Summary: Focusing on studying Jesus can, if we let it, blind us from knowing him.


In 1985 neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote a book describing some of the case histories of his patients who had disorders. One of the, a man with visual agnosia, was the origin was the book’s title, The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

It’s a funny title, and kind of a funny idea. But, it’s also kind of sad. Sad because it is true. And sad when you don’t recognize people you ought to know.

As I’m sure you know by now, I’m dyslexic. It does not run in my family, it gallops. My mother, who graduated from HS at the top of her class just a couple of weeks after her fourteenth birthday, could not look at a round clock face and tell you want time it is.

My grandfather, a towering figure at 6’4” was famous in our family for walking past the ticket salesman at a theater where we’d already gone on through with his tickets. Afraid the ticket salesman might think he was dishonest, he smiled broadly, pointed at my mother and said, “It’s OK, I’m her daughter.”

My son, Stephen, who could read over 1200 words a minute in the fifth grade, came upstairs to ask me one time, “Dad, what’s lysdexic?”

Well, dyslexic people have a harder time than most at recognizing faces. Who knows why? Just the way the brain works. Or, in my case, doesn’t work. Our brains just don’t work like normal brains.

But it’s awkward, embarrassing, and sometimes sad when you don’t recognize someone you ought to know.

So, here’s Jesus, standing up in front the best educated theologians of his day and tell them, in his hillbilly Galilean accent, that are in worse shape that the man who mistook his wife for a hat.

John 8:12-19

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”

19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”

“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

One reason it is easy not to recognize someone is when there isn’t enough light. Light slipping back into my seat at the movies, taking Linda’s hand, and whispering, “Did I miss anything?” only to hear Linda’s voice coming from right behind me, “Ah, just your seat.” Talk about needed to offer a few quick apologies.

Turn up the lights so I can see you, so you can see me seeing you. Before they remodeled the chapel, though, everyone who spoke hear know the problem was not the lack of light, but where the lights were placed. I mean, you’d stand up to speak, Mary would hit the lights and the audience was gone. Just the blinding white light and this voice saying something like, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me.”

That can reveal or, in other instances, light can blind.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So, there’s only place to stand so that the light will not blind you, and that’s following Jesus.

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Is it like a celestial game of Simon Says. OK, now, Jesus says stand up. Now Jesus says read your Bibles. Now, say a prayer. Ah, wait. Gotchu – I didn’t say Jesus says.

Or, is following Jesus like a game of hide seek. Like “Where’s Waldo,” except if you lose, you got to hell. OK, now, where’s Jesus.

This past December the Millennium Health Club Christmas display was vandalized and someone absconded with the life size replica of Baby Jesus. It seemed appropriate, then, when the Assembly of God church just up the street posted their sermon topic for the Sunday before Advent: “Where’s Jesus Today?” I don’t know about you, but I’d suggest the police take a good look in that church building.

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