Text Luke 18:31-43 and 1 Cor. 13:1-13
Two Types of Blindness
In our gospel reading there are two types of blindness. One is quite easy for Jesus to reverse. “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Jesus speaks, creation is restored, His words become reality, and faith receives everything that Jesus says.
The other type of blindness though takes a little more patience for our Lord, because this type of blindness isn’t a matter of darkness of the eye but rather darkness of the heart. Read Luke 18:31-34. The disciples were blind to what Jesus had to do.
We Are Blind to Loving Others, at Times
Love is patient. We mostly know what this means. We know that God bears with us – our sinful actions and desires, our little faith, our questions and doubts – in great patience. But sometimes we think about others, “If I am patient, if I bury my wrath and anger, then people will not know that I am angry and they need to know I’m angry. If I keep suffering because of their sin, that isn’t good for me and isn’t love for self the most important thing?”
Love is kind. We mostly know what we have received. God loved us while we were enemies, he had done good to us when we only had done evil to him. He gives and expects nothing in return. He is kind even to the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:35). And yet we so often think “If I am always kind then I will not receive what is due to me like the proper gratitude. If I am always kind, I will give and give and give and hardly receive.”
“If I don’t have envy, how will people know that I’m not happy that they received something that I don’t have? If I don’t boast, how will people know how awesome I am? If I’m not rude, how will people hear me? If I don’t insist on my own way, how am I going to get my own way? If I don’t rejoice at wrong doing at times – the wrongdoing and abuse of sex and marriage and family and greed and mismanagement of money and dishonoring of mother and father and supervisor and speaking bad about others behind their back – but always rejoice with the truth that’s revealed in God’s word, then won’t people think I’m outdated, and hateful, and judgmental, and bigoted?”
His Love Never Ends. Our Love is Always Beginning.
God, on other hand, looking right at you and seeing you as you really are, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7),” proclaim this amazing truth. Love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8). That, His love for you. His love which defines love.
Thank the Lord for that. For though we have begun to love with His help and grace, we still struggle with fulfilling our love and we always will until we see God face to face and know Him fully (1 Cor. 13:12). We will always struggle with seeing and yet not seeing.
And how we continue to see Him and love Him and love others isn’t always to say to ourselves, “I have to see better! I have to love more! I have to have more patience! I have to stop rejoicing in others and my own wrongdoing!” Yes, you do. But your strength will always come from hearing from Him who loves you perfectly, who defines love and fulfills love, and to hear that His love, His patience, His kindness in Christ never ends.
Because He went the way that He alone could go, bearing God’s wrath for all sin for all time, He invites us to go with Him to Jerusalem now. He does not rejoice in wrongdoing. He, instead, takes the blame for your wrongdoing so that you go free. Freed from our guilt and shame and sin and with a light load, He calls to bear with one another in patience, in love. He prays for us and all, even as we and they are His persecutors and enemies and ignore or despise His Word, “Father, forgive them,” and we receive that today. He keep no record of your wrongs and He calls us to emulate His faith and the faith of the physically blind man (Luke 18:34-43) and increase our prayer for mercy, even when Satan, the world and our flesh are fighting against us to be quiet. He restores us to His love and continues to remove the darkness of our hearts so that we might see Him and others more clearly.
There are two types of blindness in our story. One requires more patience to reverse. But patient He is. Amen.