We’ve all heard the saying before, “seeing is believing”. Saint Thomas had to see Jesus raised from the dead in order to believe. The Myrrhbearing women saw Jesus and believed. The Apostles saw him and believed. Jesus appeared to hundreds after His resurrection, but still some never believed their own eyes. For many who are spiritually blind, seeing is not believing.
In today’s Gospel lesson we hear about the healing of the man born blind, a miracle that should have been a sign to anyone watching that Jesus was the Messiah. After being sent to the pool of Siloam, the crowd began to debate among themselves. “Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, "Is not this he who sat and begged?" Some said, "This is he." Others said, "He is like him." He said, "I am he." (John 9.8-9)
Our Lord did not, and does not, randomly perform miracles. When He encountered the man born blind, “His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9.2-3) In the Gospel of John we learn of seven miracles that were “sings” of the Messiah. Healing a man born blind was one of them. A learned and faithful Jew should have seen and believed, but many did not. These unbelievers were under the influence of the great deceiver, Satan.
Throughout history there have always been those who would seek to deceive our eyes and cause us to doubt. The Jews were led to slaughter during World War II “seeing” shower rooms, but when they entered the gas chambers it was too late. Thousands today are being led to not trust their eyes, by those who would suggest that boys are girls and girls are boys. Without going into graphic details, we are being asked by today’s deceivers to ignore the evidence we see with our own eyes. Around every turn there are those who would seek to influence our beliefs by deceiving our eyes. It is coming to the point where seeing won’t be believing, and that is a dangerous future.
On Ascension Thursday this week we will hear, “And when He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1.9-11) We will SEE Jesus return on a cloud from heaven.
If we are no longer able to trust our eyes, we may not believe Him when He comes. God gave us our five senses so that we could learn about Him and believe in Him. This is why the Church engages all our senses during worship, so our bodies can learn to experience God. When He returns, riding on a cloud, our eyes will see, and our ears will hear the trumpets. Will our hearts believe, or will we be deceived by those who taught us to doubt what we see?