Have you seen commercials for the Apple TV show, “See”? It features Jason Mamoa (Aquaman), and it’s about a post-apocalyptic society where everyone is blind, and in every conceivable way, culture has devolved. Society has figured out new ways to survive but not thrive.
In the middle of this culture of blindness, twins are born who can see.
Season one of the show isn’t good, but the concept is intriguing. What does it mean to see if everyone is blind, and just as importantly, how does society respond to someone who has true sight?
See in real life!
One of my favorite Jesus stories is “See” in real life. It’s about a blind man who Jesus encounters as his disciples are debating why this man was born blind (Whose sin was it? The man or his parents?). The disciples argued, but Jesus simply gifted the man with sight. Amazing, right?
It was so amazing that this great work of God brought the blind man, his family, the community and it’s leaders together. They broke out in song and dance. Jesus has brought peace to the community.
As we read on, we see several responses to this act of God, and instead of bringing people together, it set them at odds. Jesus healed the man’s physical blindness, and at the same time, he exposed the spiritual blindness of the man’s family, his community, and the leaders.
Our culture paints Jesus as a great prophet who wanted to bring peace to the world. There is some truth to this suggestion, but just as often as Jesus brought people together, he also divided men and women because of how they SAW God, leadership, and politics.
Don’t miss that.
Jesus divides as often as he brings people together. Jesus is consistently asking you and me a question. It’s a question that divides as often as it unites.
“What do you see?”
Everybody loves drama.
If you love a good soap opera (or maybe a quirky sitcom), you’ll enjoy how the story plays out. It moves from scene to scene with everyone getting their say about who Jesus is. Everyone involved believes they can see exactly what is happening. As you read you’ll see only one person can see the truth.
Scene 1: Confusion
The man’s friends and neighbors saw confusion. One morning this man that they’ve only known as blind left the neighborhood. That same afternoon he returned able to see. Questions immediately fly in from those closest to him.
Was this really the man they had grown up with? How could he now see? Who could do such a thing? Did Jesus really dare heal (work) on the Sabbath (which was against the Jewish code of laws)?
The neighborhood responded with confusion.
Scene 2: Anger
The community leaders (the Pharisees) saw through the lens of anger. They already didn’t trust Jesus, and now this uneducated, former blind man claimed Jesus was sent from God. Again, questions zing from these religious leaders.
Who was this outsider challenging their authority? If Jesus is sent by God, why would he blatantly break their (and his own) law? How can a ‘sinner’ be from God? They have studied theology and God all their lives, so who is this unschooled beggar acting as if he knows more than they?
Also confused, the Pharisees responded with anger.
Scene 3: Fear
The man’s parents saw with fear. Yes, indeed that was their son. Yes, he was born blind, but now he has full and complete sight. They couldn’t deny the work of God in their son’s life, but they wouldn’t take a position on who Jesus is.
The man’s parents know the Pharisees hate Jesus. They know these men have the power to ex-communicate them from the local synagogue — destroying their reputation in the community. How can they take that risk for this poor, itinerant preacher (even one who has healed their son)?
The family responded with fear.
Scene 4: Faith
Finally, the man himself, sees only faith. What questions are there to ask? What is there to be confused about?
He tells his friends and neighbors it was Jesus who healed him (yes, on the Sabbath, but who really cares?). Some rules are made to be broken. Why should he be angry with Jesus?
In an act of boldness, he stands up to the Pharisees declaring Jesus must be from God. He doesn’t side with his parents, and he doesn’t buckle under the Pharisee’s pressure. Why should he be afraid of these men, who, compared to Jesus, are powerless?
His position is clear. God sent Jesus. He will choose to trust in what Jesus teaches and claims.
The man born blind responds with faith.
Ironically, the blind man is the only one who can truly see!
It is Everyman.
It’s important to note John never named the man in the story. This story takes up an entire chapter of the Gospel of John (a total of 21 chapters), and we have no idea who he is. Maybe John had a reason for leaving the man unnamed.
Did he just forget? Did he not want to do the research to find the man’s name? Possibly, but I believe there something deeper. This man is more than just another encounter in the life of Jesus. He represents you and me.
He is Everyman. This man born blind is you. He is me.
We too are blind. You and I suffer from spiritual blindness. We can’t see what is truly happening in the world around us. We need to encounter Jesus, so he can give us sight. But be warned, when Jesus arrives we must respond.
How will you respond to Jesus? Will you be confused, angry or afraid?
All of those responses come from a place of blindness. The community could physically see, but they were spiritually blind. The family could physically see, but they were spiritually blind. The leaders could physically see, but they were spiritually blind.
Belief opens your spiritual eyes. And when your eyes are finally opened, you will respond in one (and only one) way.
Worship is power
At the very beginning of the story, before the man was healed from his blindness, the disciples wonder why the man was born blind. Their question kicks-off this sequence of events. Jesus’ response has nothing to do with the sin of the parents nor the man. Jesus says it’s “so the power of God could be seen in him” (the blind man).
What is power? Is it healing blindness? Is it raising the dead?
At the end of the story, the man sees Jesus again, this time clearly, and with a complete picture of what it means to follow Jesus. He knows it means some people will be confused. The man understands it means other people will be angry. He knows it means some will be afraid. He knows it means a few will believe. His eyes can see, but more importantly, he now sees with his spiritual eyes.
With all of this information, the man makes the ultimate declaration of faith in Jesus. He falls to his knees and worships Jesus.
Worship is true power. What I worship defines what I bend my will to. If you have my heart, you have me, so worship is the ultimate sign of power. It’s what Jesus told his disciples before he healed man. The power of God was on display when the man was healed, but it was truly seen when he fell to his knees and worshiped Jesus.
Do you see?
When a person truly sees, the only response is worship.
Unfortunately, worship doesn’t bring world peace. Worship won’t unite kingdoms. It may cause confusion, anger or fear. It may, in fact, cause rejection.
At the end of the ages, Jesus will bring peace. Right now, Jesus divides as much as he bring together. He’s looking for people whose eyes are open. He’s looking for people who will worship him.
It’s okay to be confused by Jesus. You can be afraid about what it means to follow Jesus. It’s even okay to be angry about what Jesus is asking you to do, think or believe. The question is will you come to a place of believing in who Jesus said he was – the Son of God?
Do you see? Will you worship?