Tag Archives: seeing

Failing to See The Obvious

John 9:1-41 

If you prefer a version read to you you can find it here

(GNT)

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?”

Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

After he said this, Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud with the spittle; he rubbed the mud on the man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” (This name means “Sent.”) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing.

His neighbors, then, and the people who had seen him begging before this, asked, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?”

Some said, “He is the one,” but others said, “No he isn’t; he just looks like him.”

So the man himself said, “I am the man.”

10 “How is it that you can now see?” they asked him.

11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made some mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash my face. So I went, and as soon as I washed, I could see.”

12 “Where is he?” they asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 Then they took to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 The day that Jesus made the mud and cured him of his blindness was a Sabbath. 15 The Pharisees, then, asked the man again how he had received his sight. He told them, “He put some mud on my eyes; I washed my face, and now I can see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “The man who did this cannot be from God, for he does not obey the Sabbath law.”

Others, however, said, “How could a man who is a sinner perform such miracles as these?” And there was a division among them.

17 So the Pharisees asked the man once more, “You say he cured you of your blindness—well, what do you say about him?”

“He is a prophet,” the man answered.

18 The Jewish authorities, however, were not willing to believe that he had been blind and could now see, until they called his parents 19 and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind; how is it, then, that he can now see?”

20 His parents answered, “We know that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21 But we do not know how it is that he is now able to see, nor do we know who cured him of his blindness. Ask him; he is old enough, and he can answer for himself!” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had already agreed that anyone who said he believed that Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That is why his parents said, “He is old enough; ask him!”

24 A second time they called back the man who had been born blind, and said to him, “Promise before God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man who cured you is a sinner.”

25 “I do not know if he is a sinner or not,” the man replied. “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”

26 “What did he do to you?” they asked. “How did he cure you of your blindness?”

27 “I have already told you,” he answered, “and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you, too, would like to be his disciples?”

28 They insulted him and said, “You are that fellow’s disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for that fellow, however, we do not even know where he comes from!”

30 The man answered, “What a strange thing that is! You do not know where he comes from, but he cured me of my blindness! 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do. 32 Since the beginning of the world nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a person born blind. 33 Unless this man came from God, he would not be able to do a thing.”

34 They answered, “You were born and brought up in sin—and you are trying to teach us?” And they expelled him from the synagogue.

Spiritual Blindness

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man answered, “Tell me who he is, sir, so that I can believe in him!”

37 Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him, and he is the one who is talking with you now.”

38 “I believe, Lord!” the man said, and knelt down before Jesus.

39 Jesus said, “I came to this world to judge, so that the blind should see and those who see should become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were there with him heard him say this and asked him, “Surely you don’t mean that we are blind, too?”

41 Jesus answered, “If you were blind, then you would not be guilty; but since you claim that you can see, this means that you are still guilty.”

Good News Translation (GNT)Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

 

Failing to See the Obvious
Lent 4 Year A John 9:1-41

I am me, I am who I am, with what I have.  But that day I found myself the centre of attention – well an argument actually.  Someone started trying to use me and my condition to score points.  They were wanting to trap this Jesus we’d all heard so much about – but they wanted to use me to do it.

How was my disability caused?  Had I done something wrong, or my parents?  It seemed a given to them that illness and misfortune were caused by what they call ‘sin’- which seemed to mean getting their rules wrong.

But Jesus stood up to them, made it clear that whatever had caused this it certainly was not because of anything either I or my parents had got wrong, nothing we had done at all.  This was really important.  So many people lived by the understanding that bad things did not happen to good people.  Bad things happening to you had to mean that you had done something bad.  We like things neat and tidy.  We like to know who or what to blame.  But Jesus was quite clear that was not the case.

The sad part about the whole episode is that the only thing that seemed important to the Pharisees was that the Sabbath Law has been broken – or at least their interpretation of it!

Having got nowhere with their first argument, they tried a different tack.  Perhaps this is some set up.  I was never really blind at all – Jesus was just using me to try to make it look like he was a prophet.  They were beginning to get worried that there are those who are thinking that Jesus might be the Messiah.

The leaders want to keep the lid on all this.  But it very soon becomes clear who the blind ones are.

The one who was blind meets Jesus and finds he can see.  The one’s who believe they have the understanding of everything meet Jesus, and it turns out they can see nothing because of their prejudices.  They need to open their eyes – and who knows what they might discover.

Lord
may I open my eyes to you.

May I see
the things you have to show me.

May I not be closed-minded
but wanting to discover more of you.

May I never think
I know everything there is to know,
or have you sorted,
but be open to new possibilities.

Surprise me Lord
I pray

God has Come

Do you long to see God?  To know what he is like?  How he acts?

If so, the place to look is at Jesus.  How he lived his life on earth was how God behaves, what he would do.

God wants us to know him and see him – that is what Jesus showed us, and continues to show us if we look.

A Widow’s Son

11 Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. 12 As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow’s only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.

13 When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry!”

14 Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, “Young man, get up!” 15 The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.

16 Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, “A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people.”

17 News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.

This story has immediate resonances with this weeks Old Testament Reading from 1 Kings 17.  This time it is Jesus bringing life back to a widow’s son.

But the result is the same – the people’s acknowledgement that here is a prophet.  And a recognition that God has come to his people.

Whatever else these events in Jesus’ life and ministry are for, they are to leave everyone in no doubt that God is here, among his people.

Are we looking to see him?

Are we seeking to be his presence that others may see him?

Lord,
may I look
that I may see you.
Not just in the obvious
but in all the places you walk,
the unexpected places you work,
the reality you live in.

And as I see you,
may I live
that others may continue to see you

Shining Brightly 2

After focussing on the central dot. A green dot emerges at the revolving gap. Later the magenta coloured dots disappear completely.

This is an optical illusion.  Sometimes our eyes see what they think they see.  Equally our ears can hear what they think they heard.  Often because that is what we are expecting, or because our focus is gone.  I really struggle, because often my sight is blurry – especially if I’m tired.  I have to really focus to grasp what an image is.  Sight and hearing are things we take for granted – but don’t always use to their best.

We continue with the theme of Moses’ shining face:

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

12 This wonderful hope makes us feel like speaking freely. 13 We are not like Moses. His face was shining, but he covered it to keep the people of Israel from seeing the brightness fade away. 14 The people were stubborn, and something still keeps them from seeing the truth when the Law is read. Only Christ can take away the covering that keeps them from seeing.

15 When the Law of Moses is read, they have their minds covered over 16 with a covering that is removed only for those who turn to the Lord. 17 The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free. 18 So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.

Treasure in Clay Jars

4 God has been kind enough to trust us with this work. That’s why we never give up. We don’t do shameful things that must be kept secret. And we don’t try to fool anyone or twist God’s message around. God is our witness that we speak only the truth, so others will be sure that we can be trusted.

Wow!  God has trusted us with his work.  Wow!  Nothing scary then?!

But if we are going to be part of God’s work, we have got to listen to what he is saying and see what he is doing.  Are we failing to see what God is doing?   Or are our minds covered and closed?  Seeing only what we want to see?  Hearing what we want to hear?  Or are we opening up to becoming more like God and his ways?

There seem to be more questions there than answers.  But sometimes that’s how it is.  We need to ask ourselves these questions, and hear the answers honestly.  And then we ask the same questions of God – what is his response to where we are?  What is he saying to us?  Asking of us?  Where is he guiding us?

What work is he asking you to do?  Me to do?

Open my heart Lord,

open my mind.

Help me to hear with clarity,

see what is there;

that I may hear you,

know what work you are trusting me with,

and be equipped to go and do it