The other week our family had the opportunity to get out of town and visit a nearby town called Cripple Creek. The name in itself sounds kind of dreary, however, this was an old mining town that thrived in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. Today it is a preserved gold mine used to tour tourists around its corridors. I can’t believe our family squeezed into the 3 x 8 elevator shaft that lowered us down to the 1000 ft. mine.
It was dark and dingy and we couldn’t see anything without the lights on. I couldn’t believe the dangerous conditions the miners worked in. They spent hours working in these small mines using dynamite to blow holes in the rock or hammers to chisel it away. Before machines were invented to haul away loose rock, donkeys were used to haul these carts full of rocks. Can you imagine an 800-pound donkey lowered 1000 feet into these mines? The donkeys actually lived down in the mines 24/7. Eventually, the donkeys went blind from living in constant darkness.
When President Theodore Roosevelt found out about the donkeys living in darkness, he passed a law stating the donkeys had to be let out of the mines at least once a day. Eventually, this became too much work and the donkeys were set free no longer having to live a life of darkness or blindness again.
Could you imagine living a life a darkness to then be set free–never to live in darkness again?
Have you ever felt like these donkeys?
I can’t help but see the parallel of the donkey’s lives who lived in the darkness to our own lives. Oh, how I have been blind and lived in the darkness before. Living in darkness is not living at all. The longer we stay in the darkness we become blind just like these donkeys.
Just like Teddy Roosevelt interceded on behalf of the donkeys, Jesus intercedes for us.
The donkey’s story of their lives and sight being restored reminds me of the man who was born blind in John 9. It was believed in Old Testament times, if you were born blind, then you or your family must have sinned to deserve such a rotten life of blindness. But Jesus, tells His disciples the man’s blindness wasn’t the result of his sin, “but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v.3). Jesus then tells His disciples, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (v.4).
Jesus then used his own spit and some dirt on the ground to make mud to spread over the man’s eyes. He then tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam to wash off the mud and came back seeing. Neighbors and friends who had known this man his whole life were in shock and disbelief, after a lifetime of blindness, now their friend could see!
One of the mysteries from this scene strikes me when Jesus uses mud to heal the blind man. Jesus is Jesus. He doesn’t need mud to heal people. His power didn’t lie within the mud but within the abilities of God. Jesus didn’t use the mud to heal the man, he used it to open our unbelieving hearts.
The biggest skeptics of all were the Pharisees, the Jewish high priests. The man went before the Pharisees to explain how he miraculously gained his sight. The Pharisees did not believe a man who had been born blind was healed, because only a person from God, their Messiah could perform such miracles. The Pharisees called upon the man’s parents questioning them to answer their disbelief. They confirmed, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind” (v. 20). The Pharisees still weren’t convinced the man’s sight was an act from God Himself. So they called upon him again and asked ‘how do you see?’The man replied, 'One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see' (v.25)Click To Tweet
The Pharisees were spiritually blind to the fact God could perform such miraculous wonders. This is the part of the story I love. Jesus not only healed this man from blindness, he also came to find him. Jesus found the blind man after he heard they cast him out and asked the healed man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v. 35).
He said, “Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him. Jesus said, “For judgment, I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (v. 38-39).
The longer we live in this dark world, we become numb to the tragedies surrounding us. We become blind to what people are going through and stop seeing the hurting people around us. In an instant, Jesus removed a lifetime of blindness from the man who had no hope of ever seeing again. No matter how dark our lives are, how much we sin, Jesus loves us and will always come to find us, if we let him. Many of us who have sight are blind to the fact Jesus is standing right in front of us, reaching out his hand for us to take hold of to lead us into a life of light.Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' John 8:12.Click To Tweet
Jesus is the light of the world. Whoever follows him will never walk in darkness again………..
The old mining donkeys to this day are protected in the town of Cripple Creek, roaming around free. Just as the donkeys are set free, so are we when we allow Jesus to have all of our hearts.
Has God set you free from a life of darkness and blindness?
Praise God, I once was blind but now I see!
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