Have you heard of autostereograms? If you are a child or teen of the 1990s, you are likely quite familiar with autostereograms, but maybe you don’t know them by that name. Let’s see if you recognize them when I give you the name of the most famous commercialized version of autostereograms: Magic Eye pictures. Now do you know what I’m talking about? In the 1990s these 3D computer-generated images were so popular that Magic Eye books were on the New York Times bestseller lists for a combined 73 weeks. All these years later, they have a website!
Magic Eye pictures are actually random dot autostereograms, three-dimensional pictures on two-dimensional surfaces, created by artists using computer-generated imaging. Look at the example below. It looks like a pattern of colorful dots, but there is actually a 3D image of a shark as well. Can you see it?
I promise you…it’s there. I made sure of it! It might help to enlarge the picture to full screen.
I remember looking at these images when they first became popular in the 1990s, agonizing as I failed to find whatever 3D image was supposed to be hidden in plain sight. Maybe you’re feeling like that as you look for the shark in the picture above! I would cross my eyes. I would stare. I would look up, down and all around. I would try putting the picture closer to my eyes, then farther away. I would tilt it every which way. What did I see? Nothing but those colorful dots. There was no 3D image! Was this all just a grand prank? It was exceedingly frustrating.
The instructions in the books said you had to look “behind” the image, whatever that meant. I tried and I tried, and then one day, all of a sudden, there it was! A 3D image appeared as if by magic.
When I say, “all of a sudden,” and add that with the word “magic,” it gives the impression that the ability to see the hidden image is not something that we can control. But that is entirely not true. In fact, the trick to seeing the 3D image in these autostereograms is all about focus. Once you learn to focus your eyes “behind” the image, you will see the 3D picture quite easily. When it comes to Magic Eye pictures, there is nothing magical about it. Focus is everything. More specifically, learning to focus the right way is everything.
The same can be said for being a disciple of Jesus. Learning to focus on Jesus is everything. Just like Magic Eye pictures, if we want to see Jesus properly, we have to focus on the right thing, in the right way. Also like Magic Eye pictures, learning to have the right kind of focus can be difficult, especially as we live in a world that draws our focus elsewhere.
As we resume our series through Colossians, we’re going to be talking about how to focus on Jesus in the middle of our sometimes busy and confusing lives. It is possible to focus on Jesus, and when you learn to do so, what you will see is amazing. Check out Colossians 3:1-4 ahead of time, then next week talk about it further!