Seeing Life With Heaven’s Eyes
“Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” Mark 12:24 NLT
Hari Raya Pausa on 13th May 2021 was also Ascension Day – a day when the Muslims celebrate their New Year and when the Catholics commemorate the ascension of Jesus to heaven after his resurrection. It was a time to reflect on the meaning of life and on life after death. The COVID 19 pandemic has also opened our eyes to the harsh reality of the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. Discussions about end times and about life after death abound. We all want to live a life that matters as well as to die a death that will bear the fruit of love in the lives of our loved ones.
In Chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark, the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection from the dead, tested Jesus with a ridiculous question about a woman with seven husbands. Their question was but a reflection of their lack of understanding of the Scriptures and the power of God. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died and rose from the dead so that we can see our lives with heaven’s eyes.
The parable of the tenants in Mark 12:1-12 is a story to show us how dangerous the sin of pride can be. Pride blinds us to the truth that we are not owners but stewards of God’s gift of life. Pride tempts us to use God blessings only for our own good and pleasure instead of blessing others. When we do so, we will have to face the judgment of God. But it is not God’s will for us to live in fear of His judgment – God wants us to live the abundant life of joy by abiding in His love. Jesus drew attention to Psalm 118:22-23:
“Have you not read this scripture: ‘ The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes ’?” Mark 12:10-11 NET
Psalm 118 is a psalm to remind us that God’s faithful love endures forever. It is a psalm of praise for God’s answers to prayers for deliverance and affirmation of God’s amazing grace. It is a reminder to rejoice each day of our lives by remembering that each day is a special day that God has made. This is God’s prescription for the sin of pride that blinds us to the “burning bushes” and deaf to God’s loving whispers in the mundane activities of our daily lives.
When we see the whole of life with heaven’s eyes, we will not divide our lives into the secular and the spiritual – all of life will become a “sacred seminary for our souls.” Answers to questions such as “is it right to pay taxes to Caesar? (Mark 12:14) becomes crystal clear when we have a right relationship with God. It is so easy to politicize social problems instead seeking to be God’s solutions to these problems. When we truly want to see God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we will be challenged to walk by faith. We will encounter difficult people and situations to test our faith and patience.
We will be challenged to totally surrender our lives to God. I need to let go of my desire to feel good by living a comfortable life and being in control of my circumstances. I need to let go of my desire to look good by seeking the praises of men and making success an idol in my life. I need to let go of my fear of failure by trusting that God will use my failure for His glory.
The task of our Christian faith is not to be a dedicated Christian but to be a committed disciple of Christ. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation and bible study are not mundane chores we do to please God – they are God’s loving invitations to enter into an intimate and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. We will be discouraged by our struggles in life. We will face doubts as we seek to do God’s will. Our minds are distracted and our hearts divided. Sin and evil sow distorted images of God that keeps us away from the throne of grace.
The power of the resurrection is to awaken us to our identity as a child of God so that we can overcome our doubts. Through centering prayer and meditation we can become more aware of our distracting thoughts. We can turn our “monkey” thoughts into messengers to seek the mind of Christ. As we do so, we will be more attentive to God’s loving presence to heal our divided and deceitful hearts. We will then no longer be dead branches but pruned branches connected to the Living Vine and bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control.
When we are spiritually alive and connected to the Risen Christ, we will not live in fear of God’s judgment but we will have the blessed assurance of God’s promise:
“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 NLT
Let us stand firm on the mystery of our faith:
“Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith : Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NLT
And see life through heaven’s eyes.