16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Matt 13:16-17 (NIV)

Jesus’ Words found in our verses for today point to those penned in the great Hall of Faith chapter of Hebrews describing the righteous who were commended for living out what they believed by faith. Their actions were particularly praiseworthy in light of the fact that they only welcomed the fulfillment of the promises from a distance - on their side of Calvary. And God was not ashamed to be called their God:

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Heb 11:13-16 (NIV)

The realities of the promises were far off for these pilgrims who continued to faithfully sojourn - longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Is it not easy to want to turn around and go back to the same “country”, to the same old lifestyle we embraced before Jesus came into our hearts? Do we offend God by longing for the leeks and onions of Egypt as did the Israelites – to their own harm – insatiably desirous of the past? Longing to linger in the here and now with no sights on the eternal? Will we be ones that are found faithful to the finish in our faith? Will those who come behind us find us faithful as well? Will God not be ashamed to be called our God? Hmmm...

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” Steve Green

“You were born for freedom. You deliver into it through obedience. No one ever entered into the full rest of God by giving Him only half of themselves.” Ann Voskamp

Jesus wanted His guys to know what a privilege it was for them to hear and see and understand the Truths which He presented. He desires for us to realize this as well. Truths that the Old Testament saints and prophets longed to know. Those from the past had been given glimpses and glimmerings of the gospel light and earnestly coveted further revelations. Not only these, but Peter tells us that even the angels desired to look into these things – both prophets and angels were held in awe and wonder over the grace which was to come. Isn’t it sad that oftentimes we handle God’s Word so flippantly or cavalierly?

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. 1 Peter 1:10-12 (NIV)

Further, Paul had a firm grasp on the importance of spreading this good news as he tells us in Colossians that he was a servant to the commission of presenting the gospel in its fullness to his hearers – oh that we as modern day believers in Jesus would be so likeminded and purposeful in presenting our faith:

25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:25-27 (NIV)

“The grace of God is love freely shown towards guilty sinners, contrary to their merit and indeed in defiance of their demerit. It is God showing goodness to persons who deserve only severity, and had no reason to expect anything but severity. We have seen why the thought of grace means so little to some church people—namely, because they do not share the beliefs about God and man which it presupposes. Now we have to ask: why should this thought mean so much to others? The answer is not far to seek; indeed, it is evident from what has already been said. It is surely clear that, once a man is convinced that his state and need are as described, the New Testament gospel of grace cannot but sweep him off his feet with wonder and joy. For it tells how our Judge has become our Saviour.” J.I. Packer

What I Glean

  • Old Testament saints and prophets faithfully lived out they believed and only welcomed the promises from a distance.
  • God desires for me to finish well.
  • I am to be passionate in presenting the good news to others.