A thankful Thanksgiving in our Detroit home (1966)
And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind (John 9:39).”
My mom was legally blind. When she was 18, while sitting in church, her left eye went black, like a dark curtain descended. Can you imagine the terror?
The doctor said it was from a recent bout with Scarlet Fever. After several painful and unsuccessful operations, and a very long stay at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, she decided to just live with a detached retina. Over the years, her right eye became strained and badly weakened.
After graduation with a fine catch (1979)
I grew up helping her to see price tags, clothing sizes, bus stops, addresses, ingredients, and even people. It was normal for me to be her eyes and when I turned 16 she was my excuse to get to drive our family car as her chauffeur. Being blind was our normal.
Our church, St Martha’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan
Late in life, after going to church every Sunday, she finally realized religion wasn’t the answer. After teaching Sunday school, serving in the Altar Guild, and regular attendance, she still had no assurance of going to Heaven when she died. Then one day she heard Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s “Thru the Bible” radio program, and after he explained the gospel, she became a genuine believer! Although still physically blind, the eyes of her heart were opened and her life changed (Ephesians 1:18).
In John’s ninth chapter, Jesus heals a blind man who later believes in Him, but the religious experts did not believe He was God-in-the-flesh. They could physically see Him, but they were blind spiritually to His true identity. These Pharisees, who had memorized major portions of the Old Testament in order to obey over 600 written laws, and oral traditions that they made up, thought they were righteous because of what they did.
My folks at our wedding (1988)
But Jesus told them they were blind. They had missed the point, which was Jesus Himself (Deuteronomy 18:15, Isaiah 53, John 5:39-47). They scoffed at His claim to be God, the Son of Man, because He healed on the Sabbath and violated one of their most holy rules not to work on the Sabbath. So what’s the point?
If you’re reading this then you’re not blind, but are you blind spiritually? If you think doing things (like the Pharisees) or church activities (like my mom) makes you right with God, you’ve missed the point of Jesus too. Consider “doing” versus “dying,” and Galatians 2:21 that says, “If righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
My mom (1924)
Thanks to McGee, my blind mom “saw” the truth of the gospel, plus nothing. If you’re not seeing Jesus, not 100% certain of Heaven, then maybe you need some J. Vernon too. Luckily, his “Thru the Bible” chats are still available online, but he no longer has any faith. He stopped using it on December 1, 1988 when he saw Jesus face to face, just like my mom who now sees Him perfectly too.