Guest Blogger: Pastor Alan Stewart
“They Blindfolded Him”
During Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the story is told that he became separated from his men and was spotted by his enemies. Running for his life, Napoleon ducked into a furrier’s shop. As he begged the shopkeeper to save him, the furrier hid Napoleon under a large pile of furs in the corner. No sooner had he finished, when the Russian Cossacks burst into the shop and tore the shop apart looking for Napoleon. They eventually gave up and left the shop. After some time passed, Napoleon’s personal guards came into the shop and Napoleon felt safe to come out from beneath the furs. Before they left, the furrier asked, “What was it like to be under the furs knowing that the next moment could surely be your last?” Napoleon became indignant and ordered his guards to blindfold and execute the furrier. He was quickly blindfolded and placed against the wall of the shop. The furrier could see nothing, but he could hear the guards shuffling into a line and preparing their rifles. Then he heard Napoleon call out, “Ready!” In that moment, a feeling the furrier could not describe welled up inside him and tears poured down his cheeks. Napoleon continued, “Aim!” Suddenly, the blindfold was stripped from his eyes and he stood face-to-face with Napoleon. Napoleon then said, “Now, you know the answer to your question.”
Recently, my mind became captivated with a detail in Scripture that I had given little attention before. The scene is in the courtyard of the palace of Caiaphas just before the morning dawn. The moonlight and the blaze of an open fire throw flickering light and shadows across the court and into the hallway. Jesus has been betrayed, forsaken, and denied. Luke 22:64 records the moment, “And when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face…” They struck Him, spat upon Him, and mocked Him. All the while, He was blindfolded. What darkness must have clouded their souls to have participated in such a cowardly act. Perhaps they were trying to protect their identity or to prevent their incrimination by blindfolding Him. However, what is sure is their cowardice was only matched by their hatred. As one ponders that scene, it should not be surprising to see how the spirit of the age still seeks to blindfold and mock Jesus in our day. Secularism, humanism, and clever philosophies have become militant in their aim to obscure the Gospel. Impure impulses, moral decay, and impetuous laws have left us to wonder who will deliver the next blow and where will the blow strike. For the enemy to be so hard at work, there is obviously something big at stake. Just what does it mean today for Jesus to be blindfolded?
Thoughts are prone to be defiant. In John 14:6, Jesus declared, “I am the way…” In Him, we have an exclusive path and a course with protective boundaries. However, the moment Christ is blindfolded, there is a false sense of security to seek opportunities to play outside the bounds. Like a child outside of the visible presence of their parents, once we lose the conscious awareness of the Lord’s nearness, we are enticed to do things we would never consider in His presence. Similar to Moses, who “looked this way and that way, and when he saw there was no man,” our world awaits strategic moments to seize control with the hope of burying the way of Christ in the sands of history. In the book of Judges, the nation was struggling in moral and spiritual decline. In that setting, we are repeatedly told, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” What a tragedy it is when leaders are doing wrong while thinking they are actually doing right! Once a society has been duped to believe that a better way has been found in philosophies, schemes, and loopholes, corruption and ruin are inevitable. John Calvin wrote, “For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.” Solomon’s counsel still holds wisdom today, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Truth is placed in the dark. In John 14:6, Jesus continued, “I am…the truth…” In Him, we find the clear separation between right and wrong, and between truth and error. However, the moment Christ is set beneath a blindfold, spiritual vision is obscured and discernment is lost. Like standing in an illuminated room and the light is slowly dimmed, the method of the devil is to alter, distort, and taint the truth, but to keep enough truth to make it believable. Then, once the light of truth is fully extinguished, reality only remains visible momentarily and quickly fades away. The treatment Jesus received is symbolic of the process by which truth is marginalized. First, truth is rejected (spit upon Him). Truth is then ridiculed (mocked Him). Truth is then revolted against (struck Him). Finally, truth is replaced (crucified Him). Pilate once asked, “What is truth?” No matter how often a lie is repeated or the sincerity and fervor with which it is spoken will ever make it truth. For the Christian, the acid test of truth is does it align with Scripture. This is why truth has come to be labeled as the new hate crime in our society. George Orwell said, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” However, truth must still be sounded in the public square because truth is a transforming power. The longer truth remains silent, the greater the risk of lies and falsehood ruling the next generation.
Tolerance is progressive in its deception. In John 14:6, Jesus concluded, “I am…the life…” In Him, we possess not only eternal life, but we possess the satisfaction of a peaceful, abundant life. However, the moment the eyes of Christ are veiled behind the blindfold, the visible reminder of any sense of conviction is removed. Peter was the last to look into the eyes of Jesus before He was blindfolded, “and Peter went out, and wept bitterly” with a sense of guilt and shame. There was a time when mother’s would cover the eyes of their children when something disgraceful was about to unfold in front of them. Today, however, accommodations are made to ensure the children do not miss it. Tolerance is considered a virtue in our society, when in reality it is the exposure of a lack of firm resolve to one’s own convictions. Billy Graham said, “Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go.” All it takes to alter the course of society is one tiny and almost imperceptible compromise at a time. Over time, the conscience is seared, freedoms are lost, and we find ourselves way beyond the point to reverse the changes. If we do not learn to “earnestly contend for the faith” now, we alone will be responsible for the damage done to our soul for having looked the other way.
Can you see it? The One who had miraculously opened the eyes of a man born blind now sits blindfolded and surrounded by those filled with blind hatred. Unwilling to look Him in the face, they degrade and humiliate Him. Cowardly, they inflict blows upon their helpless and blindfolded captive. Surely, someone will come to His defense. William Penn correctly wrote, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” Silence and apathy can now only mean one thing: it is actually we who have been blindfolded
© 2015 Alan Stewart