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Towards the end of the Jesus-gospel-story there are a number of "recognition scenes." People get their eyes open to the Real Jesus and what he is about. Like Thomas, who declares something no one has said before - "My Lord and my God!" Like the two Emmaus walkers, who suddenly recognize Jesus when he breaks the bread around their dinner table.
For me these kind of "recognition scenes" or "increasing revelation scenes" remind me of those "magic eye" pictures you see in shopping malls. A group of people cluster around one of them and stare, trying to see the 3-D image embedded within. Then, suddenly, the image appears!
This morning at Redeemer I preached on the last gospel-recognition scene. In Luke 24:44-49 we read that Jesus "opened the minds of the disciples." Then, he told them three things that they had heard before:
1. The Son of Man must suffer and die
2. The Son of Man will rise from the dead
3. The message of REPENT + FORGIVE will be preached to all nations
Even though the disciples had heard these things before, they did not understand them. They did not really "see" them. For example, it was phenomenally hard for them to get the "big picture" that the Messiah must suffer and die. That did not sound like God's Messiah to them!
But then, their minds were opened. Now, they got the "Big Picture" of God's redemptive activity. As I preached on this this morning I thought of how, 40 years ago, words that I had heard hundreds of times before became suddenly very clear to me. A campus minister came to my university apartment. We talked and debated a little. Then he said, simply, "I believe there is a God, and that God loves you."
At that moment my life changed forever. I knew God existed, and that God loved me. Those simple words set off an inner revolution. Today, even this evening, the revolution continues. What what the disciples experienced in Luke 24 may have been something like that. With their minds now open, the loving, brilliant beauty of a God who would come and suffer and die to atone for their sins became clearer. They knew, in non-discursive way!
BTW - I showed this "magic eye" picture this morning. In the middle Jesus hangs on a cross, a soldier kneels to his left holding a sword, and in the background, to the left and right, hang the two crucified thieves.