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From Spiritual Blindness to Living With Sight

October 13, 2018

 

Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!"

2 Kings 6:17 (NLT)

 

As I age and have to wear reading glasses, I get a tiny glimpse into what it would be like to be physically blind. We recently bought a new vehicle, and the clock is much smaller. From the driver's seat, I can't read the time. As frustrating as that is, it's not even close to the challenges that blind people face. Most of the time, I can put on my glasses and Wa-LAH, I can see. In this post, we will look at ways physical blindness mirrors spiritual blindness, and what it means to have spiritual sight.

 

PHYSICAL BLINDNESS IN THE BIBLE

 

Eye diseases were common in the ancient world. The Bible records at least seven blind men who were healed by Jesus and each case was different. We can learn a few things from these stories.

 

Jesus heals two persistent blind men. After Jesus left the home of a girl He had raised from the dead, two blind men followed along behind Him shouting, "Son of David, have mercy on us!" They followed him all the way into the home Jesus was staying at before Jesus turned and asked them, "Do you believe I can make you see?"  They said, "Yes, Lord, we do." Jesus touched their eyes and said it would happen because of their faith. Jesus warned them not to tell anyone, but they didn't listen (Matt 9:27-31). 

 

Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida. This man was brought to Jesus by some people who begged Jesus to touch the man and heal him. This healing was a progressive healing. Jesus led him outside the village, and then he spit on his eyes. The man could see, but not clearly. Then, Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes, and his sight was completely restored (Mk 8:22-26).

 

Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth. Jesus and his disciples were walking along and came across a man who was born blind. His disciples asked if it was because of his own sin or his parents' sin. But Jesus said it happened so that the power of God could be seen in him. Jesus then spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man's eyes. He told him to go wash it off in the pool of Siloam. When the man did as he was told, he was healed (Jn 9:1-12).

 

Jesus heals a blind, mute demoniac. A demon-possessed man who couldn't see or speak was brought to Jesus. We are only told that Jesus healed him, and the people were amazed. They asked, "Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?" But the Pharisees accused him of getting His power from Satan (Matt 12:22-24).

 

Jesus heals two blind beggars sitting by the road. Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho with a large crowd following. Two blind men heard it was Jesus who was coming, and they began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us." The crowd told them to be quiet, but instead, they shouted louder. When Jesus heard them, He asked them what they wanted. "We want to see!" the two blind men replied. Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see, and they began to follow Jesus (Matt 20:29-34). Mark and Luke also record this story, but with a few differences, namely,  they only refer to one man, not two. Mark included the name of the blind man, Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46-52). Most likely, Bartimaeus was the more vocal of the two. Matthew and Mark both tell us Jesus was leaving Jericho and Luke says He was approaching Jericho. This can be explained by the fact that there were two Jerichos, one old and the other new, about a mile apart. Jesus was leaving old Jericho and approaching new Jericho when He passed by these men. [1]

 

SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS

 

Blindness is a picture of spiritual ignorance and unbelief...The sinner must be born again before he can see the things of God (Jn 3:3), and the believer must be careful to grow spiritually, or he will damage his spiritual vision. [2] When we look at these five miracles, we see how they connect with spiritual blindness, and what it means to receive sight.

 

IMPORTANT FACTORS

 

  • Jesus' compassion: Every time someone is healed physically or spiritually it's an act of compassion by our Lord. Jesus' compassion is stated as one of the factors in the healing of the two blind beggars by the road. Romans 2:4 says, "the kindness of God leads you to repentance."

  • Faith: God is pleased with our faith, and in many of the miracles, Jesus tells them it is their faith that healed them. Sometimes their faith came in the words they spoke and other times it was seen in their obedience to do what Jesus told them to do. In the case of the man who was born blind, faith isn't mentioned at all. Today, our faith is important, and it must be in the One who can heal, save, and open eyes. 

  • Asking: Again, in several of the miracles, the blind people had to ask for what they wanted Jesus to do. We see a few of them saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us" and still Jesus asking them what they wanted. One time, other people brought the blind person to Jesus, and they were the ones who asked. Of course, the blind, mute demoniac wouldn't have been able to communicate, but Jesus healed him. Sometimes persistence paid off as when the blind men shouted louder after being told to be quiet.

  • God's glory: We see this particularly in the healing of the man who was blind from birth. We aren't told much about the man. We don't know if he had faith or if he asked to see, but Jesus tells us that his condition wasn't a result of sin, but for the purpose of God receiving glory. When a person who is spiritually blind receives their sight, God is always glorified. When a believer sees what God is doing and gives Him praise, God gets the glory. 
       

AN ANALOGY FROM MARK 8:22-26

 

When the blind man from Bethsaida received his sight, it was done in stages. First, he was born blind just like we are born spiritually blind. We have no hope of being able to see or be saved without a Savior. The second stage is when we are born again. We receive partial sight just like the blind man did when Jesus spit on his eyes. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." While we live here on earth, we cannot know everything or understand all God is doing. We must live with partial sight and in faith. But one day we will see Jesus face to face, and everything will be clear. This is the third stage: complete healing; perfect sight. When Jesus proceeded to touch the blind man's eyes, the first thing he saw was Jesus face to face. [3]

 

WHY JESUS CAME

 

Jesus came primarily for spiritual healing, not physical healing. He is more interested in your spiritual sight because it will determine where you spend eternity and how you live life now. Right before Jesus healed the man who was born blind, Jesus had claimed to be the light of the world. He said, "If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life" (Jn 8:12). Jesus came so that you could have life, and have it to the full (Jn 10:10). Isaiah 42:7 prophesies that Jesus would open the eyes of the blind, and when He was on earth, He did that physically and spiritually. Today, He is still opening eyes of the blind.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

I've been a believer since I was a child. My eyes were first opened when I was five or six. I don't remember the date, but I remember the event. Child Evangelism brought in a program to my church on a Sunday evening. The teacher presented the gospel and gave an invitation. I raised my hand, along with a couple other children. My eyes were opened. One of the other teachers took us into a back room and led us through a prayer for salvation. My life didn't look much different from the outside, but on the inside, I was born again. The Holy Spirit came to live inside of me, and I began a journey with the Lord. It has been rocky at times, but Jesus has never left me and He never will. On this journey, I continue to learn how to use my spiritual eyesight.

 

When Elisha and his servant faced an impending attack from a vast army sent by the king of Aram, Elisha asked the Lord to open his servant's eyes so he could see. What the servant saw were angels too numerous to count between them and the army. This is a picture for us to hang on to so we will know that much is going on in the heavenly realms. We may not be given physical sight to see into the spiritual world, but the Bible tells us it is so. Faith will be our eyes. Continue to ask for what you want Jesus to do for you, and put your trust in the One who will always do what is best.      

 

 

 

Sources:

[1] John F. Walvoord/Roy B. Zuck: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament (SP Publications, Inc, USA, 1983) p. 67

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary: Matthew-Galations (SP Publications, Inc, USA, 1989) p. 36

[3] J. Vernon McGee: Thru the Bible: Matthew through Romans (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1983) p. 195-196

 

 

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