Terry R. Baughman
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).
Focus is vital to clear vision. Thanks to advancements in optometry many visual challenges are correctable and the opportunity to go through life with good eyesight is obtainable. From nearsightedness to farsightedness there are adjustments and lenses to bring clarity to one’s vision. Astigmatism can also be corrected through prescription glasses.
As we age our bodies go through several changes. The eyes also lose some ability for focus and regular testing of vision enable an adjustment to our prescription to compensate for the changes that age brings. Cataracts may form on the eye clouding or distorting the images received. Laser surgery can remove cataracts and repair to the lenses can bring relief from this condition that affects our ability to see clearly.
In similar fashion our spiritual vision may diminish with time and distortions or distractions may cloud our sight and affect our perception. Spiritual renewal can bring back our focus on the ministry of Jesus and help us realign with His purpose.
Jesus outlined the scope of His ministry in the passage of our text, a reading from Isaiah 61:1–2. Along with the proclamation of the Good News He also came to heal brokenness, bring spiritual freedom, and “recovery of sight to the blind.” The healing of blindness took place in the natural and in the spiritual sense. In Bethsaida a blind man was brought to Jesus for healing. Jesus took him out of town, spat on his eyes, and placed His hands on him. When asked if he could see he responded, “I see men like trees, walking.” After Jesus touched his eyes a second time, “he was restored and saw everyone clearly” (Mark 8:22–25).
May God touch us a second time to bring clarity in our vision. There are two areas in which we need a refocus and two objectives with which we must realign to bring about spiritual success and renewal.
1) Refocus on Salvation. There is a visual renewal that took place in our salvation. New sight comes when we are born again of the water and of the Spirit. Two old hymns come to mind that rejoice in new sight. In 1707 Isaac Watts wrote the inspiring hymn, “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!”
John Newton’s refrain, Amazing Grace, written in 1773, is perhaps the most famous hymn ever written, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” When we refocus on the miracle of salvation we experience a renewal of that joyous event and are convinced anew of the great need of others to learn of this new birth experience.
2) Refocus on His Mission. Jesus came with a singular mission, to save humanity from the curse of sin and the prescribed penalty of death. Jesus said that He had come, “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He also said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus did not come to be pampered and honored, but rather to give of Himself so that others might have everlasting life. When we focus on His mission we find a renewal of our mission.
3) Realign with His Purpose. His commission, delivered to the disciples, serves as our template for fulfilling the Master’s purpose. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them …, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). Our purpose is clear. Our responsibility is to measure our alignment with the assignment. If we have veered away from His commission it is time to realign!
4) Realign with His Vision. We will see clearly when we align our perception with His. This is only possible through a spiritual encounter and renewal. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Rise up and refocus on the bigger picture through His vision. Perspective can change our understanding and alter the outcome. Get above the clouds. Get away the noise. Get free from the conflict (if not physically, spiritually) and see the big picture of God’s vision, and His purpose. Refocus on His redemption and His mission and see a difference in the outcome.
“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”