I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.
The line from the beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace”, is a beautiful testimony of the redeeming and saving grace and work of God toward us sinners through His Son Jesus! But before we are touched by the Spirit of God to come out from among the tombs, we all lived our lives amongst the world’s fallen. When looking at all that are wandering through this world, you would not be able to distinguish any differences between the lost as they daily imbibe on the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Everything mentioned in verses 19-21 of Galatians 5 are likened to trophies that are purposed to win…personal goals that are daily chased after…always fueling the drive to accomplish as many of them in the most extreme fashions before life’s end.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. — Galatians 5:19-21
As we wandered this world looking to find purpose and definition for our existence, the flesh was our monster. It wanted to be fed by all the delights that this world had to offer and we complied to full degree, always hoping to gain satisfaction and accomplishment. Yet, what we often discovered was that the offerings were merely samples, always leaving the flesh in want of more. There was never a fulfillment of happiness or completion. What was taken as the fuel of gratification always left us with an insatiable appetite for more. The true and satisfying fruit we needed, the inward peace and happiness we all craved, was actually down another road, one that we were not taking through life. God had offered us the fruit of the Spirit through His Son, we just needed to give up our ways for His ways.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. — Galatians 5:22-24
Our issue is that we were deaf and blind to what God offered us. We didn’t see what truly is the satisfying fruit. We didn’t hear the words calling us to the right path in life. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4) We chased after our own desires for a time and a season until, by sweet mercy, the Spirit healed us by His amazing grace.
Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. — Isaiah 30:20-21
In the Gospel of Mark, there is recorded a couple of special occasions when Jesus shows miracle healings on two different men, each afflicted with issues that prevented them from a normal life. One man in chapter 7:31-37 was deaf and had a speech impediment. The other man in chapter 8:22-26 was blind. In most of the miracle healings, Jesus would display the evidential proof that He was truly of God in front of the masses. Often He would simply use His voice to command the impairment to be gone and the person would be healed instantaneously (both physically and spiritually). But in the case of these two men, Jesus, in His love and compassion, took the objects of His pity away from the crowds and intimately gave them restoration.
In the case of chapter 7, the man’s friends brought him to Jesus and implored (begged) Him heal with a touch. In a unique fashion, Jesus took the man away from the crowds to heal him. As the Messiah put His fingers in the man’s ears and then spit and touched the man’s tongue with the saliva, Jesus, Himself, had an emotional moment. He looked up to heaven and sighed. His sigh was the result of anguish and sympathy over humanity. All of these ailments are the lamentable fallout from sin entering the world, as recorded in Genesis 3. Yet Jesus also showed that He has the power to repair that fallout damage. Not only through the creation of food and the physical healings he performed during His ministry, but also through the resurrection power to raise the dead back to life as well! His command for the ears to be opened and the impediment of the man’s tongue to be removed is just a sample that shows us His victory over sin’s grasp in the world! Even when we are unable to cry out in our dire state, God makes a way. He hears our pleas and rescues us. Even when we cannot hear His Word, He speaks to our souls and comforts our yearnings and pains. He gives us hope and restoration by His healing touch, knowing our afflictions. So many of us have the ability to hear the Word of God, yet either forsake the opportunity or perhaps hear the Word and quickly dismiss it. Regardless of our situation, God is granting us such an amazing blessing to receive His truth and we should embrace that with eagerness and thankfulness!
In chapter 8 of Mark, after feeding 4000 people with seven loaves of bread and then having an encounter with some Pharisees, Jesus had to take a moment to rebuke the Apostles who were murmuring amongst themselves because their main concern was that they forgot to take the leftover bread with them. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? (verses17-18). The disciples had seen many miracles and heard Jesus’ teachings, and yet act like they are deaf and blind and almost immediately forget who they are with and the power He has shown. We, also, have that very problem of forgetting so quickly, specially in light of the amazing things we have seen in our own lives that God providentially has done for our sakes. Oh, if we would only reflect daily on these things!
Continuing in the chapter, we see Jesus arrive at the village of Bethsiada. Once again, friends brought out their companion to Jesus and implored (begged) Him to heal him with a touch. This man, being blind, was taken away by Jesus. But this time not just away from crowds, but away from the village itself to the open country. Jesus spit in the man’s eyes and laid hands on him. When asked if he saw anything, his reply is not what we would expect. He could see, but not clearly at first. He said he saw men that looked like trees walking around. Verse 25 says then again He (Jesus) laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. Jesus did not fail healing the man the first time. He first cleared up the man’s spiritual blindness by removing him from the town to lay hands on him. By this, He dispersed the remaining darkness of his weak faith. Jesus then laid hands on the man’s eyes to restore his physical clarity. The priority is to get away from sin, clear up the spiritual vision so that we can see God’s truths with an unabated heart and mind. Living in sin (sin lifestyle) and yet asking to be cleansed and healed is the same as wondering why you don’t have clean clothes when you keep washing them in a mud puddle. You must first “come out from among them”, leave the lifestyle of the world’s sin nature, and then be restored. Jesus afterward told the man not to return to the village (verse 26), essentially saying not to return to the sinful life.
It is important to note that Jesus displayed His teachings and healings in a variety of ways because He wanted people to see that He is not confined to doing things in a rote manner. We must understand that there is nothing regimented or routine, by our standards, when it comes to God. We also need to remember that no matter what we think, say, or do, God’s providence gains the same end always…even if in ways that are contrary to our methods. Every day is new and different. We may feel like life is about doing things repetitiously, but when it comes to spiritual matters we must not lock ourselves into repetitive sayings or motions. God wants us to share and express our devotion, worship, and love to Him from the heart, not just saying or doing the same ritual all the time. If we get fixated with a ritualistic life and thinking that we are pleasing God, consequently the ritual becomes our idol and we forget who we are supposed to be focused on. When we take our eyes off of the prize, we easily lose focus and resume to live life our way. We tend to put God on a back burner, so to speak, and end up back in the darkness of our selfish desires, worshipping the created over the Creator. Jesus said in Luke 9:62 that “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” We must remember that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We can only accomplish this because of the miracle healing from Jesus and His resurrection power over death (our former life) unto us!
Another important aspect to remember is that as Jesus displays His power and authority over all creation, He did not seek His own glory, but rather to turn men to repentance and to glorify God the Father. After Jesus healed the man in Mark chapter 7, He told him not to tell anyone. Jesus set us an example of self-denial. He did not boast or brag of His power, but solely put men’s focus to the One above, through whom all blessings are bestowed. Jesus, being the true mediator, would look heavenward to His Father for all things and showed His dependence on the Father. Though all creation was created by Him, and through Him, and for Him (given into His hands), He would praise and glorify His Father and, in submission, seek God’s will, not His own will. We get a proper perspective of our lives when we acknowledge and strive to bring glory to God first and foremost in all that we say and do. We live to do the will of God in our day to day lives, no matter how menial the task may seem. We also see that self-glory is taking away our focus from God and puffing ourselves up. We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross (crucify our old flesh) and follow Jesus and His example!
Whether a miracle healing such as the two men above or something as simple as a safe drive to work, God shows His power through Jesus the Messiah upon the world in many different ways. We are all spiritually blind at first, lacking an understanding of the knowledge of God that is displayed in His Word, the Bible. But, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then we see all things clearly (Proverbs 4:18). Jesus meets us where we are and uniquely addresses each of us, no matter what our background or ailment may be. He can have our sight and hearing restored so as to see the glory of God and be able to hear His Words! We may have in our past echoed the sentiment of the prophet, who felt unworthy, and declared “woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips,” but we know that He reaches through the darkest places to bring His people out and cleanse them from the sinful lifestyle we’ve been living. There is no sinner too far gone that He cannot heal from the damages of sin.
How and why He does all these things is what is called amazing grace! None of us deserve His mercy, but God is that loving…to pull us out from the chaos of the world we were walking in, show us the right path, heal us of our infirmities, and restore us to a right living! Only Jesus has the power to wash away our sins by His blood shed and His resurrection! Without Him we have no hope. With Him, we see His light shining through the darkness and hear the words of His salvation and experience His Amazing Grace!