Blind Spots: Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
22 September 2005
I want to give you some background information before we have our scripture reading today.
In John 9, we are told that as Jesus and His disciples were walking along, they saw a man who had been born blind. "Master," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?" "Neither," Jesus answered. "He is blind for a purpose; so that I can demonstrate the power of God.” Then he spat on the ground and made mud from the spittle and smoothed the mud over the blind man's eyes. And then He told him, "Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam." The man did as Jesus told him and immediately He was able to see. Now, this happened on the Jew’s Sabbath day. The religious rulers and the Pharisees were looking for something to accuse Jesus of, so when they heard about it, they asked the man to tell them what happened to him. The man that was blind told them how Jesus had smoothed the mud over his eyes, and when it was washed away, he could see. Some of the Pharisees said, "Then this fellow Jesus is not from God because he is working on the Sabbath." But others said, "But how could an ordinary person do such miracles?" So there was a deep division of opinion among them. Then the Pharisees turned on the man who had been blind and demanded, "This man who opened your eyes--who do you say he is?" The man replied, "I think he must be a prophet sent by God". The Jewish leaders wouldn’t accept that answer, because they believed the man had never been blind, and so they had the man’s parents brought to them for questioning. They asked them, "Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?" His parents replied, "We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but we don't know what happened to make him see, or who did it. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him."
The parents were afraid of the Jewish leaders, because they had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be excommunicated; kicked out of the synagogue. They let his parents go, and then had the man who had been blind brought to them for the second time, and they told him, "Give the glory to God, not to Jesus, for we know Jesus is an evil person." "I don't know whether he is good or bad," the man replied, "but I know this: I was blind, and now I see!" "But what did he do?" they asked. "How did he heal you?" "Look!" the man exclaimed. "I told you once; didn't you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" Then the Pharisees cursed him and said, "You must be a disciple of His, but we are disciples of Moses. We know God has spoken to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't know anything about him." "Why, that's very strange!" the man replied. "He can heal blind men, and yet you don't know anything about him!” As the man continued to speak he said, “Well, God doesn't listen to evil men, but he has open ears to those who worship him and do his will. Since the world began there has never been anyone who could open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn't do it." "You stupid, evil man!" they shouted. "Are you trying to teach us?" And then they threw him out. Now, for the rest of the story I will read our scripture passage; John 9:35-41.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Some of the Pharisees who were close by heard what Jesus said and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?"
You know what a blind spot is. If you’re driving in a car and you’re relying on your rear view mirrors to check the lanes, there are some spots that you still won’t be able to see. The back right corner. The back left corner. Those are blind spots. Oh you can turn your head and take a gaze at those spots so that you will know what if anything is there, but for the moment that you check your blind spots, you are unaware of what is happening in front of the car.
Blind spots. Blind spots are created because we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads, and since it is physically impossible to see everything at once.
Blind spots. These people, these Pharisees here in the text of John 9 were said by Jesus to be blind. The irony is that Jesus had just healed a blind man. And in the aftermath of the story, when the Pharisees tried to find a legal technicality to undo the miracle that Jesus had performed, they show themselves to have a blind spot where Jesus is concerned. Jesus said that he came so that those who do not see may see, and that those who think they see will realize that they are blind. The Pharisees revealed their arrogance and pride, when they responded to Jesus by saying, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" The man had just cured blind eyes, and the Pharisees were trying to say that he wasn’t of God.
Blind spots. Because, when we have spiritual blind spots, like these Pharisees in the story, we can’t see what God is doing. God had just performed a miracle through his only son, and still these religious leaders couldn’t see it. When you’ve got a spiritual blind spot, God can be doing something fantastic right in your midst and you still won’t see it. You can see how you want things. You can see how you think things should be. You can see what you want to see. But when you’ve got spiritual blind spots, you might just miss out on what God is doing right next to you, right in your midst.
I want to share a joke with you that just might fit the spirit of our story today. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars." "What does that tell you?" Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Why, what does it tell you?" Holmes said, "Watson you idiot, someone has stolen our tent." Sometimes we are blind to what is going on right in our midst, and in a spiritual sense, we can be blind to what God is doing so well for us.
How many times have you and I seen people who are unhappy with their lives because not everything is going the way they want. Especially here in America, where the poorest of us live so much better than so many people around the world. WE complain because our cable bill is getting higher. We cringe because our cell phones have roaming charges. We cry because they only had butter top wheat bread instead of white bread at the restaurant. We get upset when the educational system only shows a 6% increase in test scores. And too often we allow things to pile up on us and we miss out on what joy God has provided for us right here in front of us. Complaining about your spouse when you’ve got a loving faithful one. Picking on your children because they got an A- instead of an A like the kids next door.
Blind spots. We can’t see what great things God is doing right in our midst. And if we did, we would jump for joy at just how good God has been to us. Food to eat. Water to drink. People to love. A place to worship. Air to breathe. Strength to live. Oh praise the Lord.
The Pharisees should have been jumping for joy that a blind man could now see. But they had a spiritual blind spot when it came to Jesus. These Pharisees were religious leaders, well trained, educated, and respected in the community. They could speak doctrine with the best of them. They were known for their spirituality, for their religious performance. Good church member material was these Pharisees. We often blame them for their hypocrisy, for their outward displays of piety when God was looking at their inward feelings of haughtiness and arrogance.
But that outward stuff, those things that we can see with our own eyes and understand, well those things spoke very highly of the Pharisees. Praying all the time, reading the scriptures on a daily basis, strictly adhering to religious law. But what Jesus says here is that even if you are spiritually gifted, there are still going to be some blind spots. Follow me to I Corinthians chapter 13, and let us see what Paul had to say about this same kind of subject.
I Corinthians 13 verse 1, "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. I f I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."