Being blind, and then seeing Christ is a common theme in the Bible. We see it in a man born without sight, people with their sight “kept’ from them, and another blinded after being knocked to the ground from the light and sound of the risen Christ. Each of these stories hold a very specific purpose for these men, and for the reader thousands of years later.
The First blind man mentioned above, is found in John 9. As Jesus says, the man was born blind with the specific intention “that the works of God might be displayed in him” by being healed. Jesus quickly healed him, and it is now captured in the most read book in the world.
The second mentioned is found in Luke 24. Two men had their eyes “kept from recognizing” Jesus as they walked with Him to Emmaus. After a long walk and dinner with Jesus interpreting “in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”, their “eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.”
Saul, to be later known as Paul, from Acts 9, was the third mentioned. He was not only blinded by his confidence as a Jew before he set off on the road to Damascus, but would become physically blind after encountering a bright light and the voice of the risen Christ. He was blind for three days, and following a meeting with a disciple of Jesus “something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.”
“The Jews rejected the Lord Jesus Christ when He came because of their carnal ideas of Israel, because of their nationalistic ideas, because He didn’t come and set Himself up as King. Because they were bound by these political, national, and social ideas, they didn’t recognize the spiritual truth; and they rejected Him. ‘Is that going to happen again,’ I wonder. And are there some of God’s people that are falling into the same trap and the same error, of materializing and thinking in terms of the nation…”
He goes on further to describe what people should see, in contrast to why they missed it, but let’s pause on what he wondered, “is that going to happen again?” It should be obvious that it has. Just as Jones described the Jews prior to the crucifixion, “the political, national and social ideas” Christians have of Jesus today are blinding. His purpose of atonement is lost amongst the bickering of how socialist He was. The Religious Right in the American political paradigm deceptively touts how their foreign policy of bombing the Middle East in the most creative ways is the legislative equivalent of What Would Jesus Do. And finally, the blinding nationalism that has Christians making oaths to a flag and uplifting servants of the State to the level of sacrifice that should only be reserved for Christ, can best be described as a red, white and blue blindfold.
It’s during that pause on Jones’ words that I hope Christians can wonder, “Is it happening again?” Are we falling into the same trap and the same error? What would it look like if we did? The Jews rejected Jesus on the premises that Jones listed, yet Americans consider it good fruit. Our goal, as Christians, should be as the blind man mentioned above and reply when we finally recognize Christ, “I was blind but now I see!”