Back in November, discussion of Allison’s post: The Art of Translation considered translating not just way our of speaking but also our way seeing! But perhaps for some — not even seeing is believing! The drama surrounding Jesus’ healing of the blind person illustrates my mother’s old saying that “there are none so blind as those who will not see”
Are we tempted to think that the works of God are accomplished best in the strongest and most competent (those who already see)? But Jesus deliberately chooses a disabled person (blind from birth) “so that acts of God might be revealed through what happens to him” (NET).
Following the last two Sunday’s Gospel: Jesus is not just saying cryptic things (as to Nicodemus … “be born again!” and to the woman at the well “get your living water here!”), but doing strange things such as spitting and putting mud into the eyes of a blind person. Doesn’t this seem more like the opposite of a cure for not being able to see well? Yes, I realize this echoes creation when the breath (spit) of God’s mouth mixes with the dust of the earth to create human life (Gen 2:7) but neverthless it seems outlandish as a medical procedure. And the irony increases even more through the story when the one who started off in blindness and then had mud in his eyes ends up “seeing” more clearly than those who never had either disadvantage.
In the story of David’s anointing, God chooses the one that everyone else saw as so unlikely that he isn’t even invited to the anointing party. And (once again increasing the irony), not even the prophet knew (could see) who God was apt to choose. But the Lord said to Samuel, “….the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
How many times in your experience has it turned out that God’s choice, was not apparent at first to yourself or others? How often does it seem that those chosen by God for particular ministries are the least likely in our estimation ? How do you think church search committees and leaders could take this lesson to heart regarding the “apparent suitability” of particular candidates?
When we preach this, do we want to say that David was chosen by God in spite of not even being noticed by the others ? Or might we go so far as to suggest he was chosen precisely because he was not even noticed by others? One of the most recurrent themes in scripture is simply that: God seems to delight in choosing and using both people and methods that seem the most unsuitable to us. Not only are God’s choices often counter-intuitive but God’s methods may even seem counter-productive at first. How are we going to integrate this insight into our lives and ministries without going over the edge?
The encouragement of course is that we ourselves are some of those least likely candidates for suitable servants of the Lord (Brothers and sisters, think of your calling. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 1 Cor 1:26)
While this may not sound like high praise, it may be both a high and probable hope. So we hope for the probability that God has plans to use the even the least likely of us.
One last insight & question: The blind man allowed himself to be touched by Jesus and sent by Jesus without having seen him and without realizing who Jesus really was. Do you think there might be people in your community or families who have been touched by Jesus but who just haven’t figured out who he really is yet ?