Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lessons from the Blind Man

Charlotte Lowrie

Recently my daughter wanted a framed picture to put in her new office. I knew that I had a picture like the one she described, so we set off to my upstairs “junk” room, to find it. We looked though several stacks of framed prints and photographs, but it wasn’t there. So we fanned out, looking through other rooms and closets. Eventually, we regrouped in the junk room, both of us ready to give up. Then my daughter said, “Turn around.” There on the wall behind me was the picture we were looking for. It had been in hanging front of us the entire time.

We went downstairs laughing that we had missed what was right before our eyes. Our encounter with “blindness” reminded me of the story in John 9. Here is a recap of that story.

One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples encountered a man blind from birth. Jesus spit on the ground and made enough mud to cover the blind man’s eyes. Then Jesus told the man to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. The blind man went and washed, and he could see for the first time. The dismayed neighbors took the healed man to the Pharisees where the man began a long interrogation process. The judges, however, refused to believe the man, and called in additional witnesses; in this case, the man’s parents. Sure enough, the parents testified, this was their son, and he had been blind since birth.

But that wasn’t good enough. The Pharisees called the healed man in again, this time warning him to give the glory to God because they “knew” that this man Jesus was a sinner. The healed man replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”

But the court still wasn’t satisfied. They asked the man to repeat the story of his healing, this time accusing the man of being a disciple of Jesus, and reminding the man that they didn’t even know where this fellow Jesus came from.

Clearly exasperated, the healed man said, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” Predictably, the Pharisees were enraged at this lecture and threw the man out, telling him that he’d been a sinner since birth.

Jesus heard what happened to the formerly blind man. Jesus talked to the man, and the man became a follower of Jesus. Pharisees, who were hanging around nearby, overhead the conversation between Jesus and the healed man. They asked Jesus, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
(Recounted from John 9:1-41 NIV)

Like the picture that my daughter and I searched for, the Pharisees, men of "vision," missed what was right in front of their eyes--Jesus, the very Savior that they were waiting for.

On the other hand, the man who had no vision, allowed a stranger to pack mud on his eyes. Then by faith, he walked to the pool, washed off the mud, and he could see--for the first time in his life.

Then, the time that should have been a wonderful celebration for the healed man turned into an ugly court hearing. But the healed man’s testimony is absolutely classic. With the eloquence of a man whose entire life changed by Jesus, the healed man says simply, “One thing I do know, I was blind, but now I see!”

And don’t those words from the blind man encapsulate our own testimony about Jesus?

Sometimes, I 'envision' the grand things I want to do for Jesus. That's when He reminds me to keep it simple: “I didn’t call you to be great. I called you to follow Me.”

Jesus doesn’t call most of us to be great. He calls us to simply testify of His life-changing presence in our lives.

Nothing fancy. Nothing difficult. He calls us to tell what He has done for us—to simply tell our story to one person, then another, and another.

And in that way, we spread His light; and in that way, He continues to open the eyes of the blind.

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