WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 23, 2021
TOPIC: THE BLIND THAT JESUS COULDN’T HEAL!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14 New King James Version).
Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19 New King James Version).
After reading this passage from the scroll that was given Him in the Synagogue, the Bible says Jesus closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone there gazed at Him and He told them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21 New King James Version).
Jesus went everywhere during His earthly ministry, performing diverse miracles. Testifying to this, Acts 10:38 says God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Some of the people Jesus healed were the blind. He opened the eyes of the blind including that of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). There was a man who was blind from birth. Jesus healed him and he received his sight (John 9:1-12).
John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the Coming One, or they should look for another, Jesus told them they should go and tell John the things they had heard and seen (Matthew 11:4). “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (verse 5-6 New King James Version). This is also recorded in Luke 7:20-23.
Jesus healed the blind. But there was a set of blind people He could not heal. In Matthew 15:1-2, the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to ask Jesus why His disciples transgressed the tradition of the elders by not washing their hands when they ate.
Jesus answered by asking them why they also transgressed the commandment of God because of their tradition. “For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’ — then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites!” (Matthew 15:4-7 New King James Version).
At the end of this conversation between them and Jesus, His disciples told Him that the Pharisees were offended by what Jesus said. Jesus reacted by saying, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:13-14 New King James Version).
Jesus healed blind people but He couldn’t heal the religious leaders of His day of their spiritual blindness because they were blinded by religion and didn’t see the need for their eyes to be opened. Because they were blind, they were leading their followers astray. No leader goes into error alone; he takes his followers along. The only exception is if the followers see the light early and turn back.
See what Jesus said again in Matthew 23:16-22 to the scribes and Pharisees: “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it” (New King James Version).
Jesus continued: “‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also’ (verses 23-25 New King James Version).
If you look carefully at what Jesus in Matthew 23:16-25, you will see that in verses 16, 17, 19, and 24, He referred to the scribes and Pharisees as blind. In verse 26, He said, “Blind Pharisee.” He also referred to the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites. They were spiritually blind and failed to see that they were blind so that their eyes could be opened. Therefore, Jesus couldn’t heal them.
Jesus said those who were well did not need a physician, but those who were sick. He said He didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17-18; Luke 5:31-32). Jesus’ attitude to the religious leaders was, “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:14 New King James Version).
John 9:39-41 says, “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains” (New King James Version). Did you see again why Jesus couldn’t heal them of their blindness?
These blind leaders or guides elevated their tradition above the laws of God. That’s why, as you’ve read earlier, they asked Jesus: “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread” (Matthew 15:2 New King James Version). And Jesus replied, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Verse 3 New King James Version).
The tradition of the elders was “the oral law, handed down by the elders of the past in ex-cathedra fashion and later codified in the Mishna” (Robertson’s NT World Picture). They believed that, in addition to the law given to Moses and recorded in the Old Testament, Moses was given another law that was not written but was passed down orally. The oral law was later written down and called the Mishna (Jewish law from the oral tradition which later formed part of the Talmud).
After this, the Talmud was written, which is a body of Jewish civil and religious law consisting of the Mishna and the commentaries on the Mishna called Gemara. The Jews considered the oral law more important than the written law of Moses. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day considered as serious transgressions the violation of this tradition. But this tradition was undermining God’s laws.
Is it not better to transgress the tradition of the elders than disobey the commandment of God? The apostle Peter and the other apostles said later during their trial before the Sanhedrin, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29 New King James Version). The tradition of the elders was man-made and was given more authority than the commandment of God (Mark 7:3-9; Matthew 12:1-14; Luke 6:1-11).
Every sinner is blind and needs salvation. Every religious leader who is not born again is blind. He is a blind guide leading the blind; they will both fall into a ditch. Unfortunately, some of them are like the scribes and Pharisees. They don’t know or want to admit that they’re blind. They are like the church of the Laodiceans. She was blind, among other negative conditions, but she didn’t know it. The Lord counseled her to buy from Him ointment for her eyes so she would be able to see (Revelation 3:17-18).
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin. But he was a blind guide who admitted he was blind, and, therefore, came to Jesus by night. He said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2 New King James Version). Jesus didn’t respond to what he said but was more interested in opening his blind eyes. He answered Nicodemus,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 New King James Version).
Nicodemus had no understanding of what Jesus was talking about. His questions showed his ignorance. As Jesus explained to him the meaning of being born again, He asked him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3:10 New King James Version). That night encounter must have changed Nicodemus’ life forever!
He, most probably, became a secret disciple of Jesus. In John 7:45-46, the Temple guards who had been sent to arrest Jesus returned to the chief priests and Pharisees, unable to arrest Him. As the issue was being discussed, Nicodemus, speaking in favour of Jesus, said, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51 New King James Version).
The blind religious leaders eventually killed Jesus Christ but Nicodemus didn’t support them. He, together with Joseph of Arimathea, a fellow member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and secret disciple, gave Jesus a befitting burial (Mark 15:43-46; John 19:38-42). Their eyes had been opened.
John Newton, in the last stanza of “Amazing Grace”, says, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound; That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.” Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? Don’t be a blind church leader, member, or worker. Be born again. Your self-righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Accept the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:9).
Moreover, spiritual understanding is important. You could be a preacher but what are you preaching? Is it the doctrine of the elders or sound doctrine? Jesus said, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?” (Luke 6:39 New King James Version). In line with Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, the eyes of the understanding of everyone must be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). This is important so that nobody continues to lead his followers astray.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, cause all spiritually blind person to acknowledge their blindness and the need for healing. Let them cast away their self-righteousness and come to embrace the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Open the eyes of all blind guides and their followers. Let them know the truth and be made free. Let the eyes of their understanding be enlightened.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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