Do you realize how fortunate you are? I’m serious. Do you have any idea what a massive gift you have been given? There are so many people who are way cooler than you are who would have been willing to punch a great white shark in the nose to get to stand where you are standing right now. Don’t you dare take it for granted.
That is basically what Jesus told His disciples one day. Here it is as it actually appears in the Bible: “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13:16–17
Jesus was reminding them that they were getting to experience something that all of the saints in the Old Testament only dreamed about. What was that? Him. They were getting to walk around with Immanuel–God with us. Hebrews 11 says that the OT saints all died longing for and looking to the coming of Christ in faith. And while there is no mention of shark violence, we do read about them being willing to suffer all sorts of things for their hope that they held onto.
The disciples needed to realize that since better men than them lived and died wishing they could experience what they were experiencing, they better not take it for granted. They should be thanking God everyday and not wasting one ounce of the opportunity they had been given. Otherwise, Abraham, Isaiah and Zephaniah are going to be waiting to pummel ’em in heaven. You think I’m exaggerating? When cities didn’t honor Him and failed to realize what they had been given, Jesus said that in eternity Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba would be waiting to rise up in judgment against them because they responded to far inferior preaching. The disciples got with the program. They took what they had been given, gripped it and ripped it–turning the known world upside down in their lifetime.
This should cause us to give a second thought about how we are using the tremendous resources at our disposal. Unlike all the Old Testament saints we have been given full access to the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, that He sent after He ascended. We have the promise that Christ will build His church through us and that not even the gates of Hell can’t stop that from happening. And unlike any other Christian generation, through the profusion of technology and the ease of modern travel, there is nothing stopping us from fulfilling the great commission and preaching the gospel to every creature. In other words, we have no excuse. We can’t afford to not podcast and do multi-site and harness the technology that God has put in our laps.
Don’t you think John Wesley, who travelled on horseback and preached two or three times each day in up to 30 cities a month as he gave something like 40,000 messages in his lifetime, would have walked over a bed of coals to have access to an airplane or use a webcast to preach the gospel? What about George Whitfield? He preached to crowds of up to 30,000 people without a microhone! What kind of damage do you think he could have done with some speakers? The reality is that we have been given much, far more than better men and women who have gone before us. Don’t you dare take it for granted. Not unless you want John Wycliffe and Martin Luther to give you a fat lip when you meet them in heaven.