Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara Woods-Washington

“Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he had drawn near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Sir,” he answered, “I want to see again.” Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight! Your faith has brought you salvation!” (Luke 18:40-42 The Anchor Bible). A second look at Luke’s use of ‘Faith’: ‘The Healing Of The Blind Man At Jericho’.

Michaelis has studied the numerous words used in the Greek language for the verb ‘to see’. He reminds us that there are so many verbs for our simple English translation ‘to see’; used to cover such a wide range of meaning that it clearly indicates the high estimation that seeing has in the life of (hu)man. To be sure, Greek religions are regarded by many as ‘religions of vision’.

It is no small thing that Jesus, in ministry to a Greek-speaking world, would also throughout his teachings emphasize— yea specializes in the need ‘to see’.

‘Blepo’ the term used here for ‘to see’ is used three times in this text with each occurrence being the form ‘anablepo/to see again’.

The blind man, being brought to Jesus, notwithstanding the ‘hold-up’ attempt by the crowd, received ‘one wish’ which was— “I want to see again!” Jesus grants this wish in the imperative mood of command— “See Again!”I command you to— “See Again!”And at once, Luke records, “He saw again!”

‘Blepo’, then, has a stronger emphasis on the function of the eye in relation to the sense of seeing. It is a return from ‘short-sightedness’; it is ‘to have insight’; it is ‘conceptual perception’. In Matthew’s 13th Chapter’s ‘Parable of the Sower’, Jesus says to the disciples, “the reason I speak to them in Parables is that ‘blepontes/seeing’ they do not perceive…”

Look—Again, at this healing of the blind man and see that it is not the physical sight that is being wished for, it is clearly something that he once had, but has now lost— “Lord I want to see Again.”

I am reminded of how easy it is to lose sight of ‘whatsoever is just’; ‘whatsoever is pure.. whatsoever is true…’ surrounded by systems that eat alive those who enter walking injustice, in purity and truth. During my years as a student at Tennessee State University, I ‘marched’ several times to the Capital as the community protested ‘take-overs’.

Now it is a community ‘taken over’ with little or no knowledge or protest as to what takes place in the Capital. “Lord I NEED TO SEE— AGAIN.”

The TIMES are furious with Protest. The Marches on Washington are… Daily. This week marked the end of a “40 Day Protest— A Moral Revival/The Poor People’s Campaign” where, after 6 Monday Protests in the Capital Cities across America, on Sat, June 23rd The Busses rolled into The Nation’s Capital under the leadership of Rev. Dr. William Barber. The Sign for these times read: “The War on The Poor is Immoral”.

It is the same verb used by Jesus when ‘The Sinful Woman’ came to Simon’s house to anoint Jesus with her alabaster of ointment. Jesus said, “Simeon ‘blepeis/you see’ this woman?”

It is not the verb used for visionary, not for a glance, not for physical sightedness, nor for prophesy— just a clear and simple sense of the faces, the spaces; the realities of the inter-connectedness of life— right around you.

This ‘wish’, this ‘petition’ made by the blind man in this text has become a daily prayer for my life: “Lord,” (I wish I had a praying Church…) “I want to see again.” To ‘see clearly’ is a perception that enables one to know ‘a lie’ the minute CNN or FoxNews reports it! I like the way John put it, read his lips— “and you will know the truth… and the truth will set you free!”

by email: mustardseedfaith@outlook.com