Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blind Faith

So the blind man, to use an example, really has a problem, at least as far as his faith is concerned. He stands on the side of the road, crying out to Jesus to mercy. And Jesus must answer him or his faith will falter.

But his faith will falter anyway when Jesus speaks. 

Jesus must answer because if He does not, how long will the blind man continue to stand on the road? How long will he cry out to a God he cannot see? At some point, any reasonable man turns away. That's just human nature. We can't hold on forever when there's nothing to hold onto. We can't keep believing when we've been given no reason to believe. Jesus must answer the man, in some fashion, or He loses the man.

And if Jesus does not heal the man as the man has asked, therein lies another problem. He has not healed the blind man. Can He not? If the passing Jesus does not have mercy on the blind man, does He have mercy at all? Can He? If the passing Jesus does not open the man's eyes, who has the man believed in? Whatever he thought about this Jesus must not be true because here is this Jesus and He cannot do what the blind man believed He could. Jesus must heal the man, or He brings into question His own reputation, His very nature.

Jesus must answer the man, and indeed, He must heal Him. And yet, the moment that He does, He still becomes something other than the man has sought. He is no longer the Son of David from whom mercy is sought; He is now the Son of David from whom mercy has been given.

Which doesn't sound like a big problem except that it is. I mean, what do you do with Him now if you're the blind man?

The blind man has received the very things he came seeking. He has received his sight, of course; his eyes have been opened and he sees not only his world, but his Lord. And he has received good reason to believe in that Lord; Jesus has done what He says He can do. He has healed the blind man. It is safe to believe in Him. Except, of course, the blind man no longer has a pressing question in which to believe that Jesus must be the answer. He's not blind any more. What does He need a Lord for?

This is why I posed the question yesterday, and it really is the underlying theme to this entire discussion: the question is, will the heart continue longing when it has been satisfied? That is the essence of our faith. The question is not whether we can believe Jesus when we need to. It has always been whether we can believe Jesus when we have no pressing need of Him.

Can the sighted man trust the Lord just as much as the blind man? 

And it's not that this is a question that defines our faith. It's not about where we stand or any measure of our belief. This question is the root of our own concerns about this Christ. This is the thing that keeps us up at night. This is the thing that keeps us wondering. It's the crisis of the crucifix. We love God as an idea, as a promise, as a man passing by. But when He stops to look at us, takes the time to touch us, it forces a question to rise within us. How do I love the God I have seen as much as I have loved the God I have hoped in? Can I? Is there a way to keep believing?

This question is critical. I'll dive more into that in the coming couple of days. Stay tuned.

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