Eyes on the Lord

So what answer did you come up with?

You remember that on Monday I asked the question, “Why did Peter sink?”

Not a difficult question! He took his eyes off Jesus and started to focus on the waves.

He got out of the boat because he heard what Jesus said. He started sinking because he took his eyes off Jesus.

So does faith have something to do with keeping our eyes on Jesus?

It would seem so.

We saw on Monday that faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the spoken word (rhema) of God (Romans 10:17).

But from this passage we learn that our eyes are also involved. Where exactly are we focused?

One of my wife’s favourite Bible verses was Psalm 16:8

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalms 16:8 NASB)

“I choose to focus on God all the time,” David seems to be saying. “In that way I shall not be shaken by any evil that befalls me.”

There is a similar thought in Hebrews 11:27 with respect to Moses:

By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is unseen. (Hebrews 11:27 NASB, my parenthesis and emphasis.)

But actually this is a mistranslation. William L. Lane in his brilliant commentary on “Hebrews” has shown that ὁρῶν ἐκαρτέρησεν (horon ekarteresen) is a fixed Hellenistic idiom and does not mean “seeing, he persevered”.

The verse should actually be translated as

“… he kept the one who is invisible continually before his eyes, as it were.”

“The emphasis … falls not on endurance but on continually seeing, as it were, the unseen God.”**

In other words Moses was focusing not on the immediate circumstances but on the God whom he could not see. This is the New Testament equivalent of Psalm 16:8!

But Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.

Difficult as it may be because of the “waves” in our life, we need to ask Jesus for the grace to keep our eyes fixed on Him, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end

Next Post “Magnifying God’

*William L. Lane Word Biblical Commentary vol. 47b Hebrews 9-13 Thomas Nelson Nashville 1991 ISBN 0-8499-0935-X, pages 375-376 (cf BDAG pg.510)

**ibid. 376