Eyes First

by DanWolgemuth on August 23, 2013

“Look at me, Desmond.  Please look at Pops.  I want to take your picture, Des.  I want to see the birthday boy.  Come on, Desmond.”

I could have clicked off many, many pictures of Desmond as he celebrated his third birthday.  He had been animated, enthusiastic and entertaining… but when it came time to capture the birthday moment I wanted his eyes.   

While a candid shot might have been more authentic and less bother, there was something about looking into his eyes.   

Eyes are an open portal to what makes an individual unique and beautiful.  They tell a story even as they open a book.

Two of the followers of Jesus knew this well: 

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”   Acts 3:1-4

Look at us! 

Peter understood the impact and importance of eye contact.  He wanted more than a superficial conversation.  Pleasantries and passing comments simply wouldn’t do.  There was too much at stake.  This wasn’t about charity; it was about transformation.  And so, to a man to whom most people intentionally looked the other way… Peter engaged – full on.  Eyes on. 

This was no photo op.   

Peter wanted more than this man’s attention; he wanted his soul.  He had learned well; after all, his eyes had provided Jesus with an open door into his conscience just a short time before.  At the apex of Peter’s denial, at a moment where he might well have abandoned, or self-destructed, or imploded, or escaped, Jesus’ eyes caught his.

“And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.”

The startling interruption of a chicken merely opened the curtain to the main stage… Jesus and Peter saw each other.  Eyes met. 

A word was unnecessary. 

Souls conversed with the language of grief, confession, pain… and grace.  Jesus loved this man.  It was going to take eye contact to make certain that he still knew that.  And so Jesus looked.  There was no “I told you so” in His gaze… only the riveting lesson of grace and forgiveness and hope and healing and freedom and courage. 

It was a lesson that Peter would use in practice with a lame beggar outside of the temple.   

“Look at us.”  I want your eyes.  I need access to your heart and soul. 

Eyes matter. 

Much of our world moves past us without even a glance or a glimpse.  We check out of grocery stores with an exchange of cash and hardly a look.  We race through an airport, surrounded by masses of people… only to be fixated on a battery-powered piece of technology that robs us of a single look into the eyes of our own lame beggar.

Until the rooster crows… and I catch a glimpse of Jesus.  Then I see the beggar and the stranger and the widow and the orphan.   

Eye contact.  Then and now. 

Look at Him… then look at them.   

Eyes first. 

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