Two blind men met Jesus. One was poor and powerless, and knew he was blind. One was rich and powerful and thought he could see better than anyone else.
Bartimaeus, the first blind man, was the subject of an earlier blog (Mark 10). His case was bad enough. But it gets worse …
The second blind man:
- Was well connected to people of power and influence
- Had been trained in the top religious school of his day
- Was passionate about his faith, the best in his class
- Had a sharp mind and knew the doctrines and requirements of his faith
- Could see things clearer than any of his contemporaries
- Was zealous that true beliefs in God be preserved, and took active steps to stamp out heresy
- Had everything figured out; knew what God expected and what humans were to believe and do
- Was more than just committed to truth, he acted on it
One day on his way to another city to do his work for God – stamping out heresy – he met Jesus. Surrounded by a bright light, he fell to the ground, instantly blinded.
He heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Saul’s answer revealed how blind his heart was, “Lord, who are you?”
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting!” said the voice.
Saul was zealous for religion, but had no clue who God really was. In the presence of Jesus his blindness became evident.
Sound like anyone you know?
- Very religious
- Certain about their doctrines
- Convinced about the rules and regulations of being a Christian
- Dogmatic in attitude and tone
- Defending God
- Standing for truth
- Stamping out false doctrine
… and abusing people in the process.
These are people who believe they see better than anyone else. They see themselves as ‘the faithful remnant’. Everyone else has compromised and just does not get it. Jesus didn’t mince his words for people like this; read Matthew 23 for the scariest chapter in the Bible.
Saul’s Paradigm Shift
Jesus told Ananias to go place his hands on Saul and pray for him. When he did, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes — and he could see again.
He had been blind for three days, praying earnestly. He was going through what we today would call a ‘paradigm shift’ about Jesus:
- He had never seen things this way before
- He had never heard anything like this from all his teachers
- It had never entered his head that Jesus really was who he claimed to be.
Paul wrote later about this new vision, quoting from Isaiah:
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him— (1 Cor 2:9 NIV)
The Key to both blind men was meeting Jesus. When they saw Jesus, everything became clear.
Like Bartimaeus, stuck and acutely aware of it.
Like Saul, blind in another way – oblivious to what’s really going on.
This second kind of blindness will persist until some painful experience jolts us, and the world view of which we’re so confident is shattered: job loss or firing, moral failure, financial catastrophe, cancer, betrayal… we discover our neat little answers about life and proof-text Scriptures just don’t satisfy or answer our soul’s deep cry. We realize we really don’t know what’s going on and can’t see our way with our old answers. It’s time to meet Jesus and have the scales removed.
What about You?
What kind(s) of blindness can you relate to? What did it look like to have your own eyes opened? What questions is life stirring up right now that might lead to new vision?