Scriptural Gem for April 2015

In John 20:3-8 we read: "So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed."

There is a message contained within these verses above which only becomes apparent when we read the original Greek text. Our English translations obscure the fact that John uses three very different Greek words for 'look' or 'see' in this passage. These three uniquely different words (highlighted in bold above) appear in verse 5, verse 6 and verse 8. Let's start with verse 5, where we have the Greek word, 'Blepo'. This word means 'to see with the bodily eye, to perceive an object by sight.' In verse 6, the word, 'Theoreo,' is used. This word means 'the careful perusal of details in an object.' (That is why verse 7 notes specific details like the strips of linen and the burial cloth being neatly folded and put to one side.) Lastly, in verse 8, the word, 'Eido,' is used. This wonderful word is used some 625 times in the New Testament. What is important for us to note is that in half of those occurrences, the word is translated 'know' rather than 'see.' It implies a different, deeper sight - what we might call 'insight'. It is this third kind of 'seeing' that leads to belief and this is stated plainly in verse 8 of our passage: "He saw and believed."

In addition to this better understanding of the text, a challenge is presented to us. We are cautioned in Scripture to examine ourselves to ensure that our faith is genuine. Perhaps there is a series of questions to ask yourself: 1) Do I "see" in a 'blepo' way, only glancing casually? 2) Or, do I "see" in a 'theoreo' way, studying the minute details and ultimately putting my faith in the "theory" of Christianity (the correct doctrines and theology)? 3) Or, do I "see" in an 'eido' way, understanding that Truth is not revealed by flesh and blood, but by the Father (Matt. 16:17), and so entrust myself to Him and receive His glorious Life into myself?

How about you, dear friend? Which one of these three words describe your Christianity? O Lord, give us eyes to see and know the reality of your Life in us.


Werner Schreiber