John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Do You Really See?

"As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth" (John 9:1). This is the beginning of one of my favorite stories in the Bible. We read about a grown man. Later in the story, his parents say he is “of age”. He’s been blind his whole life. He’s spent countless hours begging in the same place day after day. People walked past him all the time without even noticing him. They must have. They don’t even know for certain what he looks like.

It’s easy to do that — to walk past the same people in the same places day after day and never really see them. Most of us do it all the time.

We do it with more than people. We read over the same Bible verses again and again and miss the message that is only glaringly obvious after it’s pointed out to us by someone else. We drive through rolling hills or awe-inspiring sunsets, trees and grass and rock formations and blue skies, cloud formations and moving water. We have a way of becoming immune to the beauty of creation, the truth of God, the goodness of life.

We have a way of seeing without seeing. We look past life in all its fullness — all the joy and sorrow — all the mystery and comedy and tragedy that is so close we could reach out and touch it. If we would only open our eyes and see!

Life was not that way for Jesus. He saw. He noticed. He was frequently busy, of course. And he must have been burdened at times with the weight of his assignment. We would understand if Jesus was too pre-occupied with other things to notice one blind beggar.

And yet…over and over in the Gospels, it seems like noticing people was the primary thing with which Jesus was pre-occupied.

Part of honoring God is doing what he says.

Perhaps it mostly comes down to seeing people like Jesus does.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if I could see as he sees, I would be more likely to do as he says.