The Third Sunday of Advent December 12th, 2010

“The Advent King’s Cure for Our Myopia”
Myopia is a disease that affects nearly 70 million Americans. I have myopia. In fact, I have a severe case of myopia. It’s not deadly. It’s not life-threatening in any way in and of itself, but it does effect how I live and the things that I do every single day. Some of you probably have myopia – but perhaps you know it better as being “near-sighted.” If you are near-sighted, you know that it affects your everyday life. You have to put on glasses or wear contact lenses to be able to see sharply enough to perform simple everyday tasks like driving a car or even watching television. Myopia sufferers also have tremendous difficulty in the dark, because their eyes do not adjust to the absence of light very well. Without assistance, the myopic live in a blurry, dark, undefined world where they are severely disabled, and subsequently prohibited from seeing important things clearly. Myopia is “near-sightedness,” and oh, how Christians suffer from it – no not the physical disease, spiritual near-sightedness. The prophet Isaiah is going to put some glasses on us today that help us to see how the “glory of the Lord” made flesh, the advent King, our Lord Jesus Christ, cures our spiritual nearsightedness. He first sharpens our present perspective through fulfilled promise. He sharpens our view of our present circumstances, enabling us to see farther, beyond the here and now. Essentially, what we see with our physical eyes now, the deformity, the deficiency of a sin-laden world and a sin-infested existence, what we see is NOT what we’re going to get in the end. And that gives us confidence to, “face the evils of each day with fresh confidence,” as we so often pray. And secondly, he navigates us home to heaven. He invites us to cling to him and his cross as he leads us along the Way of Holiness that will bring us from the exile of this temporal abode to our final rest, our homeland of heaven. Those who suffer from myopia live in an extremely blurry world. Those of you who have myopia, you know how difficult it is to decipher anything without your glasses or contact lenses. Even when I’m watching television, if I’m not right up close to the screen, all I see is background, I can’t make out the images, the people, the places clearly, and what I have to give me any understanding of what’s going on is what I hear. For the myopic, without our glasses or contacts, we have to be a bit more attentive to what we hear, and that fills in details that we couldn’t see or recognize otherwise. We are all spiritually myopic. Every single human being has had their spiritual vision impeded, distorted and blurred by that sin disease that entered the world at Eden. It affects us today, that ancient disease. Even now, our understanding of God and his will are imperfect, flawed, and our view of our present circumstances is just as blurry, because it’s difficult for us to think and to look beyond the challenges of the here and now, specifically the challenges of being a Christian in a predominantly antiChristian world. That can wear on us. That fact burdens us immensely, all because our vision is blurred by sin. I. He sharpens our present perspective Isaiah 35:1-10

God has a cure to sharpen our vision so that we see beyond the here and now to the far-reaching fulfillment of his promises – and that cure is his Word of salvation in Jesus Christ, a Word that helps us to fill in what we cannot clearly see in our blurry sinful state. Here is his word, verses 1-4:

“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.”

Life, rejoicing, joy; quite the opposite of what we experience in the here and now, and completely opposite from what the Israelites had and would continue to experience when they went into exile. What do we see now, but death and little reason to rejoice. What we see now is every reason to be down, and precious few things which we are joyful about. The Advent King changes all of that! The glory of the LORD, the majesty of God made flesh changes all of that! We have every reason to rejoice even now, when our physical eyes see a parched world and a wilderness of unbelief. We have every reason to join with Christians around the world and with the saints in heaven to sing our “alleluias” because once again the Glory of the Lord made flesh, Jesus Christ has gone into action to give to mankind and therefore to us what we could never give ourselves – life eternal; full citizenship in the homeland of heaven. How splendid, how glorious and in such an unusual way too – through a cross, through blood; his suffering for our eternal glory – amazing! The problem is, it’s difficult for us to look that far ahead, isn’t it? We’re myopic, spiritually speaking! We can’t see this glorious end with 100% absolute clarity. So we need to listen! If we can’t see clearly, we must listen! That’s what near-sighted folks do when they try to watch television without their glasses on – they have to listen. How ridiculous it would be to turn on the television, not be able to make out the picture clearly and then turn the volume down so that you can’t hear it, or worse, hit the mute button. Pointless! Even the captions wouldn’t help, because you can’t see them! You need to listen! The same is true when it comes to God’s promises in Scripture. Just as the Israelites should have listened to the prophets who spoke, who served the people by clarifying through Word what they could not see with their eyes, the advent of the Christ, so also today we have to have our ears open. We absolutely cannot press the MUTE button on God. His Word not only clarifies his Messianic plan for the world, sharpens in us our need a Savior, and warns us to keep our eyes open in these last days and to be constantly prepared for the final revealing of the Glory of the Lord, it also clarifies why we can be joyful in the context of much suffering – because eternal glory awaits! You can’t see it, nor can I. It’s blurry, off in the distance. But with our ears open, we will have reasons to be joyful as we await the eternal and perfect joy of heaven. Romans 8:18 reminds us of that very thing: “18 I consider that our present

sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
II. He navigates us home to heaven

Now, as challenging as it is to watch television when you’re near-sighted, there are other everyday tasks that are nearly impossible to do without eyesight assistance, like driving. If you’re myopic like me, then you know that it’s not wise to drive a car without your corrective lenses. In fact, it’s illegal according to the laws of the State of Michigan (Ohio). It’s dangerous, deadly. And besides those reasons, many near-sighted people couldn’t see the road signs anyway, so you wouldn’t know where you were going unless you had a GPS device that could keep telling you, “Go (here), turn (here), your destination is (here)” and even then, there would be difficulty.

The myopic lack sharpness and clarity, and they lack the ability to navigate themselves around without some kind of assistance, usually corrective lenses. I suppose you could look at myopia as a form of blindness. We are spiritually blind by nature, and even in our Christian faith, we are myopic, near-sighted, blurry, darkened in our hearts and our understanding of God and his will, all a result of that first debilitating disease introduced to the world at Eden. For that reason, the Spirit directed the prophet Isaiah to give us some clarity, and after foretelling Jesus’ miracles of healing the lame, the mute, the blind and the deaf, he says this: There’s no place like home! This is the time of year when people return to the places where they grew up, where they established so many traditions and memories, and if someone has been away from home for a while, it’s a joyful thing to walk in the door to be embraced by family, by the people that love you and care about you. We have a hymn in our hymnal that begins, “I’m but a stranger here. Heaven is my home!” How true! And since our myopia is so severe, since our spiritual vision is so blurred, we need a navigator to bring us there – and that’s exactly what we have in “the way, the truth and the life,” Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what we have in “the light of the world” who enlightens our dark hearts with his Word. But unlike a conventional GPS that gives demands and directions, “Go here, turn here, make a uturn here,” our advent King navigator simply calls out to us: “Cling to me, and I will get you there! Hold on to me and I will bring you home! Trust in me, my cross, my blood, my sacrifice, my death, my resurrection, which was all for you, the ransom price demanded for you to enter heaven. Hold on and never let go. Come to me, cling to me, cling to my Word and I will give you rest.” Cling! That’s what the blind often have to do, hold on to the leader to get where they need to go. In these last days, fellow myopic Christian friends, it is all the more important for us to take our faith seriously, to take God’s Word seriously and to have it constantly in our lives, especially the public receiving of God’s grace in worship. For every time that you spend time in corporate worship, in Scripture study, in personal meditation, at home, at church, whenever the Word of God is open to you, there your navigator calls out to you: “Me, cling to me, blind one, myopic one and I will bring you home.” Myopia isn’t a life-threatening condition. But spiritual myopia can be eternally life-threatening without divine intervention. Our God has graciously provided the cure for our myopia through the advent King, who sharpens our present perspective and navigates us to our heavenly home, all through his Word. Cling to that Word, cling to that Savior for dear life, and to be sure, in the end, he will lead you to your heavenly family, who is right now ready and waiting to welcome you with a homecoming that is without compare. Amen.

“8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; ...only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful