Psalm 146:8-9 (ESV)
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
When I read these few words from Psalm 146:8, my attention is drawn to another passage of Scripture. In Luke 4:18, Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Isn’t it interesting that out of all of the physical limitations that existed during the time of Jesus, he lists just one: blindness. Why would Jesus speak specifically of “recovering of sight to the blind” and why would the Psalmist also write, “…the Lord opens the eyes of the blind”?
One could automatically assume that these Scriptures are referring to physical blindness. To be honest, there are several accounts in the Gospels that record Jesus literally healing the physical blindness of an individual. Physical blindness was, without question, something that held the individual “captive” during the day of Jesus. In fact, the tragic truth of the matter was, physical blindness left the individual in poverty. More often than not, they had to resort to begging, which was dependency on the charity of others, in order to have any sustenance to live. To make matters even worse, there was also a mentality that assumed that if someone had a physical disability, that somewhere, either with the individual or with that person’s parents, sin was involved. After all, God would not allow something like blindness to simply happen to someone who was righteous and walking in the ways of God. Thus, blindness carried with it a stigma and that stigma left one broken and discarded. When Jesus would bring about a physical healing of blindness, what many of us on this side of the Gospel don’t realize is, the healing was more than just a physical healing, it was a restoration of the whole individual. They no longer had the limitations that were imposed upon them with their blindness.
Thus, to a degree, the recovering of sight to the blind, in the physical sense, was important because it would bring one from the “outside fringes” back to living as normal a life as anyone else. It also showed that Jesus was indeed God because only God could intervene in and defy the natural order of things. That is no small detail. For the Ancients the question was: who could change the natural course of what was known? Only God was able to restore order to that which is broken. Only God is able to restore wholeness to that which is not whole.
As powerful and important the concept of physical healing is, I believe that the Psalmist and Jesus is getting at something far deeper. You see, sin has a very devastating consequence. It causes people to walk in darkness. In other words, it causes people to be blind – blind to the presence and ways of God. As challenging and difficult spiritual blindness may be, what is far more devastating is spiritual blindness.
Spiritual blindness prohibits the individual from seeing truth. First, it blinds the individual from seeing the truth of the power of sin in their lives. How many people who sin, often times operate as if, “Oh, this isn’t really that bad.” Sin and the spiritual blindness that ensues convinces the individual that the consequence and the power of whatever sin, is not nearly as devastating as it truly is. Spiritual blindness does not allow one to see the extent of the slow erosion of the soul that takes place with sin. Spiritual blindness convinces us that all is well. It is not a big deal. I can stop my sin, my addiction, whenever I want. I’ve got everything under control! Spiritual blindness erodes the soul to the point where we are convinced time and again we can go, just a little bit further, and it will be okay.
Spiritual blindness, thus, blinds us to the truth of God and who God is. That is the most tragic thing. Spiritual blindness allows sin to drive us further and further from the God who loves us and created us, until one day we find ourselves alienated to a point we could have never imagined, and if we do not experience the healing that only the Son of God can bring, one day that spiritual blindness will lead us over the cliff that leads to eternal death: eternal separation from God. Spiritual blindness does not allow us to see how estranged we are from God nor does it allow us to see the salvation that can truly be had through this God who loves us and desires our redemption.
That is why the Psalmist and Jesus speak directly to blindness. It is only when we invite the Light that has come into the world to illumine our vision, that our blindness truly does disappear. Then and only then will we be set free because we will see the true God who cares deeply for us. Only when our sight is restored by the God of all creation, can we truly find life.
What is blinding you to the truth of God’s love to you? What sin is blinding you to the truth that you are a lost sinner who needs God to restore your sight so that you can find the life that God created you to have, to include eternal life with him? Pray that God restores your sight that you may be the captive set free that you may experience the wholeness that only redemption in the Cross can bring.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.