A lyric from an old song “Everything is Beautiful” by Ray Stevens goes like this “there is none so blind, as those who will not see.”
In this form of a proverb, it might date back to 1546, but it probably has its roots in the Bible.
I was reading in John Gospel chapter 9 this morning. It’s the account of the healing of a man born blind. Now, because it happened on the Sabbath, when it was against the Jewish Law to work, an argument follows the healing – if Jesus was really from God, would he have done such an outrageous thing ?
As well as the physical healing, which enabled the man to see for the first time, there’s also the question of a different kind of seeing, which is to do with seeing the truth about how things really are, and making an appropriate response.
One of Jesus’ claims is to be ‘The Light of the World,’ which is about revealing how things really are. Enabling people to ‘see.’
The religious leaders take exception to this claim, and ask Jesus …. ‘Are you saying that we’re blind ?’
Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ (John 9:40)
Jesus’ response is perhaps surprising:
41 Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains. (John 9:41)
What he is saying in essence is this: they are not blind – they can see perfectly well. ‘If they were blind, they would have an excuse for not seeing the evidence of Jesus’ power. They are guilty because they have seen, and should have known better than to refuse the power of God.’ *
* Walter Brueggemann in ‘Gift and Task’ a year of daily readings and reflections.
In the Gospel, the religious leaders are more interested in preserving the status quo, and their position of influence. Jesus is a big threat to that power.
It made me think of current situations where people in power might see quite clearly where there is a need for change, but that change would threaten to take away their influence, so they hold on to their power. They should know better.
As always, the challenge is there for me too. Where should I know better ?