Isaiah 65:17-19 and Revelation 21:1-6

There once was a grumpy old man. His glass was always half empty. He complained about everything. He complained that he had to get up in the morning and then that night came too soon. He complained that he had to work, but complained that not working was boring. He complained that people did not pay attention to him and when they did, he complained that they were nosy. He was a miserable grumpy old man.

One day he stopped at a fruit stand, and found some fruit he thought was too ripe and the rest was not ripe enough. As he left grumbling to himself the fruit seller said, “I wish you new eyes, sir, child eyes.”—- “New eyes,” thought the old man as he walked away, “I have never used glasses; my vision has never been sharper.”

A week later, he stopped again at the fruit stand. The fruit seller had the fruit he didn’t want and did not have the fruit he wanted. As he was leaving the fruit seller said, “I wish you kingdom eyes, sir.”—“Kingdom eyes?” This puzzled the old man, but he was in a hurry so he let it pass.

Sometime later, the man stopped at the fruit stand again. It was, the same old story. Some of the fruit were overripe and some not ripe enough. As he left, the fruit seller told him, “I wish you treasure-hunting eyes, sir.”

The grumpy old man was perplexed, but began thinking about the fruit seller’s comments. What did he mean by ‘new eyes, child eyes, kingdom eyes, and treasure-hunting eyes?

The next time he passed by the fruit stand he stopped and asked the fruit seller to explain. “Well, you see,” the fruit seller said, “one day there was a stranger in town. He spoke of many things, but a few things really stuck in my head. He spoke of the kingdom of God being within you and that in order to find it one had to become like a child. On another occasion the stranger was present and so, too, was a man blind from birth. He went to the blind man and asked if he wanted to see and, of course, the man said, “Yes.” And then the man’s eyes were opened and he was delighted in all that he saw. I was confused about all this and thus I spoke to the stranger saying, ‘Please, sir, give me new eyes.’ And he responded, ‘I will. I give you child eyes, kingdom eyes, and treasure-hunting eyes.’ I thanked him and he left.

“That was the last time I saw the man, but from that time forward I saw things differently. Where before I saw only darkness, I now saw stars and fireflies. When before I felt only pain, I now discovered a new door to joy. While before I could see nothing worthwhile, now I found much at which to marvel. Where before I lived in a desert of doubt and despair, now I found a fountain of faith, and where in the past I was irritated at people, now I saw something wonderful in them, something that reminded me of the stranger and I rejoiced.”

The grumpy old man left the fruit seller that day trying not to think about the fruit seller’s story, but he couldn’t shake it off. He began to wish for new eyes for himself. He wished the stranger would return so he could ask him for new eyes. He began to practice what he would ask him by singing, “Give me new eyes, child eyes, kingdom eyes, treasure-hunting eyes. Give me new eyes.”

One day he stopped by the fruit stand and saw the fruit seller was very sad. “What has happened,” he asked. The fruit seller replied, “I have just received news that the stranger has been arrested and will be put to death today.” The old man went home and cried for his chance for new eyes was now gone. Yet, because the song had become so much a part of his life, he continued to sing it, and to his great surprise, three days after the stranger was put to death, he suddenly felt like scales had fallen from his eyes, and he began to see things differently. Where before he saw only darkness, now he saw light. Where before he saw only the wrongs done to him, now he saw how much he was loved and he was able to demonstrate forgiveness that healed his wounds. Where before he has seen nothing of value, now he found many hidden treasures. Where before he experienced only boredom and suspicion, now he lived in wonderment and trust, and where before people had irritated him, he now saw something that reminded of the stranger. And he knew that the stranger lived. *

I believe this is what God meant when he sent His Son Jesus into the world. When we receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we see the world differently, we see people differently. We forgive others as God forgives us. We don’t hold grudges and begin to love the unlovable; something we couldn’t do before we had Jesus living within us and His love flowing though us. We see things with new eyes, child eyes, kingdom eyes, treasure-hunting eyes.

This is what both the Isaiah passage and the Revelation passage say to us. In Isaiah 65:17, 19b God tells Isaiah, “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” — “the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”

John sees this coming to pass. In Revelation 21:1,3-4, John says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”—The dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their god. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

With Jesus’ birth we are invited to see others and our world with new eyes. With Jesus life, death and glorious resurrection we are given new life, eternal life. Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:5, “I tell you the truth no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the (Holy) Spirit. Flesh give birth to flesh, but the (Holy) Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

This then is the way to receive new eyes, child eyes, kingdom eyes, treasure-hunting eyes. Give your heart and life to Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, and receive a new way of looking at the people God puts into your life and the world around us.

Pastor Rosemary DeHut

References: *Summarized from “The Old Man with New Eyes,” in Jude Fischer, Be Always Little: Christian Fables for Young and Old (Combermere, Ontario Canada: Madonna House, 1996), pp.103-108.

 

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