A Word for Today | Luke 18:35-43
The afflicted people in Luke’s miracle accounts are a portrait gallery of sin and its effects. Leprosy shows sin’s corrupting power. The lame man shows the weakness that comes from sin. The dead man shows the sinner’s spiritual inability; the demon-possessed show sin’s destructive bondage. Together, these victims take the pleasant mask off the face of sin. Sin seems so safe and fun. No one dabbles with sin hoping to end up like these miserable people. But sin always takes us further than we wanted to go, keeps us longer than we wanted to stay, and costs us far more than we ever intended to pay.
In the Bible, blindness symbolizes the way sin keeps us from looking in faith on God’s Son and His gospel. Paul called Satan’s reign of unbelief the “dominion of darkness” (Col. 1:13). He says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” Those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are described as people missing a vital faculty; they are, like the blind, unable to see. People think unbelief is sophisticated and intellectually superior. But in fact unbelief is blindness to the greatest of all realities –the glory, power, holiness, and grace of God, whose presence is everywhere revealed. As John Calvin put it, the whole creation is a theatre in which God is displayed before our eyes. The problem is that people don’t see it. They are blind to eternity, to heaven and hell, and worst of all to Jesus, who died to free us from our sins.
This also means, if you are a Christian, that this is the difference between you and others. It is not that you are spiritually superior, but that by His grace God has opened your once blind eyes. In fact, the problem with believers is that having been given the gift of the eyes of faith, we hardly use it. Paul therefore prayed in Ephesians 1:17 that God would open the eyes of believers’ hearts. Every one of us needs to receive the prayer of Elisha for his doubting servant: “O, Lord, open his eyes!” (2 Ki. 6:17).
When we pray for those who do not know Jesus in saving faith, we should remember the blind man of Jericho and pray on their behalf for the mercy of Christ. But he was not the only blind man present. For the Jewish crowd, which tried to keep the blind man from bothering Jesus, was also blind to Jesus’ compassion and power. May God open our eyes to see the greatness of His love for us, the saving compassion of Jesus Christ, and the power of cries for His mercy when we pray to Jesus for help.
In Christ’s Love,