Part III: The recovery of sight
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6 v 17
If you can read this, then clearly you are not blind. Or are you? Events in Dothan illustrates another type of sight and the implication that not having it can have on our lives. Elisha’s servant was filled with Fear because he did not see what Elisha saw. Another way to put this, while his eyes were fully opened, he only saw a part of the situation around him. He only saw what the devil wanted him to see – enemies. He reacted with fear and alarm, because he only saw part of the story. He saw and yet was blind.
Sight, when incomplete, is still blindness. In Mark 8:23 – 25, at Bethsaida, there was a blind man who Christ healed, but at first the man ‘saw’, yet he remained blind because what he saw was not real – he saw men as trees. Christ would restore his sight to him fully.
When anyone depends solely on physical sight, he sees only part of the picture. Spiritual in-sight is required to create a full picture. Combining the different types of sight, a believer sees a full picture – like Elisha. Elisha’s ability to see the host surrounding him was preceded (in 2 Kings 6:8-9) by the ability to see the plans of Israel’s enemies in a different country. This gave Elisha the ability to live without fear prepared for whatever the enemies had planned for him (for Israel). Every believer needs to see the full picture, then we will live without fear, fulfilling God’s plan (2 Timothy 2:6-7) dominating the earth as kings and priests (Revelations 5:10).
There are severe implications to blindness, especially to spiritual blindness, that only makes us see a material perspective when there is a completely different reality. There are numerous examples of this type of blindness in the Bible: We have mentioned Elisha’s servant (2 kings 6) who momentarily lived in fear because he failed to see God’s army. Lot (Genesis 13:10), Abraham’s cousin, picked a land marked for destruction because he only saw part of the picture – a fertile land. Balaam (Numbers 23:21-24) was in the presence of an angel, and he would have been killed, his donkey saved his life. There are positive examples too, everyone around Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-28) saw a fire, but they saw God’s protection and deliverance. Indeed, God opened the very eyes of their oppressor to see Christ (the Son of God). A part of the story I am fascinated by, this same King came near to a fire that had slain men who had previously gone near it, but it didn’t destroy him, because like the young Jews, what he saw had changed and so had his reality.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” Hebrews 11:3
In Hebrews, we learn of a distinction between the things that are seen (reality, sight) and the things that appear (physical, substance). Reality is always bigger than what is seen in the physical. But when we see and connect to God’s reality our response to physical circumstances change. True perfect sight is living on God’s reality and anything outside this is blindness.
Many of us live our lives and make decisions on the evidence of what we see, even though what we see is not the total reality – i.e. we are living in blindness. The power of Christ lives in us, yet we drown in the storms of life (like the disciple Peter) because we do not see. Opportunities pass by us, yet we exist in scarcity and only when the opportunity passes by, do we realize.
How does the church fit into this narrative? Christ adds the keyword ‘recovery’ to his proclamation. This means, he refers to those who have previously seen and now are blind. He does not refer to those who never saw, those require salvation (read about it here ).
Christ requires that the church plays the role of Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 6, the role He played with Peter in Matthew 14:29 – 31. To reach out to those who have taken their eyes off what really matters and restore them to faith.
Like Elisha (who restored sight to his ‘blind’ servant) and like Jesus stood by Peter who was blind to the spiritual workings around him (Luke 22:31-34), the church must practice mentoring actively. Christ asks that we go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Discipling is not a process that ends at salvation or when a believer becomes a minister and heals the sick. Remember that while Christ was alive, His disciples already healed the sick and baptized (Matthew 10:1, John 4:2), yet Christ continued to mentor them until his departure. He even handed them over to the Holy Spirit. Every church (in the modern sense of the word) needs to care as much for our members as Christ did. To mentor directly when there are physical assemblies through the holy spirit, while committing members to the Holy Spirit where we physically are not.
Although the Luke’s gospel recounts Jesus quoting nearly verbatim Isaiah 61:1. If you read Isaiah 61;1 “recovery of the sight to the blind” is in fact not included. Learning about this goes deeply into the origins of the modern bible and I suggest you spend some time learning why.
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