He was born blind. A perfectly formed, beautiful baby boy kicking his tiny legs and swinging his arms in a sea of darkness. He had little hope for a quality life in first century Jerusalem. His father daily led him to his unofficial, but reserved location near a small pool. Others who had forfeited in some way God’s blessing spent their wretched days there – begging. Some days he collected nothing. Some days a hateful boy stole the few pennies resting in his cup. Everybody in Jerusalem knew that either he or his parents had a great sin for which God was exacting vengeance by taking his sight. They all wished they knew what that family had done wrong!
One day, just like thousands of other black days, Jesus passed by. He put some mud on those sightless eyes, gave instructions to wash off the mud in a nearby pool, and left the man to respond in faith. At first, he saw a blurry light, then large shapes. He blinked quickly several times. His vision cleared! He could see! Out of darkness! When questioned by religious authorities already concerned about the miracle worker, the formerly blind man could only explain the phenomenon this way: “Only one thing I know. I was blind, but now I see.” What joy!
Many of us born with sight, still have a clouded vision of Jesus. We’ve allowed so much to distort our image of the Savior! The Bible is full of stories of people who did the same. Let’s learn from them.
He’d been in the field all day, but as he approached the house, it was evident something big was happening. It was a party! Why in the world, in the middle of the work week, with no previous notice would Father be throwing such a huge party? Confusion gave way to anger when he saw him. So, he was back – the spoiled little brother who took his inheritance and left home to have fun. He’d lost it all! The older brother couldn’t feel relief that his younger brother was alive, joy for his father, hope that things had changed – just ANGER!
Jesus was coming for lunch. Martha had peeled the vegetables, cooked the lamb chops, mixed the fruit salad, and baked the bread. She had straightened the house, set the table, washed up all the cooking utensils, mopped the kitchen floor, and dusted the living room. Mary, her sister – sat! Jesus and Mary were talking and laughing and Martha was jealous. Why did Mary always get preferential treatment from everyone? Jesus was telling Mary and Lazarus about his work, but Martha was too JEALOUS to listen!
He was young, handsome, wealthy, – a good man. Although everyone thought he had it all – he knew he did not. He spoke out of a sense of frustration when he inquired of Jesus, “What am I missing? What’s this hole in my heart that my possessions cannot fill?” Jesus, testing his commitment, suggested he give away all his possessions in order to clear up his priorities. The rich young man wouldn’t even consider the suggestion. He preferred his POSSESSIONS to Jesus.
The disciples were riding out choppy waves on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, not needing a boat, simply walked out on top of the water to join them. Impetuous Peter wanted to walk on the water, too. What a thrill! Jesus probably chuckled to himself as he gave Peter permission to join him. At first, Peter managed the miraculous, but after a few steps he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Panic replaced exhilaration because SELF-RELIANCE replaced faith.
Pontius Pilate had a chance to be history’s greatest hero. He had the power to set Jesus free. He knew he should. He recognized his innocence. He vacillated in his judgment, but the crowd won out. Pilate was people-pleaser. He didn’t want trouble from the Jews and a reprimand from Caesar, so he compromised his integrity and ordered the death of the Savior. He made a ceremony of washing his hands of the Messiah’s innocent blood, but OTHER PEOPLE kept him from allowing the stain to be washed from his soul.
James and John – brothers looking out for each other. They didn’t feel completely comfortable with the question, but the obsession for power and recognition overshadowed the guilt. They sucked in their breaths, and nonchalantly asked Jesus for a little favor. The request – to sit on either side of Jesus on His heavenly throne. After all, wouldn’t it be lovely to be recognized throughout all eternity as Jesus’ favorites? How powerful the feeling would be as all the saints of all the ages took note of their importance. Jesus dealt the brothers a powerful blow with His reply – they had missed the whole point! Those who find their joy in service are great, not those who find their joy in POWER or RECOGNITION.
What clouds our vision of Jesus? Like the blind beggar who responded in faith, let Jesus five you clear sight. What joy!