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Keep Your Eyes Open

Daily Reading: Acts 13

Scripture Focus: They did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath. (Acts 13.27)

Devotional Thought: Have you ever had that experience of seeing someone but not recognizing them? It often happens when you encounter them outside “their setting.” It’s happened to me before. People from church run into me outside the church, and they look right past me. If I “get in their face,” they usually start and say, “Oh, Pastor! I didn’t see you.” They actually saw me, but they didn’t recognize me.

When Paul was preaching in Acts 13, he described how that very thing happened to Jesus. Although people saw Jesus, they did not recognize Jesus. I think that we can learn from their experience.

Jesus was preached “in the synagogue” which would be parallel to our “church” today. Over the course of centuries, faithful expositors of God’s Word had preached about the coming Messiah. The Jews of Jesus’ generation were in a perfect place to encounter him. Yet, they missed him. We must be careful of missing Jesus right in our own churches.

They “did not recognize Jesus.” They had an idea of where and how they would see the Messiah. Jesus did not fit their expectations. He was not in the right context. Do we confine Jesus to the church and block him from the rest of our lives? He has something to say to us every day in every situation!

They did “not understand the prophets.” Through his Word, God has given plenty of signs of what the coming Messiah would be like. But, people tend to read the scripture through the lens of their own prejudices and preferences. To truly encounter Jesus, let the Bible speak in your context. Do not force your context onto the Bible.

Jesus is near. Keep your eyes open!

Prayer: Lord, help me not just to see you, but to recognize you. Free me from my prejudices and preferences, and help me to receive your message from the most unlikely of sources. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. 10 For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together 11 and say, "God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him." 12 O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! 13 May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt. 14 But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. 16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. (Psalms 71:9-16)

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