SCRIPTURE: Matthew 9:29-30 (TM) – larger reading Matthew 9:27-34
He touched their eyes and said, "Become what you believe." It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. "Don't let a soul know how this happened."
In his brilliant new book, Catching the Light, quantum physicist Arthur Zojanc writes of what he describes as the "entwined history of light and mind" (correctly described by one admirer as the "two ultimate metaphors of the human spirit"). For our purposes, his initial chapter is most helpful.
From both the animal and human studies, we know there are critical developmental "windows" in the first years of life. Sensory and motor skills are formed, and if this early opportunity is lost, trying to play catch up is hugely frustrating and mostly unsuccessful.
Prof. Zajoc writes of studies which investigated recovery from congenital blindness. Thanks to cornea transplants, people who had been blind from birth would suddenly have functional use of their eyes. Nevertheless, success was rare. Referring to one young boy, "the world does not appear to the patient as filled with the gifts of intelligible light, color, and shape upon awakening from surgery," Zajoc observes. Light and eyes were not enough to grant the patient sight. "The light of day beckoned, but no light of mind replied within the boy's anxious, open eyes."
Zajoc quotes from a study by a Dr. Moreau who observed that while surgery gave the patient the "power to see," "the employment of this power, which as a whole constitutes the act of seeing, still has to be acquired from the beginning." Dr. Moreau concludes, "To give back sight to a congenitally blind person is more the work of an educator than of a surgeon." To which Zajoc adds, "The sober truth remains that vision requires far more than a functioning physical organ. Without an inner light, without a formative visual imagination, we are blind," he explains. That "inner light" -- the light of the mind -- "must flow into and marry with the light of nature to bring forth a world."
Now what just a minute… how in heaven’s name does Jesus expect these once blind guys to keep it a secret? Sight is a miraculous gift… an unbelievable gift. Keep secret… seriously? That’s like asking a new grandparent keeping the birth of their first grandchild a secret. Won’t people notice that they weren’t bumping into furniture any longer? And at mealtime, people would kind of notice that the food didn’t go all over the place. Keep it a secret?
Oh, yeah, it wasn’t the fact that they got healed, but rather how they got healed that was to remain a secret. These dudes weren’t supposed to mention the role that Jesus played in the process. That makes more sense to us because we do it all the time. Unbelievable things happen. We get glad and happy. High-fiving any person near us… and God simply gets ignored… overlooked… forgotten… we just go on with the rest of our lives. All the while God is standing in the background saying: “Hey, did you forget about me? I think I had something to do with what just happened in your life.”
May it is the difference between sight and seeing. An inner light switch has to be turned on before the light of the world can be seen. Maybe there is a spiritual parallel here. We ignore God because our spiritual inner light hasn’t been switched on… and therefore, everything that happens to us or for us or with us is simply taken for granted… part of the natural order…
Bring together the sight and seeing into a whole is an act of grace and faith… but we have to be willing for that to happen. Until it does we won’t have much trouble keeping the Creator Healer’s role a secret… it will just come naturally to us.
Bring them together Lord, bring them together – this sight and seeing – so I can give you all the glory!