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What Do You Want 9: Blindness and Blindness or Sight and Sight?


Issue 402

It is possible to describe life and work as learning to see. As a child you learned to see the distinction between yourself and the world. As life goes on, you learn to describe with more accuracy and detail, your world and yourself.

As work impacts you more and more, you acquire the skill of seeing what others cannot see without your training.

Physical sight is one of God’s greatest gifts – given for you to enjoy. To be born without this gift has led some onlookers to propose that the individual denied the gift may have offended the giver in some way. If not the individual, than perhaps the parents are receiving punishment by being denied sight in their child.

So Jesus gets asked a question (John 9) when encountering such a person. ‘Who sinned, him or his parents?’ The questioners could not see any other explanation.

Jesus’ reply is a real eye-opener. ‘Neither!’ In this man’s case, Jesus explained, he has this condition so that the work of God could be displayed in him.

It’s a shocking answer. This man was born blind in order to showcase the power of God.

Jesus proceeds to heal him in a two-stage process.

Jesus’ answer opens up a line of thinking. Having some affliction, problem or difficulty may, in some cases, take place so that God can work in an individual’s life for greater good.

Before you write this off as a cop-out, which most people would do, you might like to see that such afflictions are a fact. Whatever you believe about them doesn’t change that fact – they exist. Maybe you have one in your own life – your interpretation will not change the fact of its existence.

Jesus, however, is identifying that, in some cases, the presence of an affliction, followed by divine relief or release from it,causes a better life than never having had the affliction at all. In fact, in some cases, that was why the affliction was present in the first place.

It’s controversial to be sure. It’s hard to see it that way, unless you are prepared to go even further.

This congenital blind man was healed of his blindness. What he encountered straight away was another form of blindness in others.

The religious authorities couldn’t see a miracle because it had taken place on the Sabbath. His own parents couldn’t see the revolution in his life because they were overcome with fear.

Others couldn’t see that Jesus’ action demonstrated his own credentials.

These onlookers had physical sight but couldn’t see the bright light in human form right in front of their eyes.

Now you and I have to see that it was not their inability to see that really infuriated Jesus. Inability never infuriated him. What caused his anger was their refusal to let him open their eyes to see the deep, wide, high and long truth he had brought with him. They pretended to see and refused to be enlightened. That was their folly. They did not want to see because they thought they already could.

When Jesus reconnects with the released man, he invites him to a second eye-opening process. Thrown out of the temple for daring to state the blindingly obvious, the man is now invited to believe in Jesus. He excepts the invitation and worship follows.

Now the whole story makes sense for him. He would not have been willing to believe in Jesus if he had not had his physical eyes open. He would have not had had his physical eyes opened if he had not been blind in the first place.

His final condition was to be the recipient of a gift of spiritual sight – of eyes that will never close again – even in death. He was to be the recipient of the vista of paradise – of never ending beauty. For that is the point of life. That is the point of everything.

Has it occurred to you that God would use anything he can to get you there, even your affliction, even the death of his son, even your congenital weaknesses even a samaritan who passes through your life? It is because, until you see the authentic light, life does not make sense. You look for someone to blame or his parents. You look at a law, a ritual, or regulation. When you allow Jesus to give you spiritual sight, you can finally worship. Then all of life becomes worship. Your work becomes worship. Your mundane tasks become worship.

So what do you want? Do you want to see? I mean really see. It’s always a multi-stage process. Then the light dawns and the darkness is not dark ever again.


John 9

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” 12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. 17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains

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Series: What Do You Want
Module: 7
Daily Guide: No

Tags: blindness, darkness, folly, light, obstinacy, perception, vision, worship

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Geoff Shattock

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