“Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” –Mark 8:18
Everyone loves a good story, right? Even if you don’t like to read (which you should! reading is awesome!), movies tell stories too. So think about your favorite story. Good stories grab your attention, pull you in, and make you start getting excited about the characters and what happens to them. And the best stories—the ones that really stick with you—even change the way you look at everything around you.
But for some reason, when we come to the greatest story about the greatest character in the whole world, we get bored. The greatest story in the whole world is the story of Jesus—who he is, what he’s done, how wonderful he is. And yet sometimes we’re like, “Yawn, Jesus… I know those stories.”
I think the reason that we sometimes get bored with the stories of Jesus is because we’ve been reading them wrong this whole time. It might not be your fault; to be honest, grown-ups get this wrong a lot, too. You may have heard a story of Jesus’ life in Sunday School, for example, and the teacher told you, “Now children, you see how Jesus was nice to that person. You should be nice to that person.” And it almost feels like the story is wagging a finger at you, saying, “Yeah, shape up and start acting more like Jesus.”
If that’s how you’ve heard the story of Jesus before, I’m sorry. Because that’s backwards. Of course we should be nicer. But the point of the story of Jesus isn’t so that we’d learn how to be better, or nicer, or kinder. The point is for us to be wowed by Jesus.
Because Jesus is flat-out, blow-your-mind awesome. He does things that no one else could possibly do. He says things that no one else says. He treats people the way no one else treats them. He is so powerful and yet so humble. He’s so strong and yet so gentle. He’s honestly kinda scary (at least to the bad guys), and yet he’s the kindest, most loving person who has ever lived. Seriously, no one is like him, even a little bit. He’s in a category of awesomeness all by himself.
So here’s the point of reading all the stories: Jesus is the most amazing main character of any story ever told… and these stories are all real, and Jesus is still alive today. When we’re reading the stories of Jesus’ life, we’re reading about someone—the best Someone in the whole world—whom we can really know. We can’t walk up to Jesus and shake his hand like people could when he was on earth, but here’s the thing: we still can “see” Jesus. We can see him in the stories recorded in the Bible. It’s in these stories that Jesus—who is alive today—still speaks to us and shows us what he’s like.
But there’s a difference between seeing these stories and really seeing them. Jesus said that every person has two sets of eyes: one set of eyes in your head, and another set of “eyes” in your heart. The eyes in your head are for looking at stuff; the eyes in your heart are for really understanding and loving what you’ve seen. It would be possible to read all the miracles of Jesus and still come away saying, “Cool story, bro, but who cares?” In fact, that’s what a lot of people who saw the miracles firsthand said. They saw Jesus raise the dead and heal lepers and feed whole crowds, but they weren’t impressed—or even worse, they were impressed for the wrong reasons. The miracles didn’t make them love Jesus, or trust Jesus, or worship Jesus. And that’s because they were only looking with the first set of eyes—the ones in their head—and not looking with the eyes of the heart. Jesus said to them, “You have eyes, but fail to see. You have ears, but you fail to hear.” They saw all the miracles, but missed the main point.
So please, don’t miss the main point. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see how amazing Jesus really is, so that you can be wowed by Jesus.
And then settle in, and get ready to meet the greatest person in the history of the world.