In the early 1970’s, I remember driving around in my VW Beetle listening to a song by Johnny Cash in which were the words “I see men as trees walking.” This song told the story of the encounter of a blind man with Jesus in Mark 8:22-25. This passage relates how Jesus spit on the man’s eyes, put His hands on him and asked him what he saw. The man said,” I see people, they look like trees walking.” Jesus touched the man a second time and the man saw clearly.
Do you ever feel that way, like you need a second touch? Like you need to read it again or take a second look at it? I do!
Routine Obscures the View
I think I can get busy with life and busy doing the activities associated with a “walk with God” that my sight of Jesus gets off. My sense of wonder and awe become veiled. Sometimes things begin to become more of a routine performance than heart relationship.
That is when I need a second touch, a second look into Jesus. The story in Mark 8:22-26 reminds us that true sight comes from God, so I start with prayer, asking God to show me Jesus, to take me deeper into knowing Him. As I progress in “knowing Jesus” I am sure I will need more of these second looks.
I started this quest by looking at what we have “in” Jesus and “through” Jesus. These are little words that open up another dimension to knowing Jesus.
Created In Jesus For
In the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 2 and verse 10, Paul reveals an eye opening truth about Jesus. It reads:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Three important truths come from this passage. I am God’s handiwork. That word is also translated workmanship. I am His workmanship. When I think of “workmanship,” I think of a carpenter or a violin maker holding the wood,maybe even caressing it as he cuts, bends, shapes, shaves, joins and engraves it. God enthroned above is actually involved in forming something in and through me and my life. This truth should dispel any doubt about my value or His love for me.
This working of God is happening in me as I am “in Jesus;” and this creative action is towards the purpose of my doing good works.
A Truth to Sustain
So in Jesus, I am given value and purpose for life. In the more mundane or ho-hum moments in life I can be tempted to think, “What am I doing here? What is my meaning or value here?”
This passage gives me meaning and purpose “in Christ Jesus.” I learn what the “works prepared in advance for me” are as I read more of His Word, and as I participate in the community of believers, the body of Christ, His church.
Encounter God Through Jesus
It is an amazing thought to think we can be near to the One who creates and sustains all life. Yet we can do this “through Jesus,” and only through Him. Salvation through Jesus brings us into the presence of God.
In the context of the letter of Hebrews to the Hebraic disciples the writer is explaining how Jesus is the true high priest and what He has done before God on our behalf. We read:
“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25
This thought is associated with understanding of the system of priesthood and atonement recorded in the Old Testament. But, the truth remains that because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and His eternal priesthood, we can draw near to God through Jesus based on His merits, not ours. Through Jesus we can approach God, actually through Jesus we have consent to come near God.
This is an amazing thought to me, especially when I am plagued with self-doubt and feelings of not being good enough. The truth is that I, in and of myself, am not “good enough.” I cannot come into the presence of God, or achieve a close relationship with God through my performance and achievement. Jesus, through His atoning blood and resurrections from the dead can bring me into the throne room of God.
Jesus Prays for Me
Another amazing truth in this passage in verse 25 is the fact that Jesus intercedes for me. He, so to speak, prays for me. Jesus presents me and my case to God the Father.
Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:14) came to earth, showed us the character and heart of God, died as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, was raised from death to live eternally, is seated at the right hand of God, and continually intercedes on our behalf. Amazing and true!
Jesus always lives to make intercession for me. His sacrifice on the cross was a one-time event, but Jesus continues to work on my behalf. His approaching the Father on my behalf is one such way I am blessed through Him.
There are times when darkness obscures light and truth in my life; when I am discouraged; confused, tempted or worn down. At times like these, I bring this truth to my mind, remembering that Jesus is bringing me before God and speaking on my behalf to our Father, gives me hope.
And There Is More
There are so many blessings that we have within our salvation in Jesus. Sometimes we just need to take a second look into Jesus. We have much in Him, with Him, by Him and through Him. He truly is our all in all.