Turn your eyes upon Jesus 

 

There is a meme going around of the manger scene that some see as two T-Rexes fighting over a table saw. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. I have found the same thing to be true when reading the Bible.

For years I viewed John 14:6 as a verse of demarcation that identifies who’s in and who’s out in the kingdom of God, but recently I have come to discover it to be a verse of embarkation inviting Christ followers into a life-long relationship of deeper desires and deeper answers

Helen Lemmel’s timeless chorus is:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full in his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of his glory and grace.

 

It is not really a Christmas song, but it certainly does speak to the season. Instead of looking at John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me,” as a declaration of membership, I started to see it as an invitation to mentorship. 

I turned my eyes upon Jesus and heard him say to me, “I am the way.”

This Advent season I invite you to walk with me into this verse and turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. I realize too often I have given a sideways glance but am convicted that I need to be more focused.

The way shines the light on how we ought to live.

Recently, my wife asked my daughter who she thought Eleanor (our newest granddaughter) would be when she grew up. I wonder if Mary had any idea, even with the prophecies.

Jesus would grow up to show us how to live.  Of course, it started with the emptying of himself into the form of an infant, placed in a feed trough. Here he showed us the way to live – with humility.

This humility wove its way through every aspect of his life, to his very last supper before his death. Jesus got up from the Passover table and took off his outer garment and took a towel and basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet. It seemed to be no less shocking to them as it would be to you if began washing your feet.

For different reasons, I’m sure, but no less shocking. When Jesus returned to his seat he told them if the master does this for the disciples, they ought to at least be willing to do it for one another.

I think when Jesus was telling the disciples that he is The Way, he was exhorting them to live the way he lived.

“If you want to see the Father, follow me.”

There was no room in The Way to put on airs or ever feel above that. He touched lepers, spoke to women with respect, ate with tax collectors, liberated the tormented, accepted the rejected, loved like no one had ever witnessed before.

He is the way.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Lord, this Advent season, we turn our eyes toward you. From the manger to the cross we see a humility from which too often we shy away. Help us to realize that is only in following your way that we see our Father in heaven. This day we turn our eyes upon you, look full in your wonderful face. Amen.

 

Rev. Kip Gilts is the Assistant tot the Bishop for the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Kip and his wife Tammy enjoy worshipping at a variety of different churches across the Conference.

A Closer Christmas is brought to you by the Communications Department of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. To be considered as a future blogger, please contact Shannon W. Martin, Director of Communication at smartin@txcumc.org