So Close and Yet So Far

when the blind lead the blind

Do you think it’s possible to do great things for God and yet be completely unaware of what God is doing? To be in on something big and not even realize it? To see everything, but see nothing at all?

Until recently, my answer might have been “no.” But I had the disciples all wrong . . .

Surely people who saw Jesus with their own eyes would get it. If they followed him that closely and spent that much time with him, surely they’d understand. When Jesus sent them out to serve, and preach, and heal, it was because they had the inside scoop, right? They were thinking properly, had all the right theology, and were totally equipped for the task.

Okay, then why were they shocked when Jesus calmed the storm? For the second time in just days.

And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded. Mark 6:51

Why did they act so clueless when Jesus told a parable?

His disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding?” 7:17-18

Why did they think they were in such a predicament when they had no food for four thousand people? They had just watched him feed five thousand people . . .

And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 8:4

And then only hours after seven baskets of leftovers were gathered . . .

And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 8:16

Eventually, Jesus told them about his impending suffering and resurrection. And after the second explanation . . .

So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 9:10

After the third explanation . . .

They did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. 9:32

Okay, so they didn’t get it. They didn’t understand. If they had the inside scoop, they didn’t realize it. They weren’t thinking properly, they didn’t have all the right theology, and they weren’t totally equipped for the task.

And yet Jesus sent them out on their own and gave them authority. And these distracted, spaced-out guys with a severe case of short-term memory loss preached the gospel, cast out demons, and healed people.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.

And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

6:7,12-13

I’ll have to admit, I’m taken aback by this. I’m surprised that the disciples were so blind, and I’m really surprised Jesus gave such undiscerning people so much power and authority.

Lesson #1: God sometimes calls the blind to lead the blind – perhaps because, when he uses clueless, unlikely people, the true Source of power becomes quite clear.

Lesson #2: How grave the danger of familiarity. These were Jesus’ closest followers. So close and yet so far.

But surely one day all the parables and miracles would make sense. Surely one day they would look at their Leader with eyes of recognition and understanding.

Maybe they just needed to see the empty tomb.

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

Then again . . .

 [image credit: dndon.info]


25 thoughts on “So Close and Yet So Far

  1. So very true. Sometimes I think it’s because we still don’t really fully grasp whose we are and who He is. We get lost in the everyday world-defined ordinary – which is so opposite God’s ordinary! I enjoyed your message – you laid it out well!

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  2. Thought-provoking, carefully considered piece. Reminds me of Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” I think that’s why we need the Spirit of God to reveal the Word of God to us…and we need to respond each time it is revealed to us.

    I think not one of us really “sees” until God opens our heart to “see”: Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

    I can truly empathize with the disciples. I grew up in a Bible-believing and teaching church, with God-fearing parents and yet were it not for the Spirit of God opening up past trauma and hurt, I would not ever have truly been able to “see”.

    And even now I have moments I do not “see”, but when I lean into God in those moments, when I admit I cannot “see”, He then opens my eyes to “see” through His Word and His Spirit of Truth, removing one more brick of deceit blinding me from seeing Him. I believe none of us will fully “see” until heaven, when our deceitful hearts will be replaced by whole, fully restored hearts, unified with Christ. Earth is a place for the transformation to begin, heaven and the new earth, a place for the transformation to be completed.

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  3. Lydia, I just love your writing. This particular post hits me right between the eyes, just days after having a major temper tantrum with God over what I perceived was an injustice, and yet turned out (when I looked at it a different way) to be a huge blessing! There I was, right in the middle of an answered prayer, and yet I didn’t even see it! Yes, sometimes we can be so blind … but thank God, He is always there to open our eyes, when we sincerely seek His wisdom! We just need to be willing to look at things HIS way.

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  4. Lydia,
    What words of wisdom you share here today! I must admit I can relate to the disciples because my eyes were not opened until the after stroke. It was not until then I could see that it was God who blessed me with talents and abilities to not only earn a large salary and a successful career but to serve Him completely. To be a testimony so that others might know Him. it is my prayer that in my weakness people will see my Savior as I seek to live for His glory. I may not understand everything until i reach heaven but that is how it’s supposed to be. It forces me to trust him completely in every circumstance. Thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts. Have a wonderful week and God bless!

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  5. Lydia, This is so beautifully written and such a powerful message! As I read, I was reminded of a truly thought-provoking question I once heard, “Do I really believe that what I say I believe is REALLY real?” Thank you for the reminder that even the disciples struggled with this in the day-to-day of life here in a broken world. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. I love the way you break the scripture down here, Lydia. It is all so thought-provoking. Definitely sharing this and need to reread. I put a lot of weight into being a disciple of Christ and this sort of flips the coin. It even reveals how patient Christ was, and how much He trusted that His obedience to His Father and living it out alongside these men, would not return void. So, God must be powerful and sovereign if He can work miracles through stubborn and hard-hearted folk!

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  7. Lydia, how wonderfully good this is! Your words led to such a great final sentence. It also encourages my heart that He chooses people today just like that also. He was never looking for the perfect people to follow Him, discover Him, or understand Him. So glad to discover you today at the Linkup at Grammie Time!

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  8. A quick ‘good-evening’ from your next door neighbor at Lyli’s … always so good to meet a new kindred blogger!

    And especially good here, because Lydia is my 12 year old granddaughter’s name. And my mom’s middle name …

    ;-}

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  9. What a blessing it is indeed for a MESSY, broken, and sinful woman like me to be called to partner with Him in His plans! By the Spirit alone is it possible that I can accomplish even the smallest task for His glory! Blessings, liz

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  10. Yes it is amazing how dense they were even though they walked so close with Him. Yet we realize that we too are absent at times when God wants to use us in similar manners as did the 12. I am so thankful that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to walk and talk along side us as we minister. There are rumblings of revival over our nation (and the world), yet we fail to believe it can happen in our local church. San Diego County and LA has just experienced an outpouring and other meets are scheduled. Other States share about revival and souls being saved and delivered. Often God does not use those with big names, but He uses the cast offs of society to confound the wise. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

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  11. I really enjoyed how you presented these thoughts. And I wonder how often we are like the disciples when they just didn’t seem to get it…. Thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup! Blessings to you.

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  12. Yes, I think you’re right. God often uses the most clueless people…and this makes it all the more clear to whom the glory belongs. I’m encouraged by these examples of the disciples. If even they did “get it” all the time, there’s hope for me! Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week.

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