Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.” (Luke 10:23-24 NASB)
There is a certain aspect to the “prophets of old” that always intrigued me. How much did they understand about what they were writing when it came to the “Messiah”? Was it simply a “Messianic Hope”? O was there something more? Or was there something less? From what Jesus says here privately to His disciples, I get the impression there was something more and less.
This passage follows immediately on the return of the seventy sent ahead of Jesus into various villages. They returned rejoicing and saying that even the demons were subject to them. Jesus responds with a brief charge to be more joyful over their salvation than that demons were subject to them. But He then praises the Father before everyone that He has revealed these things to such simple folk. Then He says this to His disciples privately.
What I gain from this series of events is that these “prophets and kings” who wished to see and hear these things are the ones who prophesied Jesus’ coming. And from how Jesus words it, they were aware that something big was coming without knowing the details. They wanted to know more, but didn’t. They longed to experience the things that they were saying was coming.
So in terms of inspiration of Scripture, this tells me a lot. One of the problems I’ve had with so-called messianic prophesies is that they seem so vague. I think sometimes people apply them to Jesus, when they could be applied to other events or people as well. I know that sometimes it’s both-and, not one or the other (both then and in the future with Jesus). But I think this nebulous wording really is what Jesus is getting at. The prophets themselves really didn’t know any more. They wanted to, but weren’t given more info.
What this means for me is that my Master really doesn’t feel the need or obligation to provide all the detail. And I learn this is true even with the “big things”. It’s frustrating, and I have to admit I find it confusing in the midst of the “big things”. The truth is though, that these sorts of things build my faith. Of course, I have to have a little faith first, but these then “bulk it up”.
Think about what it must have been like for the disciples to hear Jesus say that. It was probably exhilarating, but also intimidating. These same prophets and kings were the “heroes” and “fathers” of old. They were the “great men” about whom were the stories on which these disciples were raised. And here they were gaining a benefit these great ones wanted but never got. I hope it gave them shivers.
Keep in mind, having experienced all this “greatness” they still didn’t understand who Jesus was, and had no idea what He was going to do. So, hearing and seeing what the “great ones” never did didn’t make them “greater”. They were still ordinary men. That’s comforting to me. My Master may not reveal it all to me, but He also doesn’t expect me to be so great I’m able to “fill in the gaps”, understand the unstated, be suddenly brilliant. That’s good, because I’m not likely to be or do anything like that. I can be me, simply as I am, and He will show me what I need or what He wants. And it all works out.
What’s your view through the knothole? (sorry if that seemed rather abrupt, but I was done…)