“I tell you the truth…” Matthew 13:17
Scientists and researchers are uniquely gifted with an insatiable appetite for discovery. Their curiosity and perspective are driving forces in their lives to understand why things are the way they are, and how those things can be manipulated to develop new solutions for product development, fight disease, improve the quality of life, and even offer an advantage in national defense. In a very real way, a scientist’s present life is a predictor of our future life.
Many scientists, after years of research and scientific trials, go to the grave disappointed because their presupposition or theory was never proven or discovered, or that they were never able to see the full benefit of their discovery. Certainly, the great minds of the past would have longed to see the discoveries and scientific advances that have been made up to now. Galileo longed to see the universe through a more powerful telescope, and would be completely captivated by the images the Hubble telescope has been sending; da Vinci would be captivated by the development of prosthetics; and Einstein would be jumping at the chance to use a sub-atomic collider. Similarly, biblical prophets would have been overjoyed to experience the life of Christ: both Simeon and Anna rejoiced for just such a reason (read Luke 2:21-38).
ITYTT appears again in Matthew 13:17, just after Jesus had explained the parable of the sower. The Master Teacher concluded His explanation with the words: “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (v.12) Those who love to learn will learn more. Those who yearn for discovery will discover even greater things. Jesus even told the listeners their eyes and ears were blessed to see and hear the Teacher and His teachings.
The phrase under inspection was then introduced into the conversation:
“I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”
Jesus was driving home the point: ‘Wake up! You’re about to miss the definitive Jewish hope of the last thousand years!’ Of course, He was speaking about Himself being the Messiah – The Promised One. Though Jesus described how God revealed such to little children (read Matthew 11:25), He provided three specific examples of His Lordship to the pharisees:
1. Jesus defended His disciples when they plucked the heads of grain on the Sabbath, and then used the sacred texts to prove His point when He recalled the time David and his mighty men ate the consecrated bread (read 1 Samuel 21:6; Leviticus 24:5-9). He then reminded the pharisees how the priests even desecrate the Sabbath by the work of their hands in preparing the sacrifice (read Numbers 28:9-10). Jesus followed these two examples with the words: “I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.” He confronted the teachers of the law, saying, “…the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12: 1-8)
2. After being asked by the pharisees and teachers of the law to perform a miracle, Jesus rebuked them, telling them the only sign they would be given was the sign of Jonah. He then declared, “…and now one greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)
3. Jesus also declared His wisdom to be superior when He said, “…now one greater than Solomon is here.”
Redemption’s story is a drama written in the heart of God. He developed a plan that would end satan’s power and influence, speaking of it to Adam just before expelling Eve and him from the garden of Eden:
“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
It was at the cross where satan struck at the heart of God by seeking to eliminate the head – Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. However, it was also at the cross, where Jesus dealt the death blow to satan’s influence by removing the sting of sin and death. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:55-57) That was what the prophets and righteous people longed to see and know… the arrival of the long-promised redeemer – The Messiah. The eternal truth is reflected in the words Jesus breathed on the cross – “It is finished.” (Read John 19:28-30) Jesus will forever be ascribed praise and glory for the atoning work of the cross (read Revelation 5:12-14; 7:11-12; 12:10-12; 19:1-7)!
This eternal truth is greater than the walls of the temple, which were rebuilt twice, because The Word became flesh and will last forever as Heaven’s King. This eternal truth is greater than Jonah, as evidenced by Jesus’ resurrection. This eternal truth is greater than Solomon’s wisdom, as no one knows the day or hour when He will return to make all things new, but we can long to see that day, following the example given by the prophets of old!
Have a blessed day…