Are you Blind?
4th Sunday in Lent
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
“What are you blind?” the man shouted at the referee during a basketball game. The referee responded by looking directly at the man but making no comment. His eyes said all that needed to be said.
Obviously, the man was not blind. He was actively engaged in running up and down a basketball court, officiating over the play of the game according to the rules and regulations. All of such actions required sight.
Did the fan who yelled the question at the ref actually believe the man was physically blind, as completely without sight? I am sure not. The question was in form of a hyperbole. This means he was exaggerating the situation in order to make a point.
How many of you can remember this situation in your youth?
“Mom! I can’t find my socks!”
“Did you look in your dresser drawer?”
“They are not there.”
“Open your eyes! They’re there”
“Oh, here they are.”
I remember it as if it were yesterday. Now did my mother believe that I was walking around my room trying to dress myself for school with my eyes closed? She may have honestly wondered sometimes, I’m sure, but she said what she said in order to motivate me to look and pay attention more closely and to try and resolve my problem of bare feet so that she would not have to come into my room and find them for me.
You see? She knew those socks were there because she put them there. She did the laundry so she knew there were clean socks for me. Like other times in our lives, we fail to see what is right before us.
Sometimes we do not wish to see. It is not that we are unable physically to see, but that what we see is either too traumatic or disappointing. This could be a horrific accident where people are maimed or killed, or even the trauma of war where people try to block out the tragedy and shock of what is before them. And in other times, it is the lack of skill or ignorance that causes us to be blind to the world around us.
In our world today, we sometimes go to great lengths to purposefully turn a blind eye to what is really happening. We not only do not want to see it, we don’t want to hear about it. Often, I have heard people say things like, “I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing”, or “I don’t read the newspapers because there is never any good news.”
Unfortunately, we do not even want to hear the good news of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Like the Pharisees who did not want to believe that a man born blind could be healed.
‘But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight.’ [John 9:18]
If they had believed that Jesus healed this man, it would have upset their whole system of Law and order. They believed that a person was born deaf or blind or dumb because of their own sin or of their fathers. They took this belief from scripture, the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which says:
‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ [ Nu 14:18]
This is why the disciples asked Jesus who was to blame, the parents or the man.
If forgiveness of sins were not bound by the Law of Moses, then the whole structure on which the Israelites based their beliefs would be torn apart.
These Pharisees were not the only people who did not want to see. They were not the only people who did not want to hear what Jesus had to say or learn why he was here on earth. There are people still today who do not want to hear and do not want to see.
You may think that as good Christian believers that you are safe from being led astray. You may think that your eyes are truly open and that you are not blind. I do not wish you to doubt your faith, but I do wish you to understand that the devil is always at work in this world. Take for example the very disciples of Jesus.
These God-fearing men were at the side of Christ for years, learning the truth and the way. There is no way they could be fooled, right? There is no way they could be in doubt or unbelief. Hear the words from the gospel of Mark 16:9-14:
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
This is the fourth Sunday of Lent. This is a time when we observe and yes, even celebrate the crucifixion of our Lord.
Why do we celebrate? Because His death paid the price of our sin. His death redeemed us from eternal death. But what is more important is His resurrection which gives us eternal life. Yet many still do not want to see it. Many still do not want to hear it.
These people are not alone. Our Lord, Jesus Christ was nailed to a tree, to be persecuted and mocked.
Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” [Mt 27:41–43]
The Son of God, a man without sin took on the sins of all human kind. Christ took all sin; not just for the sinners at that time, not just for the sinners from the past, not even just for the iniquity of the fathers or the children of the third and fourth generation, but the sins of all human beings for all time.
All of this is given to us by the grace of God our Father. It is free without price. Most people would say that, “It’s too good to be true!” but it is not. The salvation of our lives by the death, and resurrection of our Lord is too good AND true.
God sent His only begotten Son into the flesh of our flesh so that we might see, hear and believe. He sent His Son so that we might believe and be saved. He sent His only Son so that we may open our eyes and see what has been before us always; the love of God, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the body to life everlasting.
It is now our charge, by our very Lord and Savior, to show the world the light of Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim the good news to all. We might not see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all to whom we give this life-giving message, but that does not mean we should stop.
The other week, we heard of Christ’s witness to the Samaritan woman at the well. “Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’” She told others in her town and they urged Christ to tell them His message. “And many more believed because of His own word.” [John 4:41]
Christ Himself tells us:
…blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. [Mt 13:16–17]
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are not blind. We have been shown the true light of the world that is Jesus Christ. By His command we share the Word that is not depressing nor does it disappoint. This Gospel is the very same Good News that all people seek. Let us remain in the Word of God. In the words of Deuteronomy 6:6-9;
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” [Deut 6:6-9]
At times like this. When the world is literally covered with the shadow of death, we fear no evil. For Jesus Christ is the light of the world. It is though him the darkness is dispelled and we come into the light. This is why we trust in the Lord and in his Word.
When we keep the Word in our hearts and on our lips, we will never be blind to the glory of God. See and hear what Jesus Christ has done for you so that you may proclaim the Good News of the light of the world to others.