Scripture: Luke 4.18
…recovery of sight for the blind…
So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Reflection: Sight for the Blind :: Epiphany
By John Tillman
Jesus often analogized his healing of people’s physical diseases to his mission of healing all of us of our spiritual disease of sin. In his sermon at Nazareth, the only specific healing mentioned is that of blindness but other diseases often serve as teaching moments in Christ’s ministry.
Healing is a marker of Jesus’ identity as the Christ. When the imprisoned John the Baptist doubts who Jesus is, he sends disciples to ask Jesus directly, “are you the one?” Jesus answers first with action—performing a large number of healings of many kinds. Then he tells John’s messengers to report what they saw and uses language that echoes his declaration at Nazareth. “The blind see…good news is preached to the poor…”
It is hard to appreciate the Epiphany of Christ—literally the manifestation or appearing—if you are blind. Before we can share in and become part of Christ’s Epiphany to the world, we must be healed of our blindness so that we can say with the blind man from John chapter nine, “I was blind but now I see!”
But too often we are like the Pharisees who investigated the healing of the blind man. The Pharisees are easy for us to dislike when we read about their opposition to Jesus in the New Testament, but modern Christians share much more in common with the Pharisees than with Christ’s disciples.
We are so full of confidence in our scholarship, in our knowledge of history, of our faithfulness to religious traditions, of our moral uprightness, that we cannot imagine or accept that it is us who needs to be healed of blindness. Christ’s words to the Pharisees after they kicked the blind man out of the synagogue should be convicting to the Pharisees inside each of us.
“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind…If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” — John 9.39, 41
It is not until we recognize that we are blind and experience Christ’s healing touch, that we can see. It is not until we acknowledge that we live in a land of darkness that the light of Christ can dawn in our lives. Only then can we guide others to see the manifestation, the Epiphany, of Christ.
The Request for Presence
Save me, O God, by your Name; in your might, defend my cause.
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. — Psalm 54.1-2
– From Christmastide: Prayers for Advent Through Epiphany from The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.