When I was a child growing up in north Arkansas, my grandfather, Newton Zinn, gave me the scare of my life one day. With his forefinger, he reached up and pulled out one of his eyeballs! I had no idea at that time that he had a glass or artificial eye. To say that he got my attention would be quite an understatement.
Blindness must be one of the most physically challenging things a person can experience in life and yet many people adapt to it marvelously. There was a man who came into my family’s life and whom we all called Uncle Orey. My grandfather, Jim Depew, took Orey Johnson, a blind man, into his home when Orey’s family forsook him and left him to fend for himself. Although he was not biologically our uncle, he was greatly loved by all of our family.
My ingenious grandpa once hung a clothes line from their house to the “outhouse” (the necessary room) so that Uncle Orey could feel some independence when it was necessary for him to visit there. My, that was in the good ole days, right?!
Grandpa Depew, a deacon in a local church, was a banker in Mountain View and several years after I came on the scene, he built a new home on the same lot and progressed to indoor plumbing – thank the Lord! (It was at this same location that I, as an 8-year-old boy, would make my first inquiry about salvation. I asked Grandma Depew, my first Sunday school teacher, as she drew water from their well, “Grandma, how can a person know that they are saved?”)
In the Gospel of John Chapter 9, we find a blind man who saw some things (and who had a question for Jesus similar to my question to Grandma). “What in the world can a blind man see?” you may ask. I’d like to share from the Scripture some of these things.
First, we find that he saw his helpless condition. Verse 1 tells us, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.” Here was a man who had been blind all his life and never had anyone been able to restore his sight until Jesus showed up. This person was well aware of his helplessness and that of society to give him his sight.
This man was blind both physically and spiritually, for we find in Verses 35 and 36 that Jesus asked him, “Dost thou (do you) believe on the Son of God?” His answer was, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?” When Jesus revealed Himself to the one who had been healed, the man answered, “Lord, I believe.” The Scripture then records, “And he worshiped Him (Jesus).”
To live life without Christ is to live without hope, without help and without God as we read in Ephesians 2:12, “Ye (you) were without Christ ... having no hope, and without God in the world.” We all were born spiritually blind in sin, but the Holy Spirit of God will show us our need of Christ as Savior and Lord if we will allow the Word of God to work in our hearts.
A second thing this man saw was the power of Christ in his life as he was healed and later as Christ revealed to him Who He (Jesus) really was. John 1:12 assures us, “That as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (children) of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Thirdly, he saw the need to share with others the power of Christ that changed his life. John 9:17 tells us he witnessed to others., “... He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.” In Verse 25, he said, “... One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” Jesus tells us today to go into all the world with His Gospel.
A final thing we notice is that he saw Jesus Himself! Can you imagine being blind all your life and then seeing Jesus eye to eye? Wow! So it will hold true for many who have been blind throughout life and the first thing they will see is Jesus when they arrive in Heaven. What a joy it will be for every child of God to one day see Jesus face to face as He has promised (I John 3:1-3).
Randy Zinn is pastor of Russell Missionary Baptist Church in Russell.