“Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.”
“Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you.”
Now You See Me
These are two of the movie tag lines for the summer hit, NOW YOU SEE ME.
The story follows four magicians that suddenly reach stardom with grandiose tricks, and the FBI and Interpol agents that are chasing them believing they have stolen millions of dollars.
While I could regale you with the excellent performances from Jessie Eisenberg, Woody Harelson, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, that isn’t why I brought up the movie in the first place.
Read those tag lines again.
“Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.”
“Come in close, because the more you think you see, the easier it’ll be to fool you.”
This idea works brilliantly for those in illusion or “deception for entertainment” as one character calls it.
But I think if we stepped back a little bit, we would realize that we do this all on our own.
We look at the world in a certain way and miss out on something else.
Sometimes something bigger. Something more miraculous.
Think about geneticists. Not that I know any or that they think this way, but imagine with me.

How easy would it be to stare down a microscope day in and day out, examining the complexity of DNA and miss out on the big picture. The truly spectacular thing is not the DNA but the human baby that is built up of all that code.
How easily could it be if an astronomer stared off into one sector of space, looking for signs of life. Gathering data, looking through all the variables to sustain us, calculating distance, time and space are all well and good. But she could neglect the grander picture. Not just one sector of space, but thousands upon millions of light years of space in all directions, and she is of the most intelligent life forms out there.
Getting in too close, focusing in on the details ruins something much bigger, much grander than anything that we found before.
Thinking that what we have found or what we know is the ultimate in truth or knowledge may in fact be blinding us to something we didn’t know was more ultimate.
It is with this idea, this notion that we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture do I turn to the story of Noah, his ark and a flood.
Now, the account of Noah and the event of the flood are common knowledge for most. There may be details that escape the average person, but most do know that Noah built an ark and took two of every kind of animal in with him. After that, common knowledge drops off. It is really the scholars that are left with all the details and ideas that are in the narrative and they usually take off running.
I have heard people talk and preach about the exact dimensions of Noah’s Ark. How the length was not just a measurement, but it also meant that this and that in the future would happen. How the number of animals and species of animals is indicative of some nonsense in Revelation and corresponds with the coming of Christ. Some people get caught up in the difference between the raven and the dove that Noah released after the rain had stopped. Others about the three levels in the ark and how that is reflective of heaven. Some people drone on forever about these details.
Now, I do think that these details are important. It puts into perspective the great task that God had planned and laid on Noah’s shoulders. We can actually measure out the length, width and height of this barge.
But sometimes only focusing on details distracts from something truly sensational.
Because I think that in the narrative of Noah is a shadow of something greater.
I think that if we all took a step back, didn’t focus on the details for a moment, we would see that the Flood narrative is a foreshadowing of Jesus and what He would later do.
Listen to the story.
The earth is filled with sin.
Mankind wakes up every day and his soul is filled with anger and hatred for his fellow man.
Everything that he puts his hands to is for his own personal satisfaction. He will take, steal and plunder whatever from whomever because it is in his heart that he should have what he will.
Men are given in to their sexual desires for women that are not their wives, or other men, and the same for the women.
Violence is an everyday occurrence with no greater law bringing justice upon the wrong doers.
To satisfy any longing, every longing is all that consumes mankind’s collective mind and heart.
While they would dare to call this freedom, and their right, God looked down and called it something else.

Sin.

That is what Genesis 6 says. Everything that man thought about was evil. He was consumed by his sin. Humanity did not care about the ways of God. He only cared about himself.
The story continues.
God looked down from the heavens, brokenhearted. For God had created man and woman in His image, in His likeness. Created to be in fellowship and communion with Him, they were not longer that way, they had become broken.
No longer did man want to walk with God. No longer did they care about His law. They made a decision that was not the life giving and life affirming choice that God wanted for them. They had chosen a life and path of destruction.
It grieved God’s heart to see those that He loved, He created, He ordained for goodness to be wallowing in the filth of sin.
But their path was set, their decision made. And when sin is fully grown, it leads to death.
For those of us familiar with the Flood account, we read that God brought the flood, which is true. God, being who He is, is in control of everything. But He will not stomp on our choices and burden us with His will. He wants us to choose Him. And when we don’t, we suffer the consequences we chose.
If you are starting to see the salvation story playing out, get ready. Because it gets better.
Even though, God was bringing the judgment of a flood, bringing the consequences down on a sinful people, God loved.
God loved those sinful people, more than any of them realized.
So God put into action a plan to save them.
There was only one Man that God could trust to do as He asked.
There was only one Man that was capable of doing what was required to save humanity from sin and death.
In the Genesis account, this name is Noah, but this is only a shadow.
When we step back and look, we see that it was not a mere man that saved humanity.
It was the God-Man. It was Jesus.
God said to this Man, “The way things are going, humanity is going to destroy itself. Sin has consumed them and they do not understand how disastrous their decision has been.”
“But, I have a plan. I’m going to save them. I need you to do something for me.”For Noah, this was sacrificing 120 years of his life, building one of the largest boats ever created. He was asked to collect two of everything kind of animal, in some cases he collected seven pairs of animals. The Second Letter from the Apostle Peter says that Noah spent those 120 years also preaching to those that lived with and near him, trying desperately to lead these people from death and destruction into a way of life and blessing. Noah gave up an enormous amount of time in his life for God.For Jesus, it was not an allotment of time He was asked to give up. It was His life.  Jesus was out doing the same thing that Noah did. Granted, Jesus wasn’t out grabbing a set of rabbits and a couple of tigers, but He did preach. He shared the Good News that God had made a way to redeem His people. Jesus proclaimed that a relationship with Almighty God was possible and available to all that would hear His words, and listen.

Try as He might, there were only so many that listened. After all His efforts, only a few listened, while the rest laughed and mocked.

After He was obedient, after all things were done as God had asked, salvation was experienced.

Do you see what I’m seeing? Do you see the shadow of Jesus in the story of Noah and the flood?

Do you not see what was coming, what was being established in the story of history even all those years before Jesus came to Earth as a baby?

Or are you still looking for the details? Are you still so focused on the little things that you are missing the mystery and wonder of something far grander?

For Noah, he and his family alone were saved from the destruction that was coming.

For Jesus, He did not endure death for His own salvation, but did it so that we, all of humanity, may be saved. That we would not experience the devastating repercussions of our bad decisions. Jesus gave us life, and the ability to live it in true abundance. Jesus gave us freedom.

Jesus is a better Noah.

“Look from a distance, because the further away you are, the more you will actually see.”
“Stand back, because the more you actually see, the easier it’ll be for you to see.”

Shalom.

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2 thoughts on “Jesus is a Better Noah

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