by Archibald Alexander

"Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see," said our Savior; "for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them."

What things did the disciples see and hear which prophets and kings desired to see and were not gratified? They saw the seed of the woman, predicted in paradise to bruise the old serpent's head. They saw the person who was to descend from Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed. They saw the Lamb of God, whom Isaac so strikingly typified, when he was laid upon the altar to be sacrificed. God did not allow the stroke to fall upon Isaac, but he did not withhold the sword of justice when his own Son stood in the stead of sinners; but said, "Awake, O sword, against the man who is my fellow—smite the shepherd."

They saw Shiloh, to whom was to be the gathering of the people. They saw Messiah, the prophet whom God promised to raise up, like unto Moses—the King-Messiah, whom God promised to sit upon his holy hill of power. They saw the Priest whom God swore that he would raise, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek.

They saw Immanuel, the wonderful child, who had the government on his shoulders. The branch from the root of Jesse and stem of David, whose kingdom was to be everlasting. They saw the "Word made flesh." "God manifest in the flesh." The eternal Son of God, the brightness of his glory, and express image of his person. They saw the stupendous and beneficent miracles wrought by Jesus, in the healing of all manner of diseases by a word or a touch, and even at a distance. They saw him give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead. They were witnesses of his power over the elements in commanding the winds and the sea to be still--and these boisterous elements obeyed him. Also when he multiplied a few loaves and fish, so as to feed thousands of hungry people, they were the dispensers of his bounty to the multitude, and gathered up of fragments, after the feast was over, vastly more bread than was originally possessed.

They saw the "Man of sorrows," whose visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men. They saw the Lord of glory, to whom belonged the world and the fullness thereof--so poor, that while the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air nests, he had nowhere to lay his head. And soon after these words were spoken, they saw the Prince of life dying between two thieves, as though he had been a chief malefactor. Yes, they saw the author of life expire in death, and laid in the grave a pale and lifeless corpse. But soon they saw that tomb empty, and were permitted to see the Savior risen to life, in the same body. They inspected the wounds in his hands, his feet, and his side. They saw him transformed, so that he ascended to heaven before their eyes, in like manner as he will be seen when he makes his second appearance. All these were sights which prophets and kings desired to see, but saw them not.

And their ears were also blessed. The ear is an organ expressly blessed of God, for "faith comes by hearing." The word of God commonly goes into the heart through the ear, rather than through the eye. The apostles heard Jesus preach, who spoke as never man spoke. They heard the gracious words which proceeded from his mouth. They heard the sermon on the mount. They heard all his striking and beautiful parables, and their lucid explanation. They heard his kind inculcations and gracious promises, his prayers and his predictions. They heard what made their hearts burn within them.

But men may be blessed who have not seen, but have believed. As our Lord said to Thomas, "Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen--and yet have believed."