Our Privilege to See and Hear

Matthew 13:16-17 “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your hearts because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

Jesus pronounces us blessed for what we see and hear from his word. Literally the word means “happy.” That happiness isn’t always obvious to see. If we think that it automatically translates into an easier or more fulfilling life in this world, we haven’t fully understood the secrets of the Kingdom. Eleven of the twelve men to whom Jesus was speaking here were going to meet violent deaths because of what their eyes saw and their ears heard in Jesus’ words. Every day around the world, 425 Christians still do. Persecution in our own country may be less violent and more subtle, but it exists nonetheless.

Still, Jesus refers to us all as “blessed,” “happy.” That privilege comes from knowing that the Lord of heaven and earth himself makes every single circumstance of our lives his personal and passionate concern, even the trying and painful ones. That privilege comes from knowing that nothing we do can make God love us even the tiniest bit less, because his grace never wavers and his forgiveness is never exhausted. That privilege comes from knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain, because Jesus is alive, ruling, and controlling all things at the Father’s right hand. That privilege comes from knowing that we are above death, because Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and those who believe in him will live, even though they die, and whoever lives and believes in him will never die.

That privilege makes us the envy of the ancient believers. “For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Have you ever wished that you could go back to the days of Adam and walk in the Garden of Eden; or go back to the days of Abraham and be at his home when God visited with the two angels to announce Isaac’s birth; or go back to the days of Moses and walk through the Red Sea with a wall of water on either side of you; or go back to the days of Elijah when God sent fire from the sky to burn up his offering on Mount Carmel? Have you ever wished you could go back to meet these heroes of faith, see the miracles they saw, and experience the power of God the way they experienced it? Have you considered that they wished to trade places with you even more?

We live in the time of fulfillment. We know the outcome of the story. We have the full revelation of God’s love. We know Jesus by name. What they wouldn’t have given to know all the details of the gospel the way we know it! Enjoy the privilege we have been given to see and hear the full story of Jesus’ saving work.

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