Sabbath, March 17, 2012
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:16.
“Do you desire to become a follower of Christ, yet know not how to begin? Are you in darkness and know not how to find the light? Follow the light you have. Set your heart to obey what you do know of the word of God. His power, His very life, dwells in His word. As you receive the word in faith, it will give you power to obey. As you give heed to the light you have, greater light will come. You are building on God’s word, and your character will be builded after the similitude of the character of Christ.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 150.
The value of seeing
1. Why is the normal capacity to see and hear insufficient for evaluating divine things?
Ecclesiastes 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.
Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
“Singleness of purpose, wholehearted devotion to God, is the condition pointed out by the Saviour’s words. Let the purpose be sincere and unwavering to discern the truth and to obey it at whatever cost, and you will receive divine enlightenment. Real piety begins when all compromise with sin is at an end. Then the language of the heart will be that of the apostle Paul: ‘This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.’ Philippians 3:13, 14, 8.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 91.
2. Physical sight is a very precious gift. How urgently did two blind men plead with Jesus to give them sight? But how is spiritual sight even more important?
Matthew 20:29-31 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two .blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.
“The gospel of Christ is from beginning to end the gospel of saving grace. It is a distinctive and controlling idea. It will be a help to the needy, light for the eyes that are blind to the truth, and a guide to souls seeking for the true foundation. Full and everlasting salvation is within the reach of every soul. Christ is waiting and longing to speak pardon, and impart the freely offered grace. He is watching and waiting, saying as He said to the blind man at the gate of Jericho, ‘What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?’ I will take away thy sins; I will wash you in My blood.” –Evangelism, pp. 552, 553.
Obstacles to sight and hearing
3. How did Jesus stress the great danger of spiritual blindness and deafness?
Matthew 13:14, 15 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
“In the near future it will be seen just who have been walking humbly with God, and who have been obeying His orders. Those who have been walking in the sparks of their own kindling will lie down in sorrow. It will be seen that they have made a terrible mistake. O let us awake! light is now shining; let the windows of the mind and heart be open to welcome the heaven-sent rays. Shall Jesus say of those who profess to obey the truth, and yet who fail to walk in its light, ‘In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them’? Matthew 13:14, 15.” –Christian Education, p. 141.
4. What spiritual blindness can come over one who yields to sin? Therefore, what did Jesus warn?
Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
“No soul is ever finally deserted of God, given up to his own ways, so long as there is any hope of his salvation. ‘Man turns from God, not God from him.’ Our heavenly Father follows us with appeals and warnings and assurances of compassion, until further opportunities and privileges would be wholly in vain. The responsibility rests with the sinner. By resisting the Spirit of God today, he prepares the way for a second resistance of light when it comes with mightier power. Thus he passes on from one stage of resistance to another, until at last the light will fail to impress, and he will cease to respond in any measure to the Spirit of God. Then even ‘the light that is in thee’ has become darkness. The very truth we do know has become so perverted as to increase the blindness of the soul.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 93.
Blessed are those who want to see and hear
5. While some were unwilling to hear the Saviour’s message, what sincere wish did others express?
Luke 19:2-4 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
John 12:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
“How grateful was the sincere desire and confidence of the Greeks to the Master at this time of trial and sorrow. The Greeks wanted to see Him because they had heard of His mighty works, they had heard of His wisdom and truth; and they believed on Him, for they had searched the prophecies and felt assured that He was the desire of their hearts.” –Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, May 15, 1892.
“No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire His divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ.” –Steps to Christ, p. 65.
6. What is said of those who see the light and accept the message from Heaven with a sincere heart? What example is given of one who by faith saw the work of the Messiah far in advance?
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.
John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
“Here is where Christ’s living agents, those who have tasted and found that the Lord is good, should reveal Him in words, in actions, in cheerfulness, in patience, in longsuffering, in hopefulness, in joyousness. ‘Blessed are your eyes, for they see’ the marvelous love of God; ‘and your ears, for they hear’ the precious words of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And we must see to some purpose, that we may present the glad tidings–show that it is glad tidings. Put off the spirit of heaviness. Speak of the mercy, the goodness, and the love of Jesus; for ‘we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ Keep your face heavenward. Look at the heavenly attractions, and then you may in truth ‘show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ With all the precious promises given us from the lips of Jesus, let us act our thankfulness. Let us contemplate our duty in the light of the commandments of God.” –The Signs of the Times, December 7, 1891.
7. Who alone can open eyes and ears that have long been closed by sin and prejudice? Although the devout Simeon was very old, what did he see and appreciate concerning the salvation of God?
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.
2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke 2:30-32 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
“As Simeon enters the temple, he sees a family presenting their first-born son before the priest. Their appearance bespeaks poverty; but Simeon understands the warnings of the Spirit, and he is deeply impressed that the infant being presented to the Lord is the Consolation of Israel, the One he has longed to see. To the astonished priest, Simeon appears like a man enraptured. The child has been returned to Mary, and he takes it in his arms and presents it to God, while a joy that he has never before felt enters his soul. As he lifts the infant Saviour toward heaven, he says, ‘Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.’
“The spirit of prophecy was upon this man of God,…” –The Desire of Ages, p. 55.
“It is a fearful thing to have great light and blessing, to have many opportunities and privileges, and yet make no saving use of them. Those who do not make a saving use of their opportunities, will be condemned by the privileges God has granted to them; but those who walk in the light will have increased light. Those who have had the light of truth, and yet have failed to walk in the light, are under the same sentence of condemnation as were Chorazin and Bethsaida. Shall not these warnings be heeded? Shall not these admonitions have weight with us?” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 259.