A Devotion for 27 January 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11:39-44
Being Omniscient and Omnipotent, the Lord is also All-Seeing. Nothing escapes His observation – not even the secret chambers of the hearts of men. Though they be as dark as pitch, those Eyes penetrate to the core of the heart. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 He sees all and knows all. But those eyes of the Lord behold good as well as evil. Those who are ‘perfect’ in His sight are not made so except by the fore-ordained grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31
There are a number of times in the Sacred Text at which the LOOK of Christ had profound consequences – in fact, there are no times when it did not have. But I wish to examine but seven of those instances of the LOOKS of Christ.
THE UPWARD LOOK: “And Jesus lifted up his eyes!” Our Lord was ever obedient of His Father in Heaven and subject to His Law in all things. When the Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry would perform an event that might gain Him all the Glory, He always sought to glorify His Father in Heaven above all – even on the night of His betrayal, our Lord prayed: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’” John 17:1-4 In that upward gaze, our Lord reminds us that in every trial, every victory, and every joy to look up to the One who is able to save and who is worthy to be glorified.
Remember the fateful day outside a stone tomb at Bethany in which His friend Lazarus lay dead and decaying: “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” John 11:41-42 There is no power on earth able to resurrect the dead. Christ looked upward to Heaven, gave thanks to whom thanks was due, and hears the prayers of the faithful always. Jesus knew His Father knew His words before He pronounced them, but He spoke them for our benefit of learning. We should pray with the same understanding and certainty that our RIGHTEOUS prayers will be answered according to His will.
THE LOOK OF DISAPPOINTMENT: How often do we in our feeble ways disappoint the King of Glory and the Redeemer of our souls. Remember the cowardly third denial of Peter outside the court of the High Priest where our Lord was arraigned on the night of his betrayal. The Lord had warned Peter that He would deny Him three times before the cock would crow. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” Later, outside the court of the High Priest, Peter denied the Lord just as he was told. “But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:56-62 Peter wept those bitter tears for three days until he heard the personal message of the Angel to the women at the Open Tomb: “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” Mark 16:7 Why the specific counsel to tell Peter by name? Because the Lord knew of Peter’s grief and shame in that third denial. Peter never denied again!
THE LOOK OF CARING: When Jesus had gone into a desert place: “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” Whether an individual, or a multitude, the compassion of Christ was sufficient to the needs of all. He fed those five thousand, plus women and children, a full meal on only the provisions of a small lad – five loaves and two fishes: moreover the remains after all those thousands were fed, were twelve baskets full.
THE LOOK OF LOVE: “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” Mark 10:17-21 The young man came swiftly (the right way) – he came running. He knelt before the Lord – the right thing. The wrong title – Good Master (teacher). The wrong question – What can I DO to be saved? He did not recognize Jesus as God – “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” All who come to the Lord do not come with the right mind and attitude. We must approach with humility and repentance. We must recognize Him as Lord and ourselves as sinners. There is nothing we can DO to earn salvation – it is a free gift of grace!
THE LOOK OF COMPASSION: “And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” Luke 7:11-15 If we have the compassion of the Lord, we need not ask more. All goodness will follow.
THE LOOK OF HEALING: “And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” Mark 7:32-35 Unfortunately, there may be some reading this devotion who may be just as deaf and dumb in the Gospel as this man of Decapolis. You may be deaf to hear the love-between-the-lines of the Gospel, and/or you may be dumb in sharing the good news thereof. But the Lord is able to loose the cords of our tongue and to open the ears of the deaf who come to Him in earnest.
THE LOOK OF REASSURANCE: “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:24-27 Without the leading of the Holy Spirit in the reading of God’s Word, wealth, fame, power – it means nothing. It cannot save from the coming wrath of the Lord. But with God, there are no solid impediments to salvation. Life itself is even impossible by the power of man, but God is Author of and Giver of Life and all things are possible with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
There are many more Looks of Christ recorded in the Sacred Text. Why not search them out? You will discover that no one escapes His LOOK either for righteousness sake, or for rebuke!