Perception is reality.

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Have you heard that?  It’s the idea that how we perceive a situation shapes our opinions and behaviors in those situations.  In other words, we don’t see things the way they really are; we see things the way we really are.

This isn’t new.  In Jesus’ day, many people were exactly the same way: they saw Jesus the way they chose to see Him.  More accurately, they couldn’t see Him as the Messiah because Jesus didn’t fit their perception of what the Messiah was to be like.

In John 8:21-27 we read:

Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

“Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him.  

John 8:21-30, NIV
Photo by Teu Caqui from Pexels

Their misguided perceptions clouded their ability to understand the straightforward words coming out of His mouth.  So He cuts through this by reminding them He is from Heaven while they are part of the fallen world (verse 23).

In their natural ability, they would be unable to see Him for Who He is.  It required the faith ignited by the Father through the Holy Spirit.  They were blind because of their perception.  Tragically, what they believed the Messiah must be prevented them from seeing the Son of God right there in front of them—in the flesh.

While their spiritual discernment was worthless, Jesus left no doubt about Who sent Him.  God the Father had dispatched Jesus to redeem the world.  If the world rejects that offer, then we die in our sins.  He left no doubt.

Have your perceptions blinded you to Who Jesus is?

Have there been times when you felt let down by the Lord?  Have you felt He didn’t hold up His end of the bargain?  That’s perception clouding reality. 

Have you ever put words in His mouth?  Have you ever said, “I think God would do this”?  Perhaps it took the form of “God wouldn’t do that.”  Sometimes we’re right.  Sometimes, it’s our perception not embracing the reality that the Lord doesn’t operate the way we think He should.

Dear one, don’t be like the spiritually blind Jewish people around Jesus in this story.  Let the reality of Who He is, what He has done, and what He will do inform your perceptions and ideas.

Open your eyes and your heart to Him.  Embrace Him for Who He is.