Bible Reading: John 9:24-41
If Jesus was the Messiah sent from God…then why didn’t all of the Jewish people believe in Him? For one thing, they had developed a picture in their mind (and theology) of what the Messiah would be like…and Jesus didn’t fit the picture. So, when He came, they refused to believe. They looked Him straight in the face and didn’t recognize Him.
We need to be careful that we don’t allow our society, our culture, or our personal preferences to paint a picture of God…that isn’t correct. If we do, we might not recognize Him when He speaks through His Word, or is at work in the world.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Get this picture in your mind. You are looking at an outdoors scene. Directly in front of you is a large beautiful field full of green grass gently blowing in the wind, there are trees around the edge of the field, a stream is running across the field from your left to your right, mountains are in the distance, the sun is rising on your left, and in the middle of the field is a beautiful deer. Now, imagine that you see all of that…but cannot identify a single one of the objects that I just mentioned. Oh, you see each of them, but you cannot tell which is the deer, or the stream, or the sun. You cannot distinguish them apart. They all just seem to run together.
It is called “visual agnosia” and it is a disorder that some people actually suffer from. They have difficulty recognizing objects. For some reason, even though their brain receives the images from their eyes, it is not able to distinguish one object from the other. They could touch a block of wood and a metal triangle and immediately know which is which. But if they just look at them…they can’t tell which is which.
One of the best known types of visual agnosia is “face blindness” (prosopagnosia). A person with this disorder can look at someone that they know and have seen many times before. They see their nose, mouth, eyes, ears, hair…and yet, they don’t recognize them. For some reason, their brain does not put the features of their face together in such a way that they remember having seen them before and recognize who they are. In fact, they may look in a mirror and not even recognize themself.
I heard about a lady who had visual agnosia. But to make it worse, so did her mother. When she was a child, they could be at a park standing 15 feet apart, look directly at each other…and not know who they were. To keep her from getting lost, her mother would dress her in a special shirt that had a unique pattern on it. She would also carry a picture of her wherever they went. That way, if they got separated, she could look for the shirt and at the picture in order to identify her. Once, while in college, she told someone what a terrible lecturer the professor was. She thought that she was talking to a fellow student…but then realized it was actually the professor. Oooops! Had to drop that class. The man that she married had a distinctive looking long beard. She told him that he could never cut it off…or else, she may not be able to find him in a crowd. When she had a son she made him wear the same hat with a pattern on it for 5 years. Face blindness…it causes all sorts of problems.
As Jesus was walking through Jerusalem with His disciples they encountered a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples wanted to know the cause of his blindness…but Jesus was more interested in the cure of his blindness. So, He healed the man. Later, the man was questioned by the Pharisees. They were trying to prove that the man had not really been blind…but was a hoax. They even questioned his parents. Finally, after repeating the story several times to them about how Jesus had healed him…the man told the Pharisees that he assumed that the reason that they keep questioning him must be that they actually wanted to believe in Jesus, as well. That made them soooo angry (How angry? Soooo angry!) that they called him a sinner and kicked him out of the synagogue (the place where they worshipped God outside of the Temple).
Think about what happened that day. A man who was blind could see. And men who could see were blind. The Pharisees had face blindness. They were looking right at the face of God, in Jesus, and didn’t recognize Him. Jesus did everything that God had said that the Messiah would do. Jesus said everything that God had said that the Messiah would say. And yet, the Pharisees didn’t recognize Who He was. They were face blind to God.
It is so cool what Jesus told the man who had been born blind. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man knew that he had been healed…but he couldn’t point out who had done it because he had never seen him. When Jesus had healed the man, He had told him to go to the pool of Siloam to wash his eyes. Jesus wasn’t actually there when they man had gained his eyesight. So, the man had never actually seen Jesus. Now, the man is uncertain. He was still trying to connect his newly gained eyesight with what had happened when he was blind. The man said, “I want to believe in Him, but I don’t know what He looks like.” Listen to what Jesus said, “It’s Me, now you have both heard Me and seen Me.” The man put two-and-two together…he had heard His voice and now he had seen His face. He said, “Lord, it is You, I believe!” A blind man could see. And not only could he see physically…but, he could also see spiritually, as well.
Some people just refused to see. Even though all of the facts were there…even though Jesus completely and perfectly fulfilled everything that the Old Testament said would be true about the Messiah…the Pharisees simply refused to see (accept) Who He was. They were face blind to God. They weren’t born that way…they had become that way. How? By refusing to accept what God had so clearly revealed. If you refuse to see…you become blind. Jesus told the Pharisees that because they knew what the Scripture said about Him and Who He was…and yet, refused to accept Him…they were passing judgment on themselves. They would be held accountable for their sins.
Open your eyes. Look at Jesus…and you will see the face of God. Believe in Him. It is up to you.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,