INNER CIRCLE: What’s In Your Face?

INNER CIRCLE: What’s In Your Face? May 10, 2022

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Saying 5: Jesus said: “Know what is in front of your face and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”

This saying might seem a little familiar to some of us who remember a similar saying of Jesus from the Gospel of Mark [4:22], or from the Gospel of Luke [8:17] which says:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

In those two references from the New Testament Gospels, the implication – as taught from the pulpit in most Evangelical settings – is that Jesus is referring to some post-mortem revelation where our sinful behaviors will become exposed on the Day of Judgment.

However, upon closer inspection, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. As the wider context seems to imply when we examine the saying from Luke 8:16-18, the focus appears to be more on the idea that truth is intended to be revealed even as light is intended to shed light into a dark room:

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

So, perhaps the connections between the sayings of Jesus in Thomas and the echoes from Mark and Luke are not as far apart as we might initially suspect.

In contrast, the saying in Thomas is more about the paradoxical reality of the Kingdom of God which is both hidden and plain to see.

As we’ve seen in previous sayings from Thomas, Jesus often contrasts the physical world around us with the spiritual reality we are often oblivious to, but is nonetheless just as “real” – if not more so – than the material world we can taste, touch, feel and see.

If the Kingdom of God is within us, and all around us, then it is “right in front of our face.” But, if we are blind to this perception, then even though it may be the Christ we all live and move and have our being in, it is “hidden” from us.

Like the fish who spends his life searching for water, we become like those who are constantly seeking after a deeper experience of God, all while we are oblivious to the inescapable presence of God in whom we are all immersed, all the time.

If we believe that the transcendent reality of God’s eternal and enduring presence is something we must seek after, find or attain, we remain blind to what is right in front of our face.

But, if we can grasp the notion that we are filled with the fullness of Christ who fills everything in every way, then – and only then – are our eyes opened to realize that the connection with God we seek has never been something we needed to discover outside of ourselves.

It’s like wandering through our house searching for our glasses when they’re sitting on top of our head. Or like searching in the dark for our phone using the flashlight that’s on our phone.

Until we “recognize what is in front of [our] face, that which is hidden [will never] become plain to [us].” But, once we accept the reality of God’s eternal Oneness with all things, then we can see the truth about ourselves, and fully embrace the treasure we’ve been seeking after all along; a treasure that was already ours, and one we can never lose.

So, returning again to the parallel passages in Mark and Luke [above], we can see that they are really not very far off from one another:

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

These passages seem to fit together in ways we may not have initially considered. There is an inevitability to the statement that everything that is hidden will eventually be revealed, one way or the other. But, for those who have eyes to see it now, the secret may become known. Those who listen carefully to these words from Jesus just might see what has been hidden and comprehend what is concealed. And, if they do begin to see and to comprehend, this understanding will only increase; “Whoever has will be given more”, but for those who do not see it, or comprehend it, “even what they think they have [understanding], will be taken away from them.”

This “taking away” of understanding isn’t meant to be seen as a punishment or a rebuke from God. It’s merely saying that, for many, the observation of the present reality of the Kingdom can slip away from us if we do not “consider carefully how [we] listen” to what Jesus is trying to show us. Once we “get it” we cannot lose it. But if we fail to see what is right in front of our face, we will miss the entire point and continue to seek and strive after the very thing that is already alive within each and every one of us: The indwelling presence of Christ!

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Keith Giles is the author of the 7-part best-selling “Jesus Un” book series from Quoir Publishing. His latest -and final book – in this series, Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince Of Peace Disarms Our Violence is available now.  Keith is also the host of Second Cup with Keith [a new solo podcast available now on the Ethos Radio App, for Apple and Android and on Spotify; and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast [along with co-hosts Matthew Distefano, Dr. Katy Valentine, and Derrick Day], and the new Apostate’s Anonymous podcast with Matthew Distefano.

He and his wife, Wendy, currently live in El Paso, TX.

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