Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Inspired by John 9
I could not see. But I could feel.
I could feel their hostile stares as I sat just outside the temple walls in Jerusalem, my arms held out as with trembling hands, I shook a small jar, begging for even just a shekel. I could feel the sharp pain of hurt in my heart as my straining ears picked up the whispered remarks of disapproval; the harsh words of “he’s a fool if he thinks anyone’ll waste a shekel on him,” and “it’s his own fault he’s blind. He sinned, and now he’s paying the price for it…but we don’t have to. Keep your shekels. Leave him alone.” I could feel a surge of hope within me as someone stooped low and hovered over my jar. I could feel my heart beating wildly, my breaths coming out in sharp pants. I waited, thinking that perhaps kindness had finally found me. But my surge of hope turned into an overwhelming wave of humiliation as with a mocking laugh, he spit into my jar and turned away, kicking dust up into my face as a parting gift.
I gasped and sputtered as the particles of dirt flew into my mouth. An angry, hurt sob escaped my lips as tears flowing from my poor, blinded eyes streamed down my dusty face, leaving behind streaks of mud.
Mud. I felt I was nothing more than mud. The dirt everyone trampled under their feet. Something to be spit upon. Something that was lowly, undignified, and useful for nothing.
Something that could never pay the price required to obtain value because the price for being blind crippled me.
I could not see. But oh, how I desired to be seen.
To be seen for all that I was instead of for all that I was not. To be seen as someone who was not dumb, as others supposed, but just different. To be seen as someone who had opinions and made plenty observations in life, even though his physical eyes could not observe. To be seen as someone who had likes and interests, real character and personality. To be seen as someone who had a brain to think and a heart to feel.
How I longed to be seen by someone special. By someone who dared to look into my cloudy eyes and see my empty, searching soul within. By someone who valued me with a love not blinded to my blindness, but a love that was able to look past it. A love that actually saw me.
As my thoughts raced, the whirlwind of emotions inside me grew and infused in me greater passion. My hands shook the jar with greater fervor as the torrent of tears continued to fall from my eyes; and as I shook my jar, I realized I was no longer begging for money. I was begging for something greater than money could ever buy.
The chance to be loved. The chance to be valued. The chance to be seen.
“Why’s he blind, Jesus? Because he sinned, or his parents sinned?”
My ears perked up at the words I heard in the distance. My blindness always served as a reminder of sin—of whatever was evil and wicked. But what more could I hope for? That it would be used to testify of something else? Or maybe someone else? Of someone who is…
“The Light of the world,” a gentle, yet still strong voice interrupted my thoughts. “I am the Light of the world. This man is not blind because he or his parents sinned; but it was so that the works of God could be displayed in him.”
My heart pounded in my chest as the sound of footsteps grew nearer. Who was this man, now approaching me, who claimed to be the Light of the world? Oh, if only my eyes could see the Light. If only.
The footsteps faded. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I felt His presence. I could not describe the peace and comfort that at once engulfed me as the man got on His knees and placed a strong, comforting hand on my trembling arm.
I could not see Him. But I could feel Him.
I felt His warm gaze as He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes. He spoke no words…and yet I felt that maybe, just maybe, this man could see the person I was inside.
My reverie was interrupted as my ears heard the man spit on the ground beside me. For a quick moment, my heart twisted. Had I been deceived yet again? Was I being mocked as I had been so many times before?
In anger, I grasped my empty jar, preparing to throw it at the man…but His calming presence soothed me, and I refrained from doing so. Never before had I felt this peace. How could I dare to fight against it, even if I did not understand it?
Mud. I felt the man’s gentle fingers apply the cool, wet substance on my eyes. I wondered yet again if this was all a joke. Didn’t He know that the mere thought of the three-letter-word made my heart heavy? Could he not understand that what I was feeling was not just the physical attributes of the mud on my face, but also my feeling of worthlessness closely associated with it? Could He not comprehend that everything mud symbolized reflected what I thought of myself? Could He not understand? Could He not see?
“Go,” the man’s kind voice interrupted my thoughts yet again as He gently lifted me to my feet. “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.”
For some reason, I found I could not disobey or even question Him. The confidence in His voice gave me hope, and I clung dearly to it. With my staff guiding the way before me, I slowly walked in the direction of the pool. I knew where it was, for I had passed by it many times before.
I don’t think words could ever describe the wave of emotions that came over me as I saw my reflection for the first time in the gentle, rippling waves of Siloam; for as soon as my trembling hands had splashed the cool water on my eyes, I could see. I could see, I could see, I could see! Oh, how I laughed with joy divine as I cupped my face in my hands and observed it in the water’s reflection. There was my mouth, my nose, and my eyes. Oh, what bliss! My eyes could see my eyes, eyes twinkling with happiness indescribable. Who would have thought I’d live through such a phenomenon?
I lifted my eyes toward the skies, and the sun’s rays warmed my face. Oh, the sun! How wonderful it was. Through its light, I could see everything around me. I could finally see! How glorious was the…
Light. I scrambled to my feet, grabbing my staff I had thrown to the side in my great excitement. I ran toward the city of Jerusalem as fast as my feet could carry me, my eyes fixed on the road in front of me. I had to find the Light who had lit up my life with unimaginable hope. I had to thank Him, to praise Him, to devote myself to Him. I had to find the man who had healed me, and I had to find out who exactly He was. I had to find the Light of the world.
I scanned the bustling streets of Jerusalem, trying not to be overtaken by the many sights I was seeing as I searched for the one whose love had overtaken me. Oh, where was He? Where had He gone? How was I to ever find Him?
I doubled over and clutched my knees, trying to catch my breath. Perhaps I could ask someone if they’d seen Him. It would probably be much easier to inquire about Him if I knew His name…oh wait! What was it I had heard one of the man’s companions call Him before he had approached me? Yes, yes…Jesus.
“Excuse me, sir? Do you know where I can find the man called Jesus?”
In my desperation, I had grabbed the arm of a passersby, eagerly asking if he had seen the Light. The man looked into my face for a few seconds, his jaw dropping as realization sprang into his eyes.
“Whoa…wait a sec…aren’t you the blind guy who used to sit and beg?”
“I was that blind guy,” I said, “but then a man came to me, and…”
“Hey, Abiathar!” the man cried in a loud voice to his friend, who was purchasing bread at a stall in the distance. “Come here for a sec. You’re not going to believe this! Hey, Haviv, you come too! And oh, Gilla! Come here, come here!”
Before I knew it, a large crowd had surrounded me, curious to find out if I was really he who had been the blind beggar. I insisted I was and told them how Jesus had healed me; and my, what a ruckus ensued. Some argued that I was the man, and some argued that I wasn’t.
“Maybe he’s his long lost twin!” Abiathar suggested.
“That’s impossible,” Haviv said at once.
“More impossible than a blind man seeing?”
The crowd could not figure me out, though I continued to explain myself the best I knew how. In frustration, I was finally dragged inside the temple, to the pharisees who were supposed to be people who studied the scriptures and had plenty of honor; but to me, they had always been the ones who had never dropped a shekel in my jar as they passed me begging in the streets each day…for years and years and years.
I told my story to the pharisees. Those who did believe me were only concerned with the fact that Jesus had healed me on the Sabbath. Most of them, though, didn’t think I was telling the truth until my parents were called and identified me as their son, their son who had been blind from birth.
“The man who did this to you is a sinner,” one of the pharisees said to me. His voice was stern and his face hardened by harsh wrinkles and a sour frown. “He does not keep the law. You have to admit He’s a sinner.”
“Whether He’s a sinner, I do not know,” I replied, staring back defiantly at the piercing eyes of the pharisees. One thing I do know…I was blind, but now I see!”
“Oh, please,” another pharisee said mockingly. “It’s absurd that a man who sins would gain such an ardent follower!”
My throat felt dry. I could not let them insult my healer without saying anything. I clenched my fists, mustering all the courage I had; and then, I spoke.
“Though I’ve been blind all my life until now, I’ve had practice making plenty observations about life, people, and God; and I’ve long believed that if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If the man who healed me were not from God, He could do nothing.”
With an angry roar, the pharisees dragged me from the temple and cast me outside. How I, a sinner, could dare to teach them was abominable, they loudly shouted, causing my ears to ring.
I picked myself up from the ground, rubbing my bruised elbows and trying to ignore the stares of those who had witnessed me being catapulted from the temple. “Why everyone feels the need to throw me all over the place, I do not know,” I thought to myself, adjusting my cloak over my shoulders as I wearily walked away from the temple and sat on the steps of a hut-like house not far away.
I buried my face in my hands, darkness engulfing me, both covering my eyes and burdening my soul. Though I had been given physical sight, I felt as if I was still groping in the dark. So many questions and doubts plagued my mind. I was surrounded by people who could not recognize genuine love because they were bound by the law. Surely they were the ones who were blind…and yet, I did not know how to help them; for though I had been healed, I still did not know the One who had healed me. I did not know how to describe Him to others. I could not be a light to the blind because I did not know the Light of the world.
In the midst of my despair, I suddenly felt a strong, comforting hand on my trembling arm. A great peace immediately surrounded me…a peace I at once recognized. Jerking my head up, I found myself looking straight into eyes filled with tender compassion and love. So beautiful were those eyes. As I looked into them, I knew that they were looking into the depths of my empty soul. They were eyes that saw who I was inside. They saw me.
“Friend,” the man said in a gentle voice I knew I had heard before, “do you believe in the Son of God?”
The Son of God. My thoughts raced. Surely the man was speaking about the promised Messiah who would save us all from sin.
“Who is He Lord, that I may believe in Him?” I asked eagerly, my heart pounding just as it had when my healer had approached me.
The man smiled, His kind gaze warming my soul. “You have seen Him. He is the one who is talking with you.”
All at once, it hit me. Here was the man who had healed me. Here was the One who had given my physical eyes sight; and here He was yet again, opening the eyes of my soul to see.
“The Light of the world,” I said in a choked voice, breaking into sobs as I fell at His feet. “I see you. And I believe.”
I will never forget the day I received my sight…both physically and spiritually. Since then, I have never stopped telling others about my Jesus, the Light of the world. Each day I grow to know Him more and more; and because I know the Light, I can shine as a light to those who are blind. I can tell them Jesus, God’s only Son, came to earth and entered the darkness we are in to bring us light. When we trust and believe in Him, we are saved from our sin that separates us from God. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and it is through Him we can truly live forever. He is the Light that illuminates our heart’s need for Him; and He is the Light that fills that void in us with His eternal hope.
I still cannot believe that Jesus would use me, a man who was so despised and lowly, to point others toward Him. I always thought I was nothing more than mud. Jesus used mud to give me my sight; and now He is using me to give others theirs. For in his hands, the weak are made powerful and the broken are made whole. God uses the foolishness of this world to confound the wise. I am a living testimony of that!
In Jesus, I find my true identity. I am nothing on my own. But the King of heaven loves me.
I am loved by the King. That’s what gives me value.
I was once a blind man—a blind man who desired to be loved. A blind man who desired to be valued. A blind man who desired to be seen.
You, too, may feel as I did; that many people are aware you exist, but no one really sees you; that no one really sees the person you are inside; that you are consistently glanced over; that you could never pay the price required to obtain value because you can’t measure up to others’ expectations; that you are worthless and could never be used for anything good.
Friend, know that Jesus sees you. He knows the person you are inside. He doesn’t glance over you. He gives Himself for you. With His blood, He paid the price to save you from sin. Through Him, you have true value. When you wear His righteousness, you are spotless and without fault before God. You are not worthless, and Jesus can and will use you for the glory of His kingdom if you desire Him too. Come to the Light of the world, for He loves you more than you could ever know.
You are loved. You are valued. You are seen.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (ESV)