The Time I Watched a Blind Man Cry

Sunday morning I was sitting on the front row of one of our Gatherings at Midtown. My friend Jon Ludovina was teaching on the passage from Luke 7 where John the Baptist is in jail about to be beheaded, and he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He’s the  Messiah. (Translation: “If you’re the Messiah, you’re gonna bust me out of jail, right?”)

Jesus responds by quoting a passage from Isaiah 61: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Luke 7:22-25)

Jesus rattles off a list of prophecies that he is actively fulfilling in the very moment as He heals people—He’d even raised a widow’s son earlier in the same chapter. But there is one important thing that Jesus leaves off of the list from Isaiah 61: freedom for the captives.

In the place of that part of the prophecy, Jesus instead says, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” In short: “Yes, John, I am the Messiah (and you already know this). But I am not going to get you out of prison this time. You will die a martyr’s death. Blessed are you if you are not offended by this hard truth.”

The whole story is a smack in the face to our 21st Century, western worldview of God as cosmic butler tasked with the job of making our lives more comfortable. The fact that Jesus doesn’t always respond/heal/restore in the way that we want Him to (although many times He does) is an affront to our pseudo religious business deals we try to make with God (but He never signs on the dotted line).

During his talk, Jon showed the following video of a woman hearing for the first time after receiving cochlear implants to show how the people who had been healed by Jesus must have been responding.

While we watched the video, I happened to turn around and notice a blind couple in their fifties sitting near me. I watched as the woman gasps and weeps, and the man’s face began to contort. He began to wipe away tears from his face, and I followed suit.

That, needless to say, punched me in the gut.

There will be things in all of our lives that God gives a loving and sovereign “no” to. This man has lived his entire life without ever seeing his wife’s face, or the way the sun breaks through the clouds after a rain, or a newborn’s smile. Through no fault of his own he has walked through darkness all of his years, feeling his way out of danger.

Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

I do not know this man well, but his tears did not seem like angry tears. They felt like knowing tears—like he knew what it felt like to sit behind bars, ask Jesus the question, and not receive the answer he hoped for but still trust Him anyway. They seemed like the tears of a man who knew that there would come a day when his eyes would be opened, fully and permanently for all eternity.

Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

What is the struggle in your life that you’d really rather not have? The thorn in your flesh?

What’s the dream that doesn’t seem to be coming true—either for now, or ever?

What desires do you have to submit to the Lord although there are times you are (wrongly) convinced they’d be able to make you happy?

Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. 

Christ has proven once and for all on the cross that He is good and that He’s for our good. No circumstance in our lives could ever change that. No jail cell. No sickness. No failed dream or lost loved one. No cross that we have to carry. He has given us Himself–the great reward, the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in a field.

Blessed are we when we are not offended by the reality that we don’t always get what we want. Blessed are we when we approach God like a Father who ultimately knows best and not like a cosmic butler that we’ll fire if He doesn’t do His job. Blessed are we who remember that He is wiser and more loving than we could ever be.

Oh, and you should listen to the sermon (Jesus & Our Dreams). It’s so piercing and helpful, and a blog post could not do it justice.

2 thoughts on “The Time I Watched a Blind Man Cry”

  1. This is awesome. I’ve often wondered what life would be like without one of my senses, and I can’t fathom such an existence. I remember watching that video with the deaf girl and tearing up as her veil being torn. What a thought to think that eternity will feature countless other veils being torn, physical and emotional.

    Brandon, I hope to meet you in a couple months when my big road trip takes me south! And hope you got to hang with Thor on his recent trip to SC. Miss that guy.

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