I've heard it said this is a true story. I've also heard that the Navy denies it. Scopes says it is one of many versions of a joke that has been circulating since the 1930s.
It doesn't matter because it still makes a good point, one we'd all be wise to learn and heed,
Americans: "Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision."Canadians: "Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision."Americans: "This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course."Canadians: "No, I say again, you divert YOUR course."Americans: "THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES' ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT'S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP."Canadians: "This is a lighthouse. Your call."
That story is the first thing that comes to mind, however, each time I read through this passage of Scripture and think about the response of Pharisees.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?"
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.Reading this account, I wonder what Jesus saw as He looked into the humble, trusting, believing man, committing and confiding his heart and then compared that with the stubborn arrogance, anger and malice of the Pharisees.
Jesus is a divider (remember John 9.16)...
The One prophesied...
"He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." (Isaiah 8.14)
The One announced...
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel...so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (from Luke 2, Simeon's words)The Offending Cornerstone...
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and, "A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for. (1 Peter 2.7-8)
That wasn't why He came. Jesus came to be humbled, to walk on this earth as one of us, to die and pay the penalty of our sins, to rise from the dead so that we too could live. Those who rejected Him and what He came to do invited judgment through a self-condemnation.
The same is true today. Those who reject Him and what He came to do invite judgment and thus condemn themselves.
We can see that self-condemnation in the Pharisees. They were convinced they didn't need anything because they could see. They thought they knew God. They were absolutely sure that they had a handle on truth. They decided that Jesus could not come from God. And if He didn't come from God and had such power, He had to be demonic. They were never going to admit that they couldn't see accurately or ably.
They couldn't have been more wrong.
Their scornful spiritual sightlessness prevented them from actually encountering Jesus even as walked among them, stood and spoke with them.
MacArthur points out several terrifying details about those who are spiritually blind:
- They will receive judgment and they condemn themselves.
- They refuse to admit blindness.
- They reject the offer of light and sight when it is given.
- Their insistence on 20/20 spiritual vision only demonstrates the absolute spiritual blindness.
- They cannot see the depth and pervasiveness of their own sinfulness.
- Often, while the spiritually blind are blind to their own depravity, they are not blind to Truth.
- Spiritual blindness results in doom because their sin remains
The beggar seeking charity, the lowly outcast, the searcher longing for sight - I want to be that person. I think one of the most sobering things in that list above is the fact that while the spiritually blind do not take note of their own need and their own sinfulness, they are not blind to Truth. They recognize it in an abstract way. They can say the right words... even look like they are living a right life... and yet they are blind to the most important fact of all:
We all need a Savior...
How many will miss encountering Him... because of arrogance and willful blindness?
John MacArthur's sermon link