Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)

MoreIf you stare at an autostereogram[1] long enough it becomes a three-dimensional layered picture. This one will look like an entryway into a subterranean world. It is not immediately apparent as you look at the two-dimensional image, but if you stare at it “cross-eyed” and the brain overcomes its normal way of focusing, the scene will literally jump off the page. There is more to the image than first meets the eye.

Patterns like the one above are interesting. We may have an intuitive sense that there is something more at work in the colored pattern, but unless our eyes change the way they focus we will not see it. Something seems to want to line up, but how?

Peter Gabriel in his song “More Than This[2] addresses this as he observes the world around him…

There was something stirring in the air, in front of me, I could see… more than this. So much more than this, there is something else there. More than this keeps coming through. More than this I stand all alone and so connected. And I’m all there right next to you.

He cannot put a name to it, but Gabriel recognizes that there is more to the world around him than can be satisfied by a purely materialistic view. There is a connection between him and those around him. There is a presence beyond his understanding. He sees something more, but his eyes cannot focus.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)

What Gabriel can dimly see is the hand of God at work on His masterpiece. He knows it is out there, but he simply cannot bring it into focus without Jesus. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to reveal the Father. It is by the pure heart that receives Jesus that we rightly see the world around us in light of the ongoing work of the Creator.

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger in his essay “Blessed are the pure in heart—not the double-minded and those with cloudy vision” says it this way…

“The pure of heart will truly see God. They will understand God’s ways. They will experience the beatific vision. It is worth noting here that as with mercy, there is a sense of dynamism. Only those who experience God’s mercy can be merciful, and in turn will be recipients of greater depths of mercy (Matthew 5:7). Those who experience Christ for how pure he truly is will grow in purity. As they grow in purity, they will see God all the more clearly. The disciples would come to realize that their own purity of heart was bound up with seeing Christ, holding to his word, and following in his footsteps. We, too, are transformed, as we gaze upon him through his Word in the community of his disciples in the world (1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 3:1-3).”

Yes, there is “more than this” and Jesus opens our eyes to see it!

[1] This image appears at on Tatjana’s Personal Knowledge Environment blog published on December 13, 2011, and accessed here on September 11, 2015.

[2] Peter Gabriel, More Than This, published by Lyrics @ Sony/ATV Music publishing LLC

About marknicklas

Mark Nicklas is a husband, father, son and follower of Jesus Christ. He is a pastor at Beaverton Foursquare Church and an adjunct professor at Multnomah University, where he earned his doctorate in Cultural Engagement. Like Jacob wrestled with God at Jabbok, this site is a place for talking about the identity of the church with respect to the cultures we live in. You are invited to share the journey.
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