4-3-5 The Healed Blind Man
If we left it here, we might have the impression that our blindness is quite understood and accepted by God. Yet God reveals Himself as being so concerned with our blindness. Why? Surely it's because He knows that knowledge and understanding are the basis of our behaviour. We can so easily slip away from our understanding of God, and back into the blindness of the flesh. If we hate our brother, we are blind; we lack true sight, we lack true understanding of the word (1 Jn. 2:9-11), we have gone back to the blindness. A healed blind man who wilfully returns to his blindness is a tragic picture indeed. . The world's sinful behaviour is because it is blind, i.e. it lacks true understanding (Eph. 4:17-19). The blind man lacks an awareness of his sins, he lacks basic spiritual attributes and an appreciation of the Kingdom, because he lacks knowledge (1 Pet. 2:9). The Lord gave sight to His people and blinded those He will later condemn (Jn. 9:39-41). Blindness is associated with condemnation (2 Pet. 1:9). The fact that in some ways we are blind in spiritual terms should therefore be an unending source of concern to us. It should motivate us to search our souls, and truly come to the light of a true appreciation of God's word. Some parts of the Christian world around us seems to emphasize spiritual behaviour being achieved as an act of the will (e.g. " we should love one another" ), rather than as the natural result of our knowledge of God from His word opening our eyes. Aspects of latter day Christianity are veering down the same road. Spiritual understanding is the basis of spiritual behaviour, not beating our weak nature with an iron will to be spiritual. The result of doing this will only be a surface spirituality, an outward appearance of righteousness.
In harmony with this, a read through the Gospels reveals the deep frustration and anger of the Lord Jesus because of the blindness of the disciples. Mark's record brings this out especially. The following comments by the Lord, almost under His breath, were all made within a matter of days of each other: " Peter said, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand?...do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand? Perceive ye not yet...having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?...how is it that ye do not understand?...O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? (with reference to the disciples' faithlessness)...the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth (i.e. responded) again, and saith unto them, Children ...and they were astonished out of measure...Jesus went before them: and they were amazed...and he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen...Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask" (Mt. 15:17; 16:9; Mk. 8:18,21; 9:19; 10:1,24-32). Notice the stress on " how long" and " yet" . The Lord clearly was disappointed at the slow rate of development. Their blindness was an agony to Him.
Especially does this come out in His attitude to the disciples after His resurrection. The exalted Son of God, the Son of God, poured out His anger on those eleven men. You get the sense of them cowering before the presence of a super-human intellect, beneath a force of personality that could concuss men when turned against them. He upbraided them for their lack of perception, their lack of understanding (Mk. 16:14; Lk. 24:25). As I read the record of this, there's part of me that feels so sorry for them. Thoughts of sympathy skate through my mind: they weren't a bad crowd...only ordinary men...just poor little human beings down here on earth...only men...only human beings...limited by their own nature. But this wasn't how the Lord saw it at all. He was angry with them. The picture of the Son of God, the exalted Son of man with eyes as a flame of fire, upbraiding His friends, those he had died for... because they hadn't understood something which he knew and they knew had been within their power to. The picture is awesome.
Love The Word
The Lord Jesus hasn't changed. He still has the emotions of anger and frustration. He wants us to act as men who have had their eyes opened, rather than remain complacent at our blindness. He is the same Jesus who healed the blind man. Paul says the same: " Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light... walk as children of the light...walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God by the...blindness of their hearts" (Eph. 5:8; 4:17,18). To be without spiritual vision, to sleepwalk through life as the world does, is deeply angering to God. A diet of telly, pop music and trashy newspapers can only induce the blindness of a vain mind. Of course this doesn't mean that academic appreciation of God's word is what commends us to God. But it is also true that correct understanding is important, and our blindness angers God. Blindness alienates men from Him. Yet we know we are blind. There's so much we don't perceive as we should, so much we are blind to. And this blindness separates us from God. It frustrates the Lord Jesus; he is angry when those who have eyes to see (i.e. have been converted) still don't see (Mk. 8:18).
The healed blind man is a pattern for us each one. It is our lack of knowledge of God which separates us from Him. When we fully 'see' Him intellectually, we will see Him physically. So this ought to fire us with a true zeal for understanding, a desire to lift up our voice for understanding, a crying out for it, that we might find the knowledge of God (Ps. 119:169; Prov. 2:3-5). As we sing, " Our weakness help / Our darkness chase" . Surely we ought to have an urge to speed up our development, to chase our blindness; because sins of ignorance are still sins. Our blindness is no excuse. In this sense, lack of spiritual understanding is not unrelated to sinfulness. One of the blind men Jesus cured summed up the feelings of all the others when he said that the one thing he wanted was to see (Mt. 20:33). Those healed blind men are types of us. True understanding (seeing) should be the one thing we want. " Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom" Prov. 4:7). This doesn't amount to dashing through our readings in 15 mindless minutes a day. It's more than that. There should be a real fire within us for understanding, a burning desire not to be blind, to live in the real world.