How good is your eyesight? What do we look at each day? Why do we choose one thing in preference to another?
There is a sense in which we can talk about the ‘eyesight’ of the mind! (see Ephesians 1:18). Why do we think about certain things more than others? This thinking process came to light when the crowds had left Jesus and he spoke to “those around him with the twelve” (Mark 4:10). They ask him about the parables he taught. “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God” (verse 11). Is it a secret? There are references in the Old Testament to the kingdom! True, but the common expectation was that the Messiah would be a conquering king, and when that happened it would be unmistakable. But the point is – you have to commit yourself to Christ before that happens.
God’s way is to attract those who are prepared to think, ‘to use their brains’ as we might say. Jesus says he is speaking in parables “so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven” (verse 12). They had seen how different he was to other teachers; in Mark 1 we read, “they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority and not as the scribes” (verse 22). But being astonished is only a start!
Today we do not hear his teaching or see his miracles, but we know more about the miracle of creation than even, but many prefer to believe it all happened by chance! And, most important of all, we have this remarkable book that God caused to be written and preserved! How many read but do not understand? How many hear the Lord’s Prayer, but do not understand? Some start to understand, but, as in the parable says, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires of other things enter and choke the word” (verse 19) demonstrating the truth of his saying “they may indeed see but not perceive”.
God is not calling the half-hearted – may you not be half-hearted but have good eyesight.