The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. [John 1:9-11 (MSG)]

7-27-15 CARDINAL6991weLast fall, I wrote about false prophets (“The Fraud”) after mistaking a fake bird for a real one. Yesterday, I almost missed the real thing! Wandering through the Botanic Gardens, what I initially thought was a red scarf or a fallen blossom fluttering in the breeze turned out to be a fledgling cardinal. Perhaps he was too young to be frightened by the many people walking past him as he boldly remained perched on a small sign close to the ground. I seemed to be the only one who noticed this beautiful creature, as exquisite as any of the blooms in the gardens. Never expecting a real bird to perch that close to the pathway, it wasn’t until I came within a few inches of him that I knew him to be real! Ignored by everyone but me, he remained there, chirping away, for several minutes and God blessed me with another one of His “Aha!” moments.

Was that what it was like when Jesus walked the Holy Land? Did people just pass Him by, hurrying to their destination, too busy to notice this itinerant preacher? Had they forgotten the promise of a Messiah? Were they so sure they knew what to expect that they didn’t see what was right in front of them? After generations of ignoring God and His messengers, were they so set in their ways they wouldn’t even stop to listen to Jesus’ words? Were they blind and deaf to His message of truth? Those who didn’t notice the bird merely missed an “Aha!” moment; failing to see Jesus, however, has tragic consequences.

When it comes to our relationship with Jesus, are we like those people who missed seeing the bird. How will we know if He is real if we don’t stop, look and listen? Prayer and God’s word will draw us close enough to hear and see Him. Yet, do we use our mouths more than our ears when we pray? Are we so intent on our needs that we don’t hear God’s message to us? When we read the Bible, do we look for what we want to read, cherry-picking our favorite verses, or do we examine what is actually there? Do we ever skim through a chapter and miss the beauty that is hidden in God’s words? Do we fail to experience glory moments with Him simply because we’re neither looking nor listening?

Eyes that see and ears that hear are blessed by God. He made himself known to man through Jesus Christ but it is up to us to see and hear Him. Father in Heaven, let us never pass by the truth; open our hearts and minds to the real presence of Jesus in our lives.

But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance. [Matthew 13:16-17 (MSG)]

Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” [John 14:6-7 (MSG)]