Summary: With this year being 2020, its worthwhile to ask: what would 20/20 vision look like for us as Christian and for our church?
OPEN: Three ladies were in a restaurant and as they picked up their menus each one put on a pair of glasses. A little embarrassed, the first woman said "I really only need mine for close reading." The second shyly remarked, "I only use mine when the light is bad." The third smiled and confessed, "I rarely wear mine - except when I want to see."
The real reason those ladies needed glasses was because they didn’t have 20/20 eyesight.
ILLUS: I got a little curious about why its called “20/20 eyesight thing” so I looked it up. And I found that if you go into an optometrist’s office you’ll see a chart like this one (we showed an eye chart on the overhead that a red line under the 8th line of the chart). On this chart, down at line “8” you’ll see a red line. That’s the “20/20” line. An optometrist will have you seated 20 feet from the chart, and if you have good vision, that’s the last line you can read clearly without glasses. 20/20 is the baseline for good vision. Now, if you had better than average vision – say 20/10 vision - you might see a line further down the chart at 20 feet that an average person could see standing 10 feet away from the chart. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31kYnnIjugQ)
Now 20/20 vision is very important to a lot of people. A lot of us don’t have 20/20 vision, so we have to use corrective lenses (glasses/contacts) because we want to be able to see things that are important to us. We want to have a perfect vision!!! And what I found interesting is that - this year - January 1st will be on Wednesday. And the year will be (wait for it) 20… 20. That makes this a great time to talk about vision.
The question for us this morning is this: What is the vision we should have as church and as Christians? What should be the measure of a perfect 20/20 eyesight in 2020?
You know what the answer is? The answer is … JESUS!!!! He’s the measure of perfect vision. Hebrews 12:2 says we should “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (NIV)
Now there are a lot of churches that love the passage we read today - “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21). In fact, that’s such a popular phrase that a lot of churches have it engraved on their pulpits to remind their preachers that that’s what they want to see. They want to Jesus when their preachers preach.
ILLUS: I remember at the first church I served. They had that statement on the pulpit “WE WOULD SEE JESUS!” And I was so excited because I wanted to preach about Jesus!!! The only problem was, the leadership didn’t really want to see Jesus all that bad. They didn’t mind seeing Jesus… as long as He was more than 20 ft away because, that way, He could be fuzzy enough that they could make Him into anything they wanted to see.
And that is a natural tendency. It’s a trap a lot of Christians fall into. We tend to see the Jesus that WE want to see - not the Jesus who IS!
ILLUS: There’s the true story of a professor who was teaching a class called “Jesus of Nazareth.” On the opening day of the class he gave a standardized psychological test. The first part of the test was all about Jesus. It asked students to imagine Jesus' personality with questions like, "Would Jesus prefer to go his own way rather than act by the rules?" And "Was he a worrier?" The second part of the test asked the same questions of the students. But instead of "Was he a worrier?" it asked, "Are YOU a worrier?" He said the results were phenomenal. The test revealed that most people tend to think Jesus is like THEM. Introverts thought Jesus was introverted (for example), and extroverts thought Jesus was extroverted.
These students hadn’t fixed their eyes on the Jesus who WAS. They only saw the Jesus who was like them, and who agreed with them. Jesus wasn’t the measure of who THEY should be. Instead, THEY were the measure of who Jesus should be.
That’s what happens if we’re not careful to fix our eyes upon Jesus. It gets kinda dangerous.
ILLUS: If we take our eyes off Jesus, we can cripple our faith. Do you remember the story of Jesus walking on the water? Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and asked to be able to come out to him - and HE walked water! All was good until he took his eyes off of Jesus and he started looked at the wind and the waves. Then he sank into the water and cried out for Jesus to help him. When Jesus got him back in the boat He said: “O you of little faith. Why did you doubt?”