Monday, March 4, 2019

Blinded by the Veil

The ability to see has to do with light getting through they eye, carrying images to the brain. Without light or the ability to get light through the eye we cannot see. In other words, if anything blocks the light getting through, we are blind.

Jesus was with His disciples one day and they came across a blind man.

John 9:1-7 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world." When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 

Jesus said two significant things. I need to prove something about who I am as the Son of God, and I need to demonstrate that I am the Light of the world. Meaning what? Since we’re in a story about seeing, and since the medium of sight is light, Jesus, as Light of the world, must have something to do with both physical sight and spiritual insight.

John 9:13-16 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, "He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see." Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division among them. 

John 9:17-19 So they said to the blind man again, "What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?" And he said, "He is a prophet." The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?" 

John 9:24-25 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give glory to God [and not this man]; we know that this man is a sinner." He then answered, "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." 

“Guys, here’s all I care about: before Jesus came along, I couldn’t see. Now I can.” So, as Jesus brings Light into the world, He brought something into this man’s condition. He fixed whatever blocked the light getting through his eyes so that he could now see. But He also wanted to use this miracle to teach a greater truth about Himself.

Do you realize this is the only known miracle in which Jesus spits in dirt and makes mud to apply on the eyes for healing? Ever wonder why?

If you have ever watched any episode of a crime scene investigation show you know that DNA is often the answer to solving a crime. Remember DNA is the specific code each of us has that tells what we are and who we are. One way to get DNA is through saliva. Rabbi Jason Sobel wrote that Jesus’ use of spittle communicated an important code message about who He was and what His connection was to the Father. He had told them He was the Son of God, the firstborn. But in that culture, the right of receiving the blessing of the firstborn could be denied if it could be proven that the son wasn’t the firstborn. How could He prove it?

In the Talmud – the written collection of the Rabbi’s teachings and traditions – there was an answer. It said that the saliva of the firstborn son had healing properties and could be used to prove that a son had the right to receive the blessing of the firstborn. Until now, it remained true only in theory. Interesting.

So, when they heard how Jesus healed this man, it was more than just another healing incident, it was a proof statement. To the Rabbi’s and Pharisees’, it should have confirmed Jesus’ claim as being God’s Son because only the saliva of God the Father’s firstborn could supernaturally heal in this way. The power to heal came from Who He was. That’s why they asked so many times for the man to tell them how Jesus performed this miracle.

And each time the man told them, they rejected this proof. As a result, only the one born blind could now see and those who claimed superior insight of the Scriptures remained blind.

Seeing has symbolic meaning beyond sight. If I say, “I see,” it means I understand. It also has a spiritual meaning. We know that light refers to good and darkness to evil. But Jesus used seeing to distinguish believers from non-believers. Those who could see had the insight into who He was. They are the ones who had believed and received salvation. Those who had not were spiritually blind.

On two occasions, Jesus told why He came: John 10:10 I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 12:46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 

I will give them life and take them out of the darkness – the darkness symbolizing the emptiness of life without Him. The life He offered would be both abundant and eternal. But because the Pharisees rejected His proof:

John 9:39-41 Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, "We are not blind also." Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains. 

He’s not talking about physical sight to the Pharisees but spiritual insight.

But they say they can see. Wouldn’t that make them believers? No, they believe they have insight without Jesus. That their lives are adequate without Him. They live in darkness and don’t realize it.
If they admitted, like the blind man, that they can’t see what would help them understand who Jesus is, that they don’t recognize their need for Him, then there was the miracle of understanding that would bring them abundant life and spiritual insight. Because they rejected that, that miracle remained only a promise, not a reality. Because they saw no need for Him, they had physical vision but were blind spiritually.

Go back further into the history of Israel. During the Exodus, God told Moses to go up Mt. Sinai. It was there God gave him the Ten Commandments. Though he didn’t see God physically, being in God’s presence had a physical affect on Moses. He glowed.

Ex 34:29-35 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him. 

Why cover this up? Moses’ glowing face brought the presence of God a bit too close. Like any light, it exposed things the people wanted hidden, revealed things they preferred to keep concealed.

John 3:19-20 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 

What do we do with a bright light? We block it, or shade it, or turn our heads away. Bright lights disturb us.

So, what the people did in Moses’ day, what the Pharisees did with Jesus, was cover up so the exposure of God’s truth wouldn’t penetrate their darkness and disturb their lives. They still do it today. Does that change the promise of God’s desire for them?

A blind boy was flying a kite as his dad stood by watching. A man came by and asked why he was flying a kite since he couldn’t see it. The boy said, “Oh just because I can’t see it I still know it’s there. I feel the tug on the string.”

Even living behind a veil, trying to block out God’s truth, we still feel the tug. Why? God loves us too much not to give us the opportunity to come out of the darkness.

They were saying, “We don’t want a personal relationship with God. We don’t want Jesus to be the Light of our world.” So, they put a veil over their eyes and remained as they were.

Paul saw what they had done in Moses’ day – and were doing in his day. He brought the historical lesson into modern times to describe those who wanted to remain in their own darkness instead of coming into the Light.

2Cor 3:12-16 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 

Hardened minds mean they’re made up and don’t want to be challenged with insight that will press them for a decision. We’re comfortable, don’t disturb us. Even today, there are those who don’t want to know the truth because it doesn’t fit the life they’ve created. They’re blind to what they could have and don’t know it.

But if, in the moment they grow tired of the darkness, they cry out to God, the light will get through and they will see Jesus as the only One who can give them life.

Jesus showed us two possibilities in this one story. Physical healing, because He has the power to heal, and spiritual healing because He can offer us life in relationship with the Father. One was accepted, the other rejected, which showed us one completed miracle – the miracle that happens when the Light of the world touches the darkness of a lost soul. The blind man received the miracle. The Pharisees rejected it.

In a letter she wrote to Bishop Brooks, Helen Keller said that she had always known about God, even before she had any words. Even before she could call God anything, she knew God was there. She didn't know what it was. She had no name for God – nothing had a name for her. She had no concept of a name. But in her darkness and isolation, she knew she was not alone. Someone was with her. She felt God's love. And when she received the gift of language and heard about God, she said she already knew. She said, “I knew all along there must be one like that, I just didn’t know His name.”

When the Light of the World touches the darkness of our soul, the veil falls off, our eyes are opened, and we can see a Heavenly Father welcoming us into His family.

I want to narrow this down to a specific few today – those who have yet to invite Jesus into their lives. What’s keeping you from asking Jesus to remove your darkness? Why not take down the veil that keeps you from seeing Him as your Light and Life? What is more important to you than receiving the miracle that happens when He answers the cry of your heart?

  1. The miracle of Jesus giving sight to a blind man amazes us.
  2. The miracle of Jesus giving life in relationship with God should amaze us even more.
  3. We are not designed to live either in physical or spiritual darkness.
  4. God has made a way out by asking Him for salvation, through which, we will experience the miracle of an abundant and eternal life.
  5. That’s why God provides light and life through Jesus.

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