Isaiah was instructed to tell his people, “You hear but do not understand; you see but you do not grasp. It is because you have hardened your hearts, plugged your ears and closed your eyes so that you do not have to repent and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10). Jesus appealed, in like manner, to His generation nearly 800 years later (Matthew 13:13-15) and added that He had come to heal them (John 12:40). The same blindness that had fallen over Isaiah’s generation (Isaiah 29:10) was plaguing Paul’s generation (Romans 11:8, 10). Are we, in the Twenty-first Century, plagued by a similar blindness?
Jesus’ reference to Isaiah was made when He explained the use of parables. He said to his disciples, “The knowledge of the secret of the kingdom has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew 13:11). The “them” are those that do not see the need to be converted and healed. Therefore, the message of Christ is parabolic or hidden for those that do not want to change their ways; however, for those that want healing and salvation, the parables are no mystery. The use of parables was also a method when the message of salvation offended powerful individuals that could inflict harm. Have we come to a time when we too may have to camouflage the message of Christ? Why would we have to become parabolic?
Jesus gave us the answer in John 9:39-41. “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees (leaders) objected and asked, “Are we also blind?” Jesus replied, “if you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say that you see, your sin stays with you.”
It was sin that blinded these people and it still blinds us today. Sin is very powerful and persuasive. It commences in the heart or the mind (Matthew 15:19), but it ends up being sensual. And it is very difficult to argue with satisfied feelings. Sin turns us into slaves by placing a monkey on our back that we cannot shake (Psalm 69:23; Romans 11:10). That is why we must flee from lust (II Timothy 2:22) and pray that we do not fall into temptation (Luke 22:46). Moral blindness is not just an individual problem but also national and global. The character of sin did not change during Isaiah’s or Paul’s time neither has it in our time.