Jesus had a deep affection for blind guys.
That may be an over-generalization, it may be reading too much into the biblical text. What would be more accurate is that he healed several. Sometimes he touched them. Sometimes he spit on the ground to make mud and rubbed it on their eyes. Sometimes he said “see”.
In several ways, he let people see.
It must be scary to not be able to see and to orient your whole life to surviving, and then to suddenly see. Do you ever get lost and close your eyes so you can find your way? Do you ever close your eyes so you can remember a voice or a scent?
Said that way, it sounds almost romantic to have no sight. Except for the fact that everyone Jesus healed asked for him to heal them. They wanted change. They longed for change. Some people literally begged him to change them.
So when Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah that “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind,” he was talking about having good news for some people who were desperate for it.
Some people think they can see and are confused. Some people are sure they can’t. Both need Jesus. The ones who are sure they’re blind often end up seeing Him.
(From Luke 4:14-30)
For one of those stories of healing, see I am the man and twas blind but now I see.
I could, I know, talk about how Jesus was tempted. If we were working straight through the book of Luke, we would have to. There was some anticipation there, though I think that the anticipation was mostly on Jesus’ part.
I want to skip that and move on to the first recorded sermon from Jesus. Actually, what is more significant is the reading before the sermon.
There really wasn’t a sermon. A rabbi, or teacher, would read part of the Old Testament (although, to be honest, that’s not what it was called, since there was no New Testament yet) and then would spend some time talking about it. Jesus took the scroll and opened it to some words from Isaiah, a prophet:
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR.
In a little while, after reading this, Jesus is going to say that this prophecy came true in him. What that means is that something about what he says is good news for poor people.
The usual questions come to mind:
- Does Jesus mean financially poor or poor in spirit?
- Is the good news that the checks are on the way or that checks won’t matter?
- Is the good news that God doesn’t think better of people who have money?
- Is the good news that the poor may find it easier to understand God than the rich?
- Is the good news that the messiah was pretty poor himself? And homeless? And unemployed?
The good news, at least in part, is that the poor could use some good news, and Jesus is saying that God-in-flesh is paying attention to poor people, whatever their poverty: financial, social, spiritual. Whatever the deficit, he’s willing to talk and care and love. And that is good news.
From Luke 4:14-30)
Okay. Here’s the deal. I want to talk about fasting.
I want to talk about what the reward is.
I want to talk about this incredibly cool image that God paints in Isaiah about fasting not being about being selfish and simply not eating the food you have, but it’s about sharing a meal with people who don’t have food.
I would love to consider the irony that a person fasting might actually eat, giving up not food, but reputation to be eating with the people that no one else will eat with.
It’s not, according to God, about laying around feeling weak, but it’s about actively breaking bonds, taking the time that you would spend on eating and researching injustice or breaking up fights or writing letters to the local foodbank.
It’s not about reveling in my ability to choose to not eat but it’s about helping people who don’t have the freedom to decide anything about anything, the people who are trapped in all kinds of bondage.
I would love to talk about the fact that the people who pursue active fasting are told by God that they can call out to him and he will listen to them. He will hear them and will choose to not listen to the people who are involved in showy fasting, the kind that gets attention for the suffering that it inflicts on the faster.
I would love to examine what beside food we could give up, what ways we could pursue justice. I would love to spend time working through all these things.
But I keep needing to look at my email in the odd chance that something will show up. And I keep checking my twitter feed to see if someone responded. And there are so many things I…