, rather than a worldview, for the worldview is Satan corrupted, in all ways, and at all times.
What the writer of Hebrews is saying in that our position in Christ is secure, even although when we look at the world, we cannot see evidence of this all the time, because we are seeing with our horáōview, which is contaminated and does not reflect reality. If we were but to see our position in Christ using our blepō view, then would be seeing as Christ sees things and we would know and understand our position in Him, as the Word says it is.
As born-again Christians, our position in Christ is confirmed in the Bible. We need to know it. In Genesis 15:1 it says, and
“After these things the Word of Jehovah came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward.”
God the Father is telling us here, as Abraham’s spiritual sons and daughters, that He, the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all that exists, is our protector and our provider! In Genesis 15, God entered into a blood covenant with Abraham to confirm and consolidate His offer and agreement. We are heirs to that covenant and God is our shield and our provider, our great reward, today and every day. But we need our blepō view to be in operation to recognise this.
For those who wish only to look to the New Testament for such support, let us look no further than Philippians 4:13 which confirms clearly:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This is the reality of living in the blepōview of life, with eyes focussed in the Spirit, to Jesus Christ, His empty cross and tomb and through Him to the Father. It is a reality, that as a born-again Christian, I can do all things, because Jesus strengthens me.
As v9 says “we see Jesus.” But we need “see” him with blepōsight. If we use our worldly eyes, we simply cannot see Jesus, our minds are too polluted by Satan and the sins of mankind which have muddled our minds, to be able to tell right from wrong, fact from fiction, or the make-believe from reality. This is why Christians need to be rooted in the Word and watered by the living water of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Then, when we put our trust in the Lord, we will be able to see as He gives us blepōsight.
Amen and Amen.