Jesus emphasizes spiritual sight over physical, revealing deeper truths and God's protection, illustrated through Elisha's story.
John 8:48-53 — Spiritual Eyesight — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel with Aneel Aranha. Today we will reflect on John 8:48-53. Listen.
The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Have you ever noticed that when people cannot counter arguments logically, they will resort to intimidation or personal attacks? This is what happens here with Jesus. The Jews, unable to counter Jesus' teachings with logic or scripture, resort to personal attacks, accusing him of being a Samaritan and demon-possessed. This was not just a casual insult but a deep-seated racial and religious slur intended to discredit and marginalize him.
Jesus, however, does not retaliate with anger. Instead, he continues to assert his unique relationship with the Father and makes a profound promise: "Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death." This statement baffles his listeners. They retort, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death."
Again, the Jews are thinking in temporal terms. But Jesus was speaking of a spiritual reality, a promise of eternal life that transcends the physical realm we live in. And again, this passage challenges us to look beyond the surface, to dig deeper into the spiritual truths Jesus presents. For this, we must open our spiritual eyes.
In the physical realm, sight is one of our primary senses. It helps us navigate the world, recognize faces, appreciate beauty, and avoid danger. But have you ever considered the need for spiritual eyesight? The Bible is filled with stories highlighting the difference between physical sight and spiritual insight. One of the most compelling of these tales involved the prophet Elisha.
Once, the king of Aram was at war with Israel (see 2 Kings 6). But every time he planned an attack, Elisha, through divine revelation, would warn the Israelites. Frustrated, the king of Aram sent a vast army in the night to surround the city where Elisha was. When Elisha's servant saw this army in the morning, he was filled with fear. "Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?" he asked.
Elisha's response is both profound and enlightening. He said, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then he prayed, "Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see." The Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.
What a powerful moment! Elisha wasn't blind to the physical threat. But he also had spiritual sight, allowing him to see God's protective hand in the situation. On the other hand, his servant initially only saw with his physical eyes and was overcome with fear.
Spiritual sight allows us to see beyond the immediate, beyond the visible, and into the heart of God's purposes. It reminds us that God's protective hand is upon us even when we feel surrounded. And it helps us understand spiritual truths, like the teachings of Jesus, which can't be grasped without it.
God bless you.