In my household, 3 of 4 people need glasses. If you do the math, you’ll know that 1 of 4 don’t. That ‘1’ is me. If you don’t need glasses or contacts, you don’t really understand what the other vision-deficient people deal with. Only those who wear glasses understand what it means to not be able to see clearly.

As we arrive at the 6th simple line Jesus shared with a crowd on a hillside (Matthew 5), he says something quite astonishing: ‘…you will see God’ (if you’re heart is pure)

To be more specific, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

How many people in history have prayed these words to God…or said them, even if they weren’t intended to be a prayer…
“Can I just see you?”
“Can you please show up?”
“If you’re real, show yourself to me”
“I want to see you”

Exodus 33 tells us that ‘The Lord would speak to Moses, face to face.’

How? What’s going on here? I wanna see God. Don’t you wanna see God?

But Jesus says I have to have a pure heart to see God. What? Impossible.

Many people read this and think they’re cancelled out of the equation. Why? Because they’re not perfect. Their hearts aren’t pure. There goes my chance!

Jesus, what are you trying to say?

Let’s define our terms: Heart / Pure / See God


Jesus’ words about heart were revolutionary for his Jewish listeners and even for future readers.

Jews had rules upon rules upon rules upon rules. The OT is full of the most detailed set of rules you could imagine. And just when you thought you figured them out, they added new ones.

What was their purpose? To keep you clean. To keep you righteous. To make you good.

But Jesus blows this idea up by shifting the focus from the outside to the inside. Their were hints about this (e.g. Samuel: God doesn’t look at the outward appearance, he looks at the heart), but it’s Jesus who introduces this with a splash.

Mark 7 & Matthew 15

14-15 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”
…his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
…“It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Jesus is talking to a group of people who think their outward appearance is what makes them clean or unclean. Instead he says, nope, it’s your heart, it’s your insides, it’s your inner self.

Our heart is a combination of feelings, thoughts, motives, agenda, character…the core of who we are. And just like soil/earth, be careful what you plant there – cause eventually it grows up.


So when Jesus talks of a pure heart, he’s saying, it’s not so much about perfection as it is about purpose.

Biblical Commentators are divided on a pure heart being about moral purity or being about single-mindedness. One is about your inner morals, one is about who or what you trust.

The Psalms is a good place to see this balance. 3 Psalms in particular: 24, 51 & 73.

(24) Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

(51) Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

(73)  Surely God is good to Israel,
         to those who are pure in heart.

(from their we read about the difference of those who trust God and those who don’t, and then we get here…)

Whom have I in heaven but you?
         And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
                  My flesh and my heart may fail,
         but God is the strength of my heart
         and my portion forever.

(a Pure heart is a heart that follows God, that desires God, that leans on God, not perfect, but persistent, not unblemished, but unwavering)

Know this too: a pure heart is also an open heart to God. (sang this earlier)


This kind of heart is what opens our eyes to God.

We see God when the eyes of our heart are open to see God.

We are so distracted – not able to stay focused on anything for too long. Our attentions are divided.

The writer of the old hymn, Come thou fount, addresses this well in one of his verses.
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

We might say we wanna see God, but deep inside, there are other things that get our attention. We might say we wish God was there, but deep inside, is there something else we put our trust in? We might say we can’t believe God didn’t show up, but was it really him we wanted or some other thing to lean on?

Jesus says, if you have a heart that is pure, a heart that is focused, a heart that trusts, that loves, that is merciful, you will see God.

Seeing God is knowing Him
Seeing God is being satisfied in Him
Seeing God is being focused on the ways of his Kingdom and allowing those ways to take root in our heart.

It’s not just vision but impact and change.

I came across a line from a Canadian poet that says, “I am a museum full of art but you had your eyes shut” (Rupi Kaur)

Sounds about right. God is there. God is in front of us. God is working. It’s us who can’t see him. We need pray ‘Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you’.

When we say we can’t see God, it’s not because he’s not there, it’s because we’re focused on something else in the picture, in the scene, in the moment.


Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse so well.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

Some good questions to ask…

  • What is your heart running towards?
  • Is your heart divided?
  • Has your faith been reduced to an exterior focus or will you let God work in you from the inside out?

When we see God clearly, we see everything else with more clarity. So may your heart be focused on God, pure, whole, so you can see God.

– – – – – – – – – –

(discussion questions)

Why do you think many people over the years have asked God to make himself visible? What is it about the idea of seeing God that captures our attention?

Take a minute and read the verses in Mark 7 & Matthew 15. What do you think about Jesus’ words here? Any thoughts?

Having a pure heart is combination of two things: wholeness & purpose, integrity & trust, clarity of desire and love. Do think we ever get stuck on the moral part of this? Psalm 24’s text is a good one to look at for this.

What are somethings that get in the way of you seeing God? What distractions get your attention away from what God is up to or doing? A divided heart? A scattered mind? Circumstances?

Last thing. Read this Beatitude from the Message. What comes to mind? What is it saying to you?
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.