Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.
Some would make Jesus to be a confused, weak, indecisive guy. They like the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” picture of Jesus. Now, I can’t read people’s minds, but my assumption is that they’d like a Jesus that they can control.
If he is just a guy, and a weak willed one at that, then they get to tell him what to do. Control him and keep doing whatever they want. Our culture likes a week Jesus because we want to be in control.
But there’s nothing weak about the Jesus of history. He doesn’t get pushed around and he’s not a slave to circumstances. Just the opposite, he directs and takes control of whatever is going on around him and uses it to glorify his Father and show us exactly who he is.
And while there are times that Jesus interacts with large crowds, here he is directing all of his attention on the disciples. After asking the disciples how much food they have, he gives instructions to them. They are to have the people sit down in organized groups on the grass.
Jesus then again takes control by taking the loaves and fish. He doesn’t moan, wondering what is going to happen next. He purposefully looks up to heaven to his heavenly Father. This is not some distant, remote, and impersonal heavenly Father, but the one he has had a deep, loving, and intimate relationship with from eternity past.
He doesn’t look down at his feet, but he looks up to heaven. He wants to have a face-to-face conversation with his heavenly Father.
When it comes time for us to talk to God, which way do we turn? Do we turn our face down and away, or do we look up? I get it that looking down is humble, but does God always want to see the top of your head?
In Jesus Christ we are made new, complete, his adopted sons and daughters. The wall that had separated us has been broken down. The eternal problem of sin has been dealt with once and for all.
Isn’t it time we started looking up?
When it comes time to kiss the one you love, do you kiss them on top of the head? Do you want to look deeply into their scalp?
No! You want to look at their face. You want to gaze deeply into their eyes. You want to see every nook and cranny. You want to see their mouth and every feature on their face.
And when it comes time to kiss them, it’s not on the hand. Or on top of their head. But gently and sweetly on their cheek or on their lips.
That’s how you show your love for them. You want to look deeply into their eyes. And that look goes both ways – they want to see you and your eyes while you do the same back to them.
We just went to a wedding of a dear friend. When they were up front, they weren’t looking at the tops of each other’s head. Yes, they were holding hands, but that’s not where they were looking.
They were looking into each other’s eyes. And that’s where God wants us to be.
But the haunting question is do we want God to be looking into our eyes? And do we want to be looking back into him?
In Jesus Christ, that’s exactly where we can be. Fully exposed, fully known, fully transparent to God. And we can gaze back at him. There’s a hymn that says it better than I ever could:
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.
And the things of earth; the pain, the sorrow, the brokenness, the hollowness, the emptiness, the unfulfilled life can be transported into seeing him and life from an eternal perspective. Seeing him in control, using everything, yes, even our brokenness and failures for good.
These painful things are not good. But God can transform them into good.
If He can take the death of Jesus and transformed it into our good, then taking our brokenness is a little thing. He can make it into something good and beautiful.