8 Mar 2016
The blind man had been waiting for thirty-eight years for someone to help him. He wasn’t that far from the pool, but he had no way to get there by himself. And so he was waiting for an angel to come along. And one did.
As we get deeper into Lent, we ourselves might become aware of “spiritual illnesses” that are beyond our ability to fix. Like the blind man, we can have a sense of where we want to be, but we don’t know how to get there. Maybe we struggle with gossip. Maybe our illness is that we turn to food or internet or something else to find satisfaction. Maybe we struggle with faith. Whatever it is, it can paralyzing to just sit there, to know something isn’t right, and yet to feel powerless to make it right. Sometimes, we can be waiting for an angel to come along.
Now, Jesus came to the blind man. But instead of picking him up and taking him to the pool to be cleansed, Jesus gave a commandment: “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” The blind man didn’t know it was Jesus. But he followed that voice and he was made well.
And, of course, Jesus comes to us. But instead of just taking away our spiritual ills, he gives us commandments, just like the blind man. He offers a way of healing—speaking through our conscience. There, in our innermost being, Jesus whispers to us commandments and advice in the form of an active conscience (and we may not even recognize that it’s him speaking).
Maybe when we’re tempted to reach for yet another piece of chocolate, Jesus says, “Come, sit with me, and tell me what’s on your mind.” Or maybe when we feel the urge to judge someone, Jesus says, “Don’t worry about them; I am Lord, and I watch over them too."
Like the blind man, Jesus offers us his words as a remedy for what ails us. And the sooner we listen to that voice in our conscience, the sooner we can “rise, take up our mats, and walk.”