Monday, January 15, 2007

born blind - Jn 9

What was it like to be free of blindness from birth? Imagine that you had had never known the face of your mother, the shape of a tree that you knew shaded you from the sun. What if the sun and moon had never passed into our sight? How about the way water looks at sunset, what if that too had never entered into our minds? Everything was images of blackness and even your very imagination had no basis outside sound. What if what you thought you saw was all along nothing but pictures painted-by-number by someone before you –as if the stories you heard and the lessons you learned were mere reflections, whitewashed and kept from the light of truth. You had lived for so long looking at these paintings that you convinced yourself that they were indeed the sunset, the water, the moon. Then you are presented with the real thing – the light shines forth into the world around you and the thing you imagined was just that, a dream, a half-glazed drawing in colors that could hardly be called true. For this man healed of his blindness, once the light had been revealed, there was no going back. There was no desire to sit once again in a world that was dark and full of noise, but without color or face. But for the Pharisees, there was only one way – for they had been born blind too, and must but brought under the flood of grace, to be born again, much as the blind man’s eyes experienced birth once again, but this time to everything – all came clear. Each are born blind. But then Jesus comes upon the story of our lives – and what then?

This division is why the cross bears no power in the lives of the religious leaders. The decision has been made – the lines drawn. All they know is what they can see, and that is darkness – pictures without light, stories without hope, and life without its Maker. For deliberate rejection of light means that the “light within…is darkness” (Matt 6.23). In the end, this is equivalent of receiving clay on the eyes and then sitting down, refusing to go to Siloam.

The division becomes more clearly outlined as the man stands before the religious leaders. For with Him the seeds have already been planted. The experience of the restoration of his sight has already bled him from the veins of the body of Jews. For with sight comes a whole new picture – no longer is his heart held in sway by the passing hope that today there might be enough to make bread and take on a new cloak. The hope that cannot be called that, because we at best cannot imagine hope lasting as long as this man had spent alone in the dark. And for the religious leaders, they see that there is a clearly a break from their law and the law of Jesus. Much as Jesus calls men to follow Him – these religious leaders understood what it meant to cast their hearts after a cause, no matter what it may be. They were nothing if not committed – even unto their own condemnation.

And that really is the story here – there is more than one person blind in this story. Because the physical needs can never surpass the deep darkness in our very souls. When he is finally cast out from the assembly, For he had practically confessed that the highest claims which Jesus had ever made about Himself were true. This was far more than many of the disciples would ever do before the time of Pentecost. Jesus hears of it, and finds him. For the spiritual need was still there – it was still greater than any fleshly need. If this man had never been born blind – what then? Would this story have come into life for him? Much as the story of Lazarus was for the glory of God, this too was a story of redemption long planned. Think of the story being written out before this man was even born (Ps 139.16) – with a sole purpose of using this suffering to lead to the glorification of God – and for this man, the salvation of his very soul. Now that this man has been excluded from Club Israel, he is now invited to become a member of the Body of Christ. This forever remains as startling vindication of our Lord’s own word – that He was the light of the world, and it eyesight too. He was able to supply the objective condition and subjective change by which the nature of man could alone receive the light of life. (pulpit) We need God to not only help us see the light of His salvation, but to also be able to read and understand correctly His word to us, and His guidance to do His works that He has established for us. Otherwise, we are just looking at pictures, stories, and ideas that are no more true and real than any other.


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