Share: Facebook Facebook Facebook

Week:05, Season:1, 2016 Posted on Saturday by PCT

Make Me See

Scripture: Luke 4:21-30

21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

What You Have Seen

Most people believe ‘to see is to believe’. This has become an important life experience for many of us. Regarding this, we may be asked the following questions. First of all, ‘what have you seen’? Most people may possess different opinions of the same incident or object. Secondly, ‘have you seen it’? Sometimes something is apparently put in front of our eyes, but many of us just could not see it. Thirdly, ‘is what you have seen truly existent’? These questions suggest that there may be numerous undercurrent meanings in the concept of ‘to see’—not just what you have seen physically or literally.

People often perceive life and plan their life patterns based on visual messages. For example, we feel the need to rest when we see sunset. Black cloud means it may be going to rain soon. We tend to avoid a person who has got a moody facial expression. We also use the concept of ‘to see’ to convey our thinking or opinions. For example, some people may say ‘I can’t see the point’ or ‘I can’t see why’? Therefore, on the one hand, ‘to see’ provides us with concrete life experiences. On the other hand, it points out a life philosophy or ways of thinking. Yet people are often ‘blinded’ by physical visual functions. This sometimes makes people only see difficulties and they do not dare move forward, or act without thinking carefully. To see things physically does not mean you see life clearly. What people physically see on the surface often hinders people from moving forward. Whether you can understand your life depends on whether the eyes of your heart can see clearly, not your real eyes.

What People Physically See

Luke 4:22: “People have got strong impression of him and feel surprised by what he has said. They say: ‘Isn’t he Joseph’s son?’”. This passage reveals a strong contrast. Jews on the one hand are impressed by what Jesus Christ has said and feel surprised. On the other hand, they use their physical eyes to judge Jesus Christ’s appearance and feel suspicious of his true identity. Jesus Christ pointed out that people in his hometown did not really trust him. They even required him to create a miracle, to prove his identity. Jesus Christ then sighed “no prophet is accepted in his hometown”.

Jesus Christ quoted the cases of Elijah and Elisha, two prophets in the Old Testament. Both Elijah and Elisha were not accepted by their fellows, but were accepted by those in need outside their hometowns. For example, Elijah was sent to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. Elisha cleansed Naaman the Syrian. We can see those who have received help from the prophets were all far from Israel geographically or not related to Israel, such as Zarephath and Sidon and Naaman the Syrian.

Winning General or God’s Captive?

In today’s scripture, there is an interesting record of Naaman’s story in the chapter 5 in 2 Kings. Naaman was the Syrian King’s General. God used Naaman to win victories over Israel as a punishment on them. Naaman became the Syrian King’s favourite. He had possesses a respectable position and authority in the court. But according to the Bible, Naaman had got leprosy. Through an Israel female captive, he happened to know that a prophet in Israel can cure him of his illness. Therefore, Naaman asked the Syrian King’s permission to go to Israel for curing his illness. This tale is recorded as a satire in the Bible, as the Bible suggests that Naaman must have tried everything in vain to heal his illness. He had no choice turning to a captive and asks help of a prophet from a defeated country.

At that time, the Israelites believe that only sinners would have leprosy and leprosy is the most infectious illness. People who have got it are to be put in quarantine, because leprosy was considered a deadly disease. Thus, when the Syrian King wrote a letter to the Israel King, saying: “I sent Naaman to see you. When you see him, you must cure his leprosy”; Israeli King considered the Syrian King just wants to use this as an excuse to have another war with him, because leprosy was considered incurable.

When Naaman arrived at Elisha’s place, he was not received by Elisha in person. Instead, Elisha’s messenger came to see him and said “Bath in the River Jordan for seven times and then you will be thoroughly cleansed”. After hearing this, Naaman was outrageous and responds with “Isn’t Damascus’ river better than Israel’s river? Can’t I be cleansed by bathing in Syria”? Then he turned away. Fortunately, Naaman’s servant was a wise person who advised him that “if the prophet had asked you to do a grand thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, if he asks you to bath and be cleansed”? Naaman thus followed the prophet’s instructions and was finally healed.

Wealthy Uncle or Sharing Beggar?

The way the Bible is written here is by means of contrasts between individuals’ inner feelings or opinions and comments from other people. People tend to pay attention to what they can see on the surface, but God does not. Luke’s record of this tale urges us to think of the proclamation of The Gospel, the authority of God, and our attitude towards it. What perspective should we take to proclaim The Gospel?

David J Bosch is a devoted missionary. According to his book, a missionary’s job is not like a wealthy uncle who distributes materials like money or chocolate to his poor relatives or nephews and nieces. Instead, it is more like a beggar who provides another beggar with information about where to find foods. In Bosch’s opinion, a missionary’s job is carried out by distributing money, providing direct material help and preaching. It would be harmful to the foundation of a church to create an image of a wealthy uncle, where we may only share with other people when we are materially fulfilled. Instead, Bosch thinks a missionary’s job should be more like a beggar sharing with another beggar. Although we were spiritual beggars, our faith in God makes us know where to find his living foods; whereas they don’t know. Like them we need this food as well and must share it with them. In brief, the blessing of salvation lies in Jesus Christ, not us.

Luke wrote, “After hearing this, everyone was furious”. What Jesus Christ had said does not win him favour, because he pointed out his people’s blind side. The eyes of their hearts were blinded; therefore, they could not see the salvation and the Gospel Jesus Christ had brought. As Bosch has said a missionary’s job is like a beggar sharing. This reminds us that the reason we can be the messengers of The Gospel is not because we deserve The Gospel. It is because we understand The Gospel is from Jesus Christ. We are just sharing it.

For discussion:

1. Please share your thought of what the Gospel Jesus Christ has brought mean to you?
2. Do we share the Gospel because we own it or because we have experienced salvation and blessing?

Please pray for:

1. that everyone in your church can lead those who haven’t had faith and not yet believe in God, by sharing individual experiences of God’s love.
2. people around us. Hope we become their bridges to understand the Gospel. Pray the Church can have patience with them and offer them a healthy environment to practise their belief.


Loving God. Our hearts are often blinded by numerous things. Thank God for leading us to possess different angles to perceive the world under the guidance of your Words instead of our individual bias. We pray God that you will help us learn how to share the good news of The Gospel with those in need, because we all have experienced your blessing deeply. We pray you will help us to use wisdom to understand our lives, and seize the opportunities to show Jesus Christ’s care for every soul. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Something you can do:

1. After reading “Reading the Bible with New Eyes”, try to look at the people and things around you with new thoughts. Reflect on the new perspectives inspired by the Bible and put them into practice.
2. Aim to finish reading the Bible in this year. Look at the world under the guidance of the Word of truth.