4-3-4 The Blind Servant
We have mentioned at the start how blind the disciples were in
some ways. There are many other examples of this among the faithful. Consider
how David went ahead and planned for a temple, becoming obsessed with
his plans, despite God telling him that He didn't want one. Our eyes have
been enlightened, now we see (Eph. 1:18; 5:8; Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9).
And yet in many ways we are blind spiritually. We see through a glass
" darkly" (Gk. 'enigmatically'; 1 Cor. 13:12). The things of
the Spirit are largely enigmas to us. Therefore Paul prays that his Ephesians
would have " the eyes of their understanding" progressively
enlightened, even though they had already been turned from darkness to
light (Eph. 1:17,18). The disciples had been turned from darkness to light,
but the Lord rebuked them for their blindness in not expecting His resurrection.
So we must tackle the question: Are we blind, or not?
Of course we are blind and spiritually obtuse. And yet the New Testament
speaks of us as if our blindness has been lifted. In the same way as our
Lord sees us as if we are perfect, without blemish, as if we are already
in the Kingdom, so he sees us as if we are without blindness. This is
how he treated the disciples. He spoke of them as " seeing"
, i.e. understanding (Mt. 13:16; Lk. 10:23). But frequently he despaired
at their lack of spiritual perception, i.e. their blindness. Yahweh describes
His servant Israel, both natural and spiritual, as a blind servant: "
Who is blind but my servant?...who is blind as he that is perfect, and
blind as the Lord's servant?" (Is. 42:19). There is a real paradox
here: a blind servant, or slave. What master would keep a blind servant?
Only a master who truly loved him, and kept him on as his servant by pure
grace. Yet this useless blind servant was God's servant and messenger-
even though the blind were not acceptable as servants or sacrifices of
God under the Law (Lev. 21:18,22)! God uses His spiritually blind servant
people to proclaim His message to the world. The disciples, still blind
to the call of the Gentiles, were sent out to preach to the whole world!
And we too, blind as we are, are turning men from blindness to light.
Paul points out the humility which we should therefore have in our preaching:
there are none that truly understand, that really see; we are all blind.
And yet we are " a guide of the blind, a light to them that sit in
darkness" (Rom. 2:19). Therefore we ought to help the blind with
an appropriate sense of our own blindness. The first century Jewish Christians
failed utterly in this. And sadly much of our earlier Christian preaching
was not accompanied by an awareness of our own limited spiritual horizons
Ultimately, we will only truly see in the Kingdom (Is. 29:18; 42:6; 1
Cor. 13:12). Then we will know (see) face to face. We will see God face
to face, i.e. understand Him. It follows therefore that in some ways we
are blind, or partially sighted, now. This is indicated by the Lord's
symbolic healing of the blind man in two stages (Mk. 8:23-26). Firstly,
the man saw men as if they were walking trees. Probably he scarcely knew
what a tree or man looked like. Yet he is described as receiving his sight
at this stage (8:24 Gk.). And then the Lord touched his eyes again, and
again he is described (in the Greek) as receiving his sight (8:25- same
phrase as in v.24). This time he saw all things (Gk.) clearly. This surely
represents the full spiritual vision of the Kingdom. According to this
type, we are at the stage of seeing men as if they are walking trees,
perhaps wildly guessing about some things, lacking the most basic sense
of proportion. Perhaps when we speak so glibly about " eternal life"
or being in the Kingdom, we are speaking as that partially healed blind