Blurred Vision

“As disciples, may God save us from defective vision and grant us all kingdom vision instead.”
What a great thought! Not long ago I was forced to succumb to my age and buy my first pair of reading glasses. So when I read (clearly for the first time for ages) the above in a thought for the day it struck a bit of a chord. We can all see things the way we want to see them sometimes, and not the way they really are. I think that this is the story of Palm Sunday, a story of excitement and progress, but of a surprising lack of vision.
The excitement we find in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem can be seen in the light of similar events in the recent city history when Maccabean liberators had entered as potential conquerors.  The atmosphere as crowds came up to the feast must have been electric and heavy with both expectation and apprehension.  The land needed a liberator from the Romans! The people looked for a ruler to break oppression! Religious fervour was meeting burgeoning nationalism!  That was the vision stirring the hearts of many on that day as they cried out “Who is this?”(Mt 21:10). But even the explicit answer “Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth” (v11) seems to miss the point that the Son of David, the true Son of David comes to bring peace, comfort and salvation that is everlasting. This is the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the wonderful counsellor; the child of Isaiah 9, given as ruler and saviour. Blurred vision indeed.
In enacting the prophecy of Zechariah 9:10, Jesus was living out the “peace on earth”(Lk. 2:14) of his birth by accepting the role of the humble ruler focussed on the best for his people through glorifying God.  This is not a vision of self-aggrandisement, but of selfless service which the cross will soon put into sharp focus
Many whom we work with need things in their life to be sorted out … they want a vision of a ruler who will come and resolve their issues as quickly and completely as they were made. But the ruler on the colt very rarely works the way we expect him to. He is a ruler on a colt, not … as Dirty Harry would have it … the ruler with a Colt! He works in a much more effective way. As we encourage others to see Jesus as he really is over Easter, let us celebrate the fact that yes, he does bring freedom, yes he does release the oppressed, but he does it in a way that will often surprise us. and a way that will last. Let us see with his vision … a vision that goes through the entrance gates of Jeruslaem, through the trial, through the execution, and finally into life.

What a vision to follow - if it means buying better glasses, then let's do that!