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“Our remaining sin, then, is a kind of spiritual astigmatism. By our own choice our vision of God, ourselves, and our world is blurry and distorted. Sin makes things on this earth seem bigger than they truly are and puts the truths of God out of focus.”
Lent is the six weeks leading up to Easter, and each week we are reflecting on weekly readings that focus on our need for Jesus. The assigned readings for this week of Lent are 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9.
The Bible has always used light and darkness, blindness and sight, as metaphors for our spiritual understanding. Salvation is a matter of God opening blind eyes (2 Cor 4:4) by shining light into the darkness (2 Cor 4:6). Spiritual growth is a matter of having our eyes enlightened so we can see the hope, riches, and loving power of God in Jesus.
Our remaining sin, then, is a kind of spiritual astigmatism. By our own choice our vision of God, ourselves, and our world is blurry and distorted. Sin makes things on this earth seem bigger than they truly are and puts the truths of God out of focus.
Our passages this week help us see how blind we truly are and how Jesus opens our eyes. 1 Samuel 16 is the story of Samuel the prophet looking for the new king of Israel. The former king, Saul, had started off well: he was tall, handsome, and a strong warrior. But his heart was hard, and his sin led him away from God. Now Samuel is sent to a man named Jesse, to see which of his sons will be the new king. Samuel is bewildered as he passes up seven young men, each looking like a king. But God has his eye on a boy so insignificant he isn’t even in the house—he’s out tending sheep. While Samuel and others overlooked David, the Lord did not, because “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
When we look on the outward appearance—of others or our own—we are blind to the things of true importance. While we might dress up our outsides with good deeds, kind words, and loving activities, God sees through to our hearts. And what will he find there? God sees with perfect clarity, no matter how distorted our vision is. And it is his perfect sight that we will stand before one day.
Psalm 23 paints us a picture of where clarity of sight will lead us: to a life of peace and provision, even when we walk through dark valleys. When we choose blindness, we are rejecting a God this good—a God who will tend to us and send his goodness and mercy after us all the days of our lives. We all like sheep have gone astray, each one turning to his own way. We leave because we think we can see a better path, but now we're on our own and away from God’s pasture. Who can bring us back?
John 9 shows us Jesus, the one who rescues us from our blindness. When Jesus encounters a blind man, he calls himself the light of the world and heals him. The religious leaders refuse to believe that Jesus is from God, so they interrogate the healed man. At the climax of the story, the man declares: “One thing I do know, I was blind and now I see.” The leaders cast him out, and Jesus finds the man again. The man becomes a disciple as Jesus declares that his mission is to make the blind see.
John’s gospel would go on to show us that Jesus, the light of the world, shined the brightest when things were the darkest: on the cross. He would go into the dark so that we could come out into the light; he would become blind in death so we could see in eternal life.
Ephesians 5:8-14 says that now we can walk in the light. We use the light of Jesus to see the world clearly, and to expose any darkness left in us. Now that we have woken up in Christ, he is shining on us with his light. We return to the pasture, seeing clearly, walking humbly with our God.
Brian serves the church by overseeing preaching and Sunday morning services at Cornerstone.
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