The Blind Man

Psalm: Psalm 23
Old Testament Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Sermon Lesson: John 9:1-7

Author: Reverend Averill Elizabeth Blackburn

A Short Note on the Blind Man.
This is a parable like any other that appears in the New Testament, although it is presented as having actually happened.  We cannot say whether or not there was a blind man who approached Jesus and said these words, although that would not have been uncommon.  The ill and disabled would often flock to teachers (Rabbis) and healers, hoping for a way to be cured.  They hope for a miracle and, let’s face it, didn’t often get one—until Jesus.

What we need to take away from this is not that Jesus was able to physically cure the blind man.  With our faith, we believe it.  We know there was a miracle that day centuries ago in Palestine.  We know the blind could see without the use of modern medicine and eye surgery.  But we need to take a moment and repeat to ourselves, “the blind could see.”  This can be taken literally, of course.  The miracle is very literal.  The man could not see, Jesus washed his eyes with mud, and then the blind man could see like any other person.  

However, the true miracle is more metaphorical than that.  It is the parable by which we should judge our lives today in twenty-first century America.

The man was blind so that God’s work could be revealed through him.  He could not see with his eyes, instead he had the capability to see beyond that.  His blindness created a miracle within his very being.  The blind man could recognize that Jesus could heal him when others could not.  He could sense that there was something different about him, something more about him.  Even if he could not put it into words, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah.  All of Jesus’s disciples, leading up to his arrest and his crucifixion, did not fully know this.  They doubted, they betrayed, they were not true to the one who was foretold.

A man who had been born blind could see this, could recognize it enough to take that last ditch effort and ask Jesus to heal him.
The question is— can we, here, now, make that same leap of blind faith?  What do we need to do to see our Lord?

We’re so blinded sometimes by fear that we cannot see the hope directly in front of us.  As we huddle in our homes, knowing that illness is outside our door, can we look beyond that to see that Jesus is sitting in our midst?—that Jesus is fearful with us, that he is suffering with us?—but that he nonetheless brings hope to us all.

There is a day after this one, and one after that.  Jesus preaches this to us again and again, and even throughout the suffering and hardships of life, there is something even better waiting for true believes in the Kingdom of God.  We just have to look for that glimmer of hope, see it not with our eyes, but with our hearts.

May we not be blind in the new frightening reality in which we find ourselves.  We may be in social isolation, with limited travel, limited contact apart from the internet and television, for quite some time—or it could all be over with the first heat wave.  Only God knows, but God is with us in our hearts.  

May we look forward, beyond, may we hope, because without hope then we have no chance of reclaiming what we might have lost.  

Although I am skipping a few weeks ahead, I’d like to remind you of a well-known truth in Christianity.  Jesus came to earth so that he might live among us, suffer as we do, die as we might die.  He did it so that he would understand us and our trials.  Jesus intimately knows our every though, our every fear, our every hardship—he not only knows but he understands.  He came to bring us hope of salvation and everlasting life.  Let us not forget this hope this day as we sit on our computers reading this or hold the church newsletter in our hand.

See beyond what is directly in front of you, and I pray that Jesus’s hope and love and light shines brightly into our darker days.


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