SIGHT [sahyt]: To Admit You Are Blind
Whenever I talk to people about my college experience I usually start by saying, “It took me 5 years to get through college and 5 years to get over it.” I usually get a chuckle or two when I say that but I say it because I honestly believe it.
College for me was a good experience. I had friends. I was involved in a social-club. My wife and I were married for most of our college years so I had structure and discipline built into my studies. My school was halfway across the country (literally) from my hometown and so it gave me space enough to grow up and become a responsible adult (I think). But as with any advanced learning in any field of study, graduation came with a baited hook. With a diploma in my hand my pride went to my head and I thought I knew it all.
Now I would never have said to anyone, “I know it all”, but the posture of my heart for most of my 20’s was that I did. The descriptive sentence of those years for me can be summed up this way: “Shaun’s slow, humble, painful realization that he actually knows nothing of what he thought he knew.” I am convinced, looking back, that I did not begin to know anything at all until I admitted I knew nothing at all, and I think this is true of all humanity.
In Luke 18 we find evidence of this truth. Luke 18:35-43 reads, “As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”
There are 3 characters in this scene to look at. There is Jesus who is being heralded through the city like a King; there is the blind beggar sitting by the roadside; and then there is a crowd of people and in particular some who are “leading the way” (v.39).
Let’s start with the blind beggar. The blind beggar was someone who knew he was powerless. He had no confidence in his ability to orchestrate his life or his future or his sustenance or his shelter. All semblance of independence had been sucked out of him by virtue of the deplorable condition of blindness and poverty he likely had for some time, if not his whole life. This was not someone whom God needed to put through the ringer, so to speak, in order to show him his need. He was not someone who needed to bottom out before he admitted he needed help. This was someone whose life was a bottoming out from the start!
Let’s contrast the blind beggar with those who were leading the way. Those who led the way were trying to make Jesus’ journey through their town memorable. Because Jesus was such an important figure in their day, they wanted Him to remember their town and to appreciate His visit when He left. It’s sort of like when Hillary Clinton came to Laconia last Fall; the Police, Fire Department, and especially the Boys and Girls club probably spent all week preparing for it. Why? Because they wanted Laconia to be a bright spot in Secretary Clinton’s memory. The same is true of these people; they probably spent the whole day preparing for Jesus’ arrival.
As they escorted Jesus through the streets of their dusty town they saw some garbage on the sidewalk that hadn’t been cleaned up yet and so they rushed over to clean it up. The garbage they found came in the form of the blind beggar. So they rush over to him and told him, “Shhhh, He’s coming! Don’t make us look bad. Quiet! Why do you have to be here now? Can’t you leave and come back later? Sushh!” (v.39). This blind beggar was going to spoil Jesus’ good impression of their city and so they tried to get rid of him.
The blind beggar had come to a place in his life where he admitted he needed mercy from above. But those who led the way, although they believed in God, still thought they were self-sufficient. They thought God was proud of them for how good they had been. They were the educated of the town. They had the degrees. They had the knowledge. They knew what was best and what needed to happen to make their town prosperous. They believed the could see. In a sense the leaders of the crowd had not yet completed their 20’s. They had not yet been flattened out of the illusion that they knew it all and that they could see. As a result Jesus passed through their town and said, “Everything looks clean guys, but only one of you is truly clean.” Huh?
- “Only one of you truly sees.”
- “Only one of you takes no pride in his success.”
- “Only one of you has not let knowledge puff him up.”
- “Only one of you knows he cannot save himself.”
- “Only one of you truly has faith!”
No man in town had a life lower than this blind beggar but to Jesus no man was higher. The crowd passed by and knew everyone could see Jesus except the beggar. Jesus passed by and said “Nobody can see Me BUT this beggar.”
I believe the sort of faith that made this man see is the key to seeing today. True faith, according to this story, is not believing God can do stuff for me: true faith is believing I can’t do anything without Him. True faith says, “I can’t see, I can’t succeed, I can’t provide for myself, I can’t get a job, I can’t keep a job, I can’t even breathe without You Jesus”. When this sort of faith grows in our hearts Jesus begins to grant us sight.
What is sight then according to this story?
Sight is admitting we are blind.
Are you confident that you can see the solutions for your town and country? Are you confident you are a guide to the blind and that your particular party is right? Let me just say that if you are not equally convinced that you are a blind beggar who needs mercy from above, then you cannot really see what you think you can see. You are still blinded by your illusion of self-sufficiency.
Dependent faith like this is the faith Jesus responds to. Oh to see Laconia, NH take a posture of dependent faith like that of the blind beggar, what sight Jesus might grant us!
In excitement for sharing the Gospel of Jesus every week~ shaun