1 March, 2024

More Than Meets the Eye

by | 6 November, 2023 | 1 comment

By Doug Redford 

Most of us have watched the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. We’ve seen perhaps too many times to count the journey of Dorothy, her dog Toto, and her three friends who are “off to see the wizard” to get what each person so desperately wants. The wizard has a reputation as someone with great wisdom and authority, who has the ability to grant the requests of Dorothy and her friends.  

When the travelers first come before the wizard, they hear this booming voice and they see this mysterious, imposing figure who says, “I am the great and powerful Oz.” But later comes the scene where Toto pulls back the curtain and the wizard is revealed to be rather unimpressive. In fact, he’s an old man posing to make himself seem great and powerful by means of special effects. True, Dorothy and her friends get what they desire; but the wizard is far from the fearsome, mighty figure that everyone thought he was. 

With Jesus, the opposite of what occurred with the wizard often takes place. People tend to think much less of Jesus than who he in truth is. On one occasion, Jesus challenged his disciples to consider the issue of his identity, and they responded with a variety of answers that came up short (Matthew 16:13-14). Peter correctly identified Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” but it soon became clear that his understanding was sorely lacking (vv. 16, 21-23). 

At Communion, we remember Jesus’ death on the cross—an event when, most definitely, “more than meets the eye” was happening. It appeared that this “great and powerful” figure had met his demise. The taunts of his enemies seemed irrefutable: “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself” (Mark 15:31). But they spoke more truth than they realized: by not saving himself from the cross, Jesus was saving others. He was providing a means for sin to be forgiven and for human beings to be made new: a transformation that no wizard could ever produce, including the gift of a new heart far more wonderful than anything the Tin Man could have imagined. 

The ingredients of Communion are also more than meets the eye; they convey a sacred message, as Jesus pointed out when he instituted this meal with his disciples. Through these symbols, says Paul, we proclaim the Lord’s death until his return (1 Corinthians 11:26)—the day when “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 

1 Comment

  1. Beth Wiseman

    Sacrificed self for others and rose from the dead

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