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Seeing Ourselves through Blind Eyes, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2021 7:05 am

Seeing Ourselves through Blind Eyes, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 8, 2021 7:05 am

The King's Ministry: A Study of Matthew 14–20

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R.C. Sproul
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Dr. Michael Brown
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Dr. Stephen Davey
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Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

No one other than those who are blind can truly understand what it's like to function without eyesight. Beauty for the blind becomes defined by one's creative imagination rather than the actual color and contour of a rose.

To a blind person, even a friend's smile is virtually invisible until you learn to interpret the way a smile sounds. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll describes an amazing moment when Jesus took compassion on two blind men in a spontaneous and permanent act of healing. Their miracle provides a lesson for us all. You brought your Bible this morning. Please turn to Matthew chapter 20. We'll be looking at the last few verses of that 20th chapter, which is like a sort of a brief interlude between two significant series of events. And when you come to an interlude like this in your reading of the Scriptures, your tendency will be to sort of pass through it rather hurriedly and you'll miss some very important things that are a part of that segment. Remember, God never puts words on the page to just fill the spaces. There's always a reason, and these verses are no exception. Looking at verses 29 through 34 of Matthew chapter 20. As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind him.

Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us. Be quiet, the crowd yelled at them, but they only shouted louder, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us. When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, what do you want me to do for you?

Lord, they said, we want to see. Jesus felt compassion for them and touched their eyes. Instantly, they could see.

Then they followed him. In this presentation of the Gospel today, my great hope is that if you have come into this room without Christ, that you will realize your situation, you will see it for yourself, and you will allow Christ to take care of that for you. Just as the blind could not give themselves sight, you cannot change your inner person. Only Christ can do that.

And he wants to do that. But you must acknowledge your own condition, just as these who were blind acknowledge theirs. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scripture studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck that he titled, Seeing Ourselves Through Blind Eyes. A doctor's office is a perfect place to witness life in the raw. I was sitting in my eye doctor's office not too long ago, awaiting an examination that for me comes about every four to six months. And it was a chance for me to look around the room.

I'm not like most who come in and bury themselves in a magazine and wait for the name to be called. I like looking at people. The study of people is far more fascinating. And you see a whole lot when you're in a doctor's waiting room. Among them are the older ones who have large white bandages across half their faces, having had surgery, no doubt, in recent days.

And then there are often the bewildered older teenagers and those in their 20s and 30s who find themselves unusually anxious because they're so young. But they're having struggles with their eyes. And because we only have two of them, there is an extra amount of anxiety connected with difficulties with one's eyesight. Cynthia and I spoke to a man recently who rather suddenly lost sight in one eye. And it happened to be a damaged retina.

Thankfully, he was able to have it repaired and his sight is fine now. But he said the frightening moment is the sudden realization he has one eye that's good. While I was sitting there, the door opened and into the room rolled a wheelchair. And my eye caught the movement because the man was wearing a U.S. Marine Corps cap pulled down over long gray hair. And I noticed in the side of the cap a Vietnam vet wearing a glove on one hand, which didn't move.

He was rolled up to the receptionist counter where he spoke quietly with the lady who was taking down the information. And the one who was pushing him in the chair turned and brought him over near the door that would open and lead to the hallway that goes down where the doctor's offices are located. Because his pant legs were pulled up a little bit higher than normal sitting in that chair, I was able to see that he was wearing sneakers that had been strapped on with thick velcro straps tying the shoes to double prostheses.

No feet, no legs. And I look closer because he's a fellow Marine and I saw hanging in a sling alongside the wheelchair was a white cane. In addition to his disabilities and the harsh reality of his condition hit me, this combat veteran was also blind.

It doesn't get more raw than that. I began to stand up. I wanted to go talk with him and thank him for his service and all that he endured and sharing things that Marines share together. And his name was suddenly called, the door opened, and before I could get to him to even meet him, he was wheeled into the office and I never saw him again. He was out of sight, but he wasn't out of mind. I was left with a dozen or so thoughts of my own, many of them beginning with, what if? The main one being, what if I had returned to civilian life blind years ago?

And with disabilities, what a number of changes would have happened in my life as a result of being plunged in darkness. I couldn't help but wonder about the man who had come in and briefly sat in the room and then left. I just couldn't get him out of my mind. So I did what I'm going to ask you to do for the next 30 to 45 seconds. Will you do it, please? Just close your eyes, all of you, right now. Just close your eyes and keep them closed until I ask you to open. As you sit there with your eyes closed, try to imagine your life from here on in that condition. You're now reduced in your senses to hearing and feeling and smelling and tasting, but your eyesight is gone. You no longer have the joy of seeing glorious scenes in nature or the faces of those you love or the faces of anyone with whom you're speaking. You cannot see the distance between you and another object. You cannot witness gifted and exciting athletes as they run down a field in the game of football or on a court in basketball.

You cannot witness an orchestra coming to a platform and beginning to tune up for a concert. You no longer can see the food, though you can smell it on the plate in front of you from now on in every meal. You cannot even see the print on the page of a Bible.

You want nothing more right now than being given your eyesight. Now open your eyes. That is exactly where the two men were who step onto the scene at the end of Matthew, Chapter 20. We know nothing about them. We don't have their names given by Matthew. We don't know where they lived or the condition of where they lived. We don't know how they got to where they came to beg. All we know is that they lived in or around the ancient town of Jericho, though they never saw Jericho.

They could only feel the blistering heat in the summer or the burning wind as the sand hit them in their faces. I realize when I use the name Jericho, the word is familiar to many of us, but the location may not be. And as I've often done with you, I'd like you to look at a map in the back of your Bible. So will you turn from Matthew 20 back to the map that's marked the Ministry of Jesus? It will either be a full page or maybe even a double page, as it is in my Bible. If your Bible doesn't have a map, you need another Bible.

You need to get serious about the Bible that you read from and study from. You need a set of maps. You're on the right page when you see a body of water to the north, marked Sea of Galilee, and a larger, much larger body of water toward the south, marked the Dead Sea. You will see the line between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. That's the Jordan River running north to south along this map in front of you. Now Jericho, when you get to the Dead Sea, look to the left.

I would say west, but some of you are geographically challenged. So look to your left about five miles from the Jordan River. Jericho is located. And now look further to your left and down a little because Jericho is east-northeast of Jerusalem. Locate next the city of Jerusalem. Jericho is located about 18 miles from Jerusalem, connected by a rugged piece of road, bad road. In those days, a dangerous road.

It's still rugged, and it's still there. But that 18-mile road from Jericho up to Jerusalem rises 3,600 feet because Jericho sits about 1,300 feet below sea level like the Dead Sea. Jerusalem sits 2,300 feet above sea level.

So you're on a rise. Sometimes it's sharper than other times, but it isn't an easy road to travel. Jesus and his followers are along that road, though it's not shown on our maps. There is a road between Jericho and Jerusalem, and they have made their way through the city. Now back to the passage as we turn back to Matthew 20. As you can imagine, when you read Dead Sea in the summer of the year, you can only imagine how hot. It's a town made for camels and donkeys, and that's why there are so many still there in Jericho.

It's hard on humans. Of course, as is true in all deserts, the winter months are the more enjoyable months. Spring can be a place of beauty. But to enjoy the beauty of spring, you need eyesight. Clarence Edward McCartney puts his finger on the pathetic situation of these beggars who were blind when he writes, It was springtime in Palestine, but there was no springtime for these blind men.

For them, winter and summer, spring and autumn were all the same. That really says it all when you're blind. It's all the same. Those who live in blindness do not sit in rooms painted in pastel colors. They do not see sunsets painted by God in brilliant orange and yellow. The sky above them never has lacy clouds, and the sea is never a deep cobalt blue. No face is ever smiling or frowning. No mountaintops are ever covered with glistening, pristine snow.

Everything is always the same. It looks just like everything looked when you had your eyes closed. As one gifted writer put it in an old piece titled God's Trombone, which is a portrayal in the mind of an artist of the creation, it was as black as a thousand midnights in a cypress swamp. When you're blind, that's life. My marine acquaintance there in that waiting room is in a world like that. And so are these two blind men.

There was nothing for them to see. But at the same time, there was much for them to hear. And they heard something. We read in verse 29 of a large crowd following behind Jesus. You hear large crowds.

They're noisy. And what they're saying often includes names, in this case the name of Jesus, which is how the beggars knew Jesus was among the group, no doubt. By the way, when you travel in the Middle East, the scene of beggars is not an unusual scene. You will often see them along the roadside. And they are a familiar sight, often pathetic. Their limbs are sometimes twisted if they have limbs. And their hands are out and they're sometimes sort of in a chant or saying something you can't understand.

It's in a language you don't know. There's a cup there for you to place your coin for them. For the most part, they're authentic.

I always like leaving the city of Ephesus in western Turkey because when you leave, you go buy a number of shops. And I like it that there's a sign by one of the shops, genuine fake Rolex watches. I've always liked that sign because they're not trying to fool anybody. Some beggars are phony, but more often than not, as in this case, they're real. And these two blind men, when they heard the name Jesus, they heard hope. They heard hope. They could imagine what it would be like if he could just touch their eyes and give them what they cannot give themselves, sight. They're desperate.

This is their only chance to connect with the one who can transform their physical condition. So they began to shout. Two blind men sitting beside the road, when they heard Jesus was coming, they began shouting, why, of course, exactly what you or I would do, sitting there blind. The first word is a word of respect. Sir, kurios. It's what you say when you don't know the name of the man beside the road and you need directions. You say, sir, excuse me, sir.

It's the word kurios. It's not the word for savior. It's the word sir.

Sir. But the next title they give him is a messianic title. Son of David.

Somehow between that moment and a day in their past, they had become acquainted with and acknowledged he is Messiah. You don't call him that unless you acknowledge that. Son of David.

Maybe that will grab his attention. Son of David. Mercy. Mercy.

Have mercy on us. They shouted it and the crowd is impatient with them and they tell them to be quiet. Silence, beggars. When you are among beggars, you can easily become cynical. The beggars were saying in effect, we acknowledge who you are. Look at us. Look over here.

Look this way. And they go on shouting, even though the crowd says be quiet. They shout all the louder from what I read. They shout it even louder, sir, son of David, have mercy on us. Remember the crowd is all better off than they are economically. Plus all the crowd has their sight. How can they enter into the world of the beggars?

When you're not in that world, you don't know why people are shouting. A number of years ago when we were living in Irving, a good family friend of ours invited our older son and me to a cowboy football game on Monday night. We had not been to the stadium. It was then new.

It's now the old cowboy stadium that's been replaced and yet back then it was the cat's meow. I really look forward to going. I began to say to Kurt, our older son, who was really a fan with me, he was by the end of elementary age, seven, eight, nine years old. I said, son, remember, there's going to be a big crowd there. You need to hold your dad's hand. Hold my hand. When you're that age, it's like, really, dad? Hold your hand? He goes, dad, I said, hold my hand. When we got to our seats, it was a great game. And by the time it was over, the crowd was now on its way out.

And you remember the swirling walkways down and you're up in one level and you can see the other level going down. Well, I lost. He didn't hold my hand. And so he had made his way ahead of us and I could see him on the downward walkway ahead of us. And so I go, Kurt! Kurt! And the guys around me were like, what in the world?

Did I care that they were looking at me like I was a yo-yo yelling out loud? Kurt, up here! Up here, son. Look, it's your dad.

Look, up here. And I got louder and they looked at me like, come on, man, I'm just yelling loud. When I yell, I can really – that wasn't even a yell for me.

When I really yelled, and I am right now yelling. Well, Kurt heard me, looked up, and I wanted to tell him there, you didn't hold my hand! But by the time I got to him, he did hear that a few times by the time he got to me. So I put my vice grip on him as we made our way out and I didn't care that the crowd didn't understand. I got a lost boy.

How much louder if I've got no eyesight? I love it that when Jesus heard them – remember, he's in the tail end of his ministry. He's been dealing with people for months and months and months and months. He could have just as easily walked on, not Jesus.

Not in this situation. He heard them and he stopped. They didn't know he stopped. They were still yelling. And then he called. They could hear. What do you want me to do for you? Lord, we want to see we're blind. We want to see.

This is a great moment. He touches the very area of their greatest need – their eyes. Instantly, just as quickly as you lifted your eyelids earlier, they could see. A beautiful illustration of the way Jesus pursues us when we're lost. You're listening to Insight for Living and a message from Chuck Swindoll titled, Seeing Ourselves Through Blind Eyes. And there's much more from this encounter between Jesus and the two blind men that we need to explore, so be sure to join us again when Chuck continues. First, I'd like to draw your attention to a book Chuck Swindoll selected for our listening family. Our study in Matthew has featured a number of references to the justice of God and the fairness of his actions.

And in today's politically charged climate, these words are surfacing in our conversations as it relates to social justice and even the worldview that is often referred to as critical race theory. Well, when Chuck finished reading a new book called, Fault Lines, by fellow pastor Vodie Baucom, he immediately wanted to share it with you. Whether you're a lay person who's trying to engage in grace-filled conversations on race, or a pastor who wants to address these important cultural issues with the compassion of Jesus, you'll want to read Fault Lines.

You can purchase a copy right now by going to slash offer. In closing, I'll remind you that your generous donations are what empower Insight for Living to deliver these daily Bible studies. When you give, you're actually making it possible for someone you may never meet, in places you'll likely never visit, to have access to this life-giving Bible teaching. So, thanks for giving generously to this non-profit ministry. Chuck's teaching is heard around the globe and in fact in eight languages other than English, and we're able to do so in part through your generosity. To give a donation today, call 800-772-8888 or give online at Now, from my friend Dave Spiker, I'm Wayne Shepherd, inviting you to join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe seeing ourselves through blind eyes, Thursday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Seeing Ourselves Through Blind Eyes, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-02 18:46:28 / 2023-09-02 18:54:57 / 8

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