Matthew 23:16–22, Luke 18:31–43 (read
Jesus uses the concept of blindness as a teaching point. In the ancient world, blindness was a severe handicap. Over the years we have developed tools and practices to help blind people navigate a world of sight. This was not the way of things in Jesus’ day. All the blind were good for was consuming food, space, and getting alms. This is not to dismiss their value as human beings, but in that age, there was little they could do. Today, with help, blind people can read. Blind people can operation manufacturing machines. The blinds can navigate the world, and the world works to help that. That wasn’t so.
Jesus wasn’t being nice. He was being brutal. He was telling the world that the teachers that people looked up to were useless, at best. In Matthew, he implies that anyone that follows these teachers will not end up anyplace good. However, they vaunted religious teachers aren’t the only blind ones. His disciples were often blind too. The prediction of his death was “hidden” from them. In many ways, thought Jesus’ future death wasn’t so much hidden as denied. Why would the disciples want to think about Jesus’ death? Have you ever had a “hilltop” experience? Imagine having them for 3 years. It is likely that it got to a point that they couldn’t see beyond that. Sadly, in at least Judas’ case when he did see beyond it, he likely felt betrayed and thus betrayed Jesus.
That the future was hidden from them per the Scriptures, and then we immediately get to a story about a blind man receiving sight does not appear coincidental. In fact, according to Jesus the man’s faith had both saved him and led to his being able to see. In some ways, the 11 disciples that remained (after Judas’s betrayal and death) did not see either until they had faith. It’s not to say that they didn’t have faith in God, or even in Jesus, but that their faith matured and transformed so that they were able to look back and look forward and see God in action.
1) Have you ever lost any sense (taste, smell, sight, touch) for a time? What was it like? Did it have far-reaching effects?
2) Blindness of the heart can lead anyone down a false path. What areas of blindness have you had to deal with? How did you deal with them?
3) The world is often spiritually blind. If the world cannot see without faith, how do we get them to “see”?