Monday, November 25, 2013

Two kinds of blindness

Jesus heals a blind man
Jesus heals a blind man
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 18:28-43

TO CHEW ON: "But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken. … Then Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.'" Luke 18:34,42

When poets arrange their poems to be published in a book they give much thought to which pieces they put next to each other. The sequence is the result of asking questions like, do these two poems illuminate or add to, contradict, flow from, have the same or contrasting mood as each other? The order of poems is a carefully considered element of the book. In our reading today, I'd suggest that the two stories we see side by side are next to each other with the same Author intention.

In the first one (Luke 18:31-34) Jesus delivers some sobering news. He says (and I paraphrase) - We are going to Jerusalem. The prophecies about the Son of Man (Me) will be fulfilled. I will be delivered to the Gentiles, mocked, insulted, spit upon, scourged, killed and on the third day rise again. The disciples, though, understand none of it. They are blind: "This saying was hidden from them."

In the next story we have a blind beggar beside the road (Luke 18:34-43). He hears the crowd, discovers Jesus is in it and cries out. Jesus stops, asks that they bring the man to Him and when he arrives asks, "'What do you want me to do for you?'" "'Receive my sight'" the man replies. Then Jesus makes this profound statement: "'Receive your sight; your faith has made you well'" and heals his eyesight (emphasis added).

Two cases of blindness. Could it be that the root of healing for the man's physical blindness—faith—is also the root of healing for spiritual blindness?

I don't know what kind of faith the disciples would have needed to open their eyes at that time. In some way they would have had to grasp the big picture of who Jesus was, and that His coming and death were a fulfillment of prophecy. They just weren't thinking that large.

The risen Jesus Himself elaborates on the faith necessary when He talks to the Emmaus disciples—two more who were blinded (Luke 24:16): "Then He said to them, 'O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!'" - Luke 24:25.

Let's apply this principle of the necessity of faith to gain spiritual sight and insight. We can do it when we introduce people to Jesus. And we can do it in our own lives when the spiritual meaning of circumstances is hidden from us.

Oswald Chambers explains it:

"For every detail of common sense in life, there is a truth God has revealed by which we can prove in our practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes.

God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless. Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 30th reading.  

Dear Jesus, please help me to apply the antidote of faith in You and who You are to every circumstance, especially those which I don't understand. Amen.


New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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