A day or two later, I headed toward the firepit on the east side of the property, just fifteen feet or so this side of the eastern fence. I never saw a thing until 13 turkeys suddenly flew out of the oak trees on the other side. We are talking thirty pound birds up in the trees, big blobs of brown and I never saw them until they flew in a racket like a dozen sheets flapping on a clothesline in a stiff breeze. How had I not seen those great big birds in winter-bare trees not a stone's throw away? I'll tell you how—I never expected to see such a thing. Turkeys avoid flying if they can at all for one thing, and I certainly never saw one that high up, not to mention thirteen of them!
Which goes to show, I suppose, that we see what we expect to see, and miss what we don't expect. Everyone does. Jesus was certainly not the Messiah the Jews expected nor his kingdom either. Even his apostles had trouble with that. It can happen to us as well. We don't see the real Jesus because society has painted such a prevalent picture of a weak, namby-pamby, accept-everyone-as-they-are picture of him. I actually heard someone say recently, "Jesus never offended anyone." Are they reading the same Bible I am?
And he called to him the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which enters into the mouth defiles the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Know thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit (Matt 15:10-14). And that is just one of many examples. Jesus had no problem at all saying what needed to be said whether others liked it or not.
Then I heard someone say, "Jesus will accept me the way I am." Well, yes, at the beginning, but he expects change and commitment. "Go your way and sin no more," he told the adulterous woman in John 8:11. And what did he say to a few who wanted to follow him? And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But he said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God. And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house. But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:59-62).
And do you realize that, "O ye of little faith," was always spoken to his disciples? Not just interested people, but people who had left all to follow him. Kind of drill-sergeant tough, don't you think?
Do you know why we miss those things? Because we don't expect to hear them from Jesus, and worse, we don't want to hear them. When the crowds of disciples turned and left after the hard sermon in John 6, Jesus did not chase them down, saying, "Wait! I didn't mean to be so harsh. Come back and let me try again." No, he turned to the Twelve and said, "Are you going to leave too?"
I pray we all have the faith Peter did at that moment and can say even to a Jesus who is not always what everyone expects to see in the Scriptures, "To whom shall we go Lord? You have the words of Eternal Life. And we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God" John 6:66-69.
…blessed is the one who is not offended by me (Matt 11:6).