“I see!” said the blind man who picked up his hammer and saw.
Remember that silly saying? For some reason it just popped in my mind. There is a story in the Bible about a blind man who came to see. He had been blind for a long time. Back in those days if you had something wrong with you physically you were not considered fit for society because, back in those days people thought if you had something wrong with you physically you must have done something really bad, God must be punishing you for something. And everybody wanted to be on God’s good side so if you had something wrong with you and God was punishing you for something, well, you were on the outside of the good side of things.
So, that’s where this man was, on the outside. He just sat around in the dirt, outside of Jericho, waiting for someone to notice him. Hoping and praying for someone to see him. Just sitting there with nothing in the world but an old cloak wrapped around him, wondering about his purpose. What good was he to himself if he was no good to anyone else.
And then, one day he saw an opportunity for change. The man might be blind but he was not deaf or dumb. Or stupid. He had heard about this Jesus guy and how he said things. And did things. Things that made a difference in people’s lives. So much so that the religious big wigs were getting nervous. They worked hard to keep things under control so that the government would stay out of their business and this guy was getting out of hand. But the blind man didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to see.
This Jesus guy seemed to always be on the move and everywhere he went a crowd followed him. So, when the blind man, sitting in his usual spot, like he was every day, heard and smelled a crowd walking by talking about Jesus he knew this might be the only chance he would have to be made whole, to find his purpose, to be seen, to see. He listened carefully and waited for his moment. And sure enough, after a while, he heard him. Jesus. The blind man could tell that people were leaning in close to hear what this man was saying as they made their way from the village of Jericho. It was now or never.
“Jesus! Hey Jesus, you, the guy who everyone has been waiting on, and talking about! Please! Have mercy on me!” Had he really just done that? That might have just been the most dangerous and stupid thing ever done by a blind beggar. Outsiders knew their place and it sure wasn’t to make a scene like this. The crowd around him told him in no uncertain terms to shut up.
For an eternal moment he held his breath and listened. And then, the same crowd called to the blind man again. This time they didn’t tell him to be quiet. They told him to get up and go. Apparently Jesus was calling him forward. Jesus was calling him to come to him. Apparently, Jesus had heard him. And now wanted to see him.
Without delay the blind man let go of his only possession, his only security, his cloak. And perhaps, the thing that was holding him back. Without his cloak he was completely vulnerable. And the Bible says he “sprang” up and came to Jesus. And then the craziest conversation takes place. Jesus asks the guy what he wants him to do for him. Can you imagine? This outsider, this nobody, this loser who had seconds earlier been told by the crowd to shut up is now being asked what he wants? By Jesus! That in itself must have felt like a miracle. The blind man knew, for maybe the first time in his life, he wasn’t invisible, he wasn’t a nobody. For the first time he was being included. In gratitude he responded to Jesus by calling him rabbi. For he was already learning much from Jesus. And since he couldn’t turn back now, and he knew what he wanted, what he had always wanted, he boldly asked…”Let me see again.” And he waited another eternal moment, which was probably just a nano second. Then Jesus told him to go. Jesus told him that his faith had made him well. And boom! Just like that he saw! He saw everything as it was. He saw Jesus. He saw the crowd around him with their wide eyes and gaping jaws. He saw his own hands and cloak-less body. And more significantly than all of this, he now saw that he had purpose. Nothing would ever be the same again. He would not go back to the old way of being, of believing the lie that he didn’t belong. He would move forward. He would continue to follow this life giving force, this Jesus. This path of life.
What gets me about this story is that, even though this guy was blind, he saw so much more than those around him. He saw enough to call out to the one who he knew could restore him. He saw enough to risk everything for the chance to be seen as he truly was. He saw enough to, when called, let go of everything and follow that calling….without seeing in the moment, where it would lead. He saw enough to know that it’s ok to ask for what we need. And to believe that we’ll be met in those needs. He saw enough to know that somehow our needs and our purpose are woven together and that Jesus held the power to see both. He saw enough to know that when our needs our met, our purpose is set. We are to move forward with what we have been given, leaving behind anything that would hinder us or hold us back. He saw enough to know that, once called, there’s no going back.
The other thing that blows my mind is Jesus tells the blind man his faith has made him well. It is already a done deal. Blind or not, wholeness was inside him all along. Jesus helped him see this.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing today, or feeling today, whatever your needs, your strengths, your weaknesses, your joys, your sorrows….please know that you have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of a Love that will never leave you, but rather sees you and gives you purpose for life.
On second thought, I guess that silly old saying isn’t really so silly after all….
“I see!”said the blind man, who picked up his hammer and saw.
Something to chew on…