Sara Henry Thomas
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
Jesus is talking to 72 disciples at this point, if I’m reading the text correctly. Not just the original 12, but six times that number. All the spin-off disciples. The ones who saw and heard miracles, and decided to spread the word. All the people who are ready to walk away from the lives of mundane earthly things so that they can pursue the Truth as they now know it. They’re taking Truth and miracles to cities that haven’t had an opportunity to see their own miracles yet. They’re knocking on doors.
This whole evangelism section of the gospels, of Jesus’s life, can feel uncomfortable for Episcopalians. Our ecumenical hearts don’t know how to assemble the data here because we know some of this text has been taken out of context and used to hurt and harm and divide. Sodom is mentioned by Jesus in this chapter, as well as Hades. Yikes. I’m feeling squeamish. So, I think it’s important to know that Jesus may not really be saying these things as a way of talking about unbelievers, per se. I think He’s talking to and about the tired believers. I think He’s talking about what it feels like to be tired, and the “dust yourself off” and “never you mind” attitude that is often needed to keep going.
Jesus and the disciples are working hard and sacrificing a lot. Maybe they’re tired and frustrated and wondering why they ever started this when people keep turning them away. But Jesus praises God for hiding the truth from the wise and learned, because it’s what God was pleased to do. I need to write this one down. This prayer would be hard for me.
Next Jesus talks about how, on the other hand, He has been blessed with the Truth by God. He talks about how it takes a special relationship with God to be shown the Truth, a familial relationship. I think He’s saying that He’s grateful to be in on the secret because it means that He has a special relationship with God. “Lucky me.”
With this new insight, Jesus turns to his disciples in the cozy, close, private relationship (12? 72? Maybe all of us?) and says, “Lucky you.” I think Jesus is comforting tired people. He’s saying, “You know what? Maybe they don’t believe us. Maybe they’re refusing to listen, but guess what: you know the truth. Lucky you. Lucky blessed and sanctified you.” As people of faith, we believe in God and God’s promises. We trust that God intends to redeem God’s creation. We forget sometimes, but we know, and we believe. Lucky us. (We can relax now, the Good Samaritan story is next.)