The light wouldn't need to be bent around large gravitational fields - space is flat, so it could come directly to us. Even with a microwave antenna we would be able to 'see' the beginning of the expansion, EXCEPT the mass and radiation at the time was so hot and dense, it would be similar to fog - you couldn't see a thing. Or soup. You can't see through soup. Hot soup of just hydrogen and helium nuclei and high-energy radiation that keeps knocking the electrons from attaching to the nuclei.
Originally Posted by chunx
As others mentioned, once the universe expanded enough and the hot soup cooled enough, the electrons attached to the nuclei, making electrically neutral atoms, and the 'soup' essentially became transparent, which allowed the radiation to travel unimpeded. As previously mentioned, this occurred about 380,000 years after the beginning of the expansion, when the universe had cooled sufficiently. Then things got interesting.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.