Today’s reading reminds me of an old story, so please forgive me if you’ve heard it already. An unwashed homeless man wanders into an upscale church on Sunday morning and sits near the front. An usher, alerted to the situation, comes up to him and—gently but firmly—escorts him out the door, making it clear that he’s not welcome among the upper-class attendees. Sitting on the front steps of the church, the man’s startled that Jesus himself comes down from heaven and sits next to him. The man tells him, “I’m sorry Lord. I wanted to worship you on your day, but they wouldn’t let me.” Jesus replies “Don’t worry about it, my child. They haven’t let me in for years.”
The formerly blind man was thrown out of the assembly, and it seems that he was formally excommunicated as well. Jesus found him and asked him a simple question which was so pregnant with meaning. The man was so much in wonder of Jesus that he was willing to believe in anyone or anything the Lord told him, and appropriately bowed down and worshipped him.
By the way, have you noticed that the man has no name? It apparently wasn’t important, but a lot of commentators have theorized that the reason for this omission is because he’s meant to be a model for us. We too were lost in darkness, and Christ came along and made us whole again. We might not know everything there is to know about him, and we might not be able to answer all the questions of skeptics, but we can simply point to our experience with him and testify as to what he’s done for us.
Jesus then made an enigmatic statement, and it needs a little more examination. Remember, John loved to emphasize the use of “signs,” which are physical miracles which illustrate a spiritual truth. Jesus healed the blind man of his physical blindness, and that’s obviously meant to point us towards the Savior as the healer of our spiritual blindness. But what about the second half? In what sense does Jesus make seeing eyes “blind”?
There's such a thing as judicial blinding, and it’s a scary but thoroughly Biblical concept. Pharaoh experienced it: If you read the book of Exodus, there are several times in which his heart is described as “hardened.” if you click on the link, which is a list of the "hardened heart" verses, you might notice something. At first they say that he hardened his own heart, but eventually the situation leads into the Lord doing the hardening. Paul also talked about this in Romans chapter one. He was explaining how humanity--even though God had revealed himself through various means--had turned its back on him repeatedly. And three times Paul said that God finally “gave them over” to do what they wanted to do.
In other words, if God has spoken to us, especially about the issue of salvation, and we haven’t listened, there’s a real danger. If you say to him “No!” “No!” “I’m not listening!” “No!” “Go away!” enough times, there'll come a time, in this life or at the beginning of the next one, in which he responds with “All right, if that’s what you want.”
And even the limited spiritual understanding we have can be taken away from us if we don’t use it. His grace is infinite: He'll forgive any sin, no matter how heinous, if we just bring it to him, confess, and repent. But his patience is not infinite. He won’t wait forever. If you haven’t placed your trust in Christ alone as Savior, please do it today.
Lord Jesus, I pray for anyone reading this who doesn’t know you. Thank you so much for saving me and giving me the eyes to see you.
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