Focus 3 (of 5)-It's As Easy as Opening Your Eyes

Focus 3 | It's As Easy as Opening Your Eyes

We can’t make the light shine, but we can interact with it shining.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
What is the best dessert?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 3" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Let’s talk about a 72-hour miracle.
Listen to this audio clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.
(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)

Learn the colors of your friend’s eyes.
In the article “Three Days to See,” Helen Keller talks about an experiment she often performs.

For instance, can you describe accurately the faces of five good friends? Some of you can, but many cannot. As an experiment, I have questioned husbands of long standing about the color of their wives’ eyes, and often they express embarrassed confusion and admit that they so not know.

Helen Keller, Three Days to See

Follow these steps to complete this exercise:

  1. Without looking (if you’re doing this Spotlight in a group) jot down the eye color of the other members of your group—even the ones that might not have been able to make it today. 
  2. See how you did! Share your eye color with your group so everyone can check their answers. 
Why the embarrassment at not knowing each other’s eye color? 

“Does he wear his favorite color just so he can match your eyes?”

- Lyric by Steven Schwartz from the song “That’s How You Know” in Disney’s “Enchanted”

It’s not a big deal if you haven’t paid attention to the eye color of your group’s members, but it’s definitely impressive if a group member is paying that kind of attention. In other words, while you don’t typically expect someone to pay attention to the color of your eyes, it seems to mean something if they do.

Helen Keller wrote about husbands expressing “embarrassed confusion” when asked about the eye color of their wives.

Put it into words: Why exactly does a husband get embarrassed when he doesn’t know his wife’s eye color?

Welcome Perspective
Opening your eyes is only valuable if you plan to see.
Thank God for your eye color (and many more things about yourself.)
God will always get the eye color question right, for every person. He loves in a way that pays attention. Psalm 139 confesses the truth of this beautifully.

Read/pray these verses of Psalm 139 together.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Observe and discuss how—and why—God opens people’s eyes.
God cares about more than just how your eyes look. He cares how they see. Take a look at several examples of times that God “opened the eyes” of people so they could truly see.

Follow these steps to complete this exercise…

  1. Divide the references below among the members of your group.
  2. Take time to read and assess your assigned section.
  3. Share what happened in your section with the rest of the group.

(Below references: Genesis 21:14–19, Numbers 22:21–31, 2 Kings 8–17, Luke 24:13–31)

Section 1: Genesis 21:14–19

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 

Section 2: Numbers 22:21–31

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.

24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.

26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 

Section 3: 2 Kings 6:8–17

8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.” 9 The man of God (Elisha) sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 

Section 4: Luke 24:13–31

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Ask yourself what you need to see. 
In the stories above, people sincerely needed to see something that would change their lives. From the physical to the spiritual to the emotional, God opened their eyes and helped them see something significant. The idea of “eyes being opened” isn’t always this positive.

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis 3:4–7

These verses recount mankind becoming “sinful,” that is, they show what happened with people who stopped seeing the way God had created them to see and started to see in a different, selfish way. Neither Adam nor Eve liked the way their spouse was looking at them anymore, so they covered themselves up. Humanity has been doing this ever since.

In this series, you’ve been thinking about the ways the light allows you to see and relate with the people around you. It’s a wonderful idea, but it’s also painful to see the ways that darkness blinds the people God has made to one another.
With all this in mind, we’re praying today that God will open our eyes to—as the band The Brilliance puts it—see the love.

Watch—and listen to—this music video by The Brilliance.
Worship Perspective
God opens our eyes and shows us what it looks like to love what we see.
Watch the story of Jesus and the blind man.
If you’d like to read along with the video/audio below, the story is in John 9.

Pay attention to the way blindness and sight are used metaphorically as you watch and read along.

Analyze how people saw the blind man.
There’s a lot of interaction—and a lot of judgment—in this story. The blind man is judged by the disciples, the Pharisees, and Jesus.

  1. When the disciples saw the blind man, what were they most concerned about? (See John 9:1–2)
  2. When the Pharisees saw him, what were they most concerned about? (See John 9:14–16)
  3. When Jesus saw him, what was he most concerned about? (See John 9:35)

All three of these approaches to the blind man connect to Jesus’ unique summary statement near the end of the story:

“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Listen to this analysis of Judgment.
The Hebrew definition of judgment is a little different from the American one.

Follow these steps to complete this exercise:

  1. Listen to the following excerpt of a sermon Kent preached on John 9.
  2. Then discuss this question: How can you improve the judgment that your eyes make possible? 
Music Credit: Rhodesia by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.; Artist Credit:
On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,  ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:12–18
Learn Perspective
Opening your eyes is the first step in seeing—but what comes next matters!
Think about how well you see your person.
So far in this series, you’ve (hopefully) identified one person who would benefit from being in a genuine, caring, group of people—not unlike the group you experience the Spotlight with each week.

If you’re going to help this person get into such a group—and especially if you’re going to be in said group—you’re going to need to ask yourself what you know about them, like Helen Keller would ask a husband how well he knows his wife. To do this, we’ll use the questions from “How well do you know me?” edited down to be useful for any relationship.

Ask yourself the following questions to see how well you know your person:

  1. What is my full name?
  2. When is my birthday?
  3. What am I insecure about?
  4. What is my favorite food?
  5. What food do I hate?
  6. What is my biggest pet peeve?
  7. What’s my favorite TV show?
  8. What’s something that always cheers me up when I’m sad?
  9. What is my biggest fear?
  10. If I could travel anywhere, where would I go?
  11. What are my long-term goals?
  12. What are my main career goals?
  13. What is my favorite song or artist?
  14. What are my talents?
  15. What’s my favorite smell?
  16. What are my favorite pastimes?
  17. What is one of my best childhood memories?
  18. Am I a dog or a cat person?
  19. Do I have any allergies?
  20. If I could bring a famous person back to life, who would it be?
Switch it up. What about you?

Consider these questions now and throughout the week:

  1. How well does the person you are trying to serve know you? (Use the above questions as a gauge.) 
  2. What’s one thing you could do this week to help them be able to better answer these questions about you?
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective
Seeing by the light is a two way street. Learn to walk it together.
See through the eyes of Judas.
Close today by meditating on Jackie Hill-Perry’s poem, Eyes Like Judas.
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
Open up your eyes! In every set of eyes you can see and be seen.
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