John 9:1 – 12
9 1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. 5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. 7 He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! 8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”
But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” 10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” 11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” 12 “Where is he now?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he replied.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Chapter nine of John’s Gospel is a very long and intricately woven story, but it is still one single story. It does reveal the power of God working through Jesus. But more importantly, it will show us the progression of faith of the man who had been blind, as well as the progression of disbelief and rejection of Jesus’ healing ministry by the Pharisees.
It is very significant that the one who was born physically blind would end up being the one who could see spiritually. And on the opposite side, the Pharisees, who were the primary religious teachers in Jesus’ day, are shown that they who ought to have recognized Jesus for who He really was, were in fact the very ones themselves who were spiritually blind.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
When Jesus and his disciples noticed a man who had been blind since birth, the disciples asked a question that reflects the beliefs of a great many cultural groups. Especially in non-western countries, and in animistic societies like what we lived within Papua New Guinea, many people believe that sickness is the direct result of some sin or wrong doing. Since this man had been born blind, they naturally assumed that either the parents or the man himself were guilty of some sin.
I found an excellent quote in the Translator’s Handbook on John which considered Jesus’ response to the question:
Jesus’ answer to the disciples then becomes a rejection of their belief that the man’s blindness was due either to his parents’ sin or to his own sin, but he makes no judgement as to the reason that the man was born blind. He simply says that the man’s blindness offers an opportunity to show God’s power at work in him, and that Jesus himself has come to reveal that power at work in history.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Even in our modern western culture, I do not think that we have a good and proper understanding when it comes to acute sickness and suffering. Many people ask, “How could a loving God cause, or even allow, such terrible things like the pain and suffering we see in the world?” Jesus does not really address this question, and I think maybe we should not either.
Instead, we need to accept that part of living within a fallen world means that most, if not all people will experience some terrible forms of suffering and loss in their lifetime. The question really is what do we do when we encounter these kinds of circumstances. In the life of this blind man, Jesus saw that He had an opportunity to display the power of God, which is certainly greater than any kind of sickness.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
This brings me to Romans 8:28, which I have referred to in other articles:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
I’ve written in many of my articles about my older son and his journey through his cancer years of his leukemia, as well as my present journey over the last four years of my muscular disease called Mitochondrial Myopathy. But in all these difficult years, I never asked the question of “Why did You allow this to hit my son or happen to me?”
Rather, I have taken the promise of Romans 8:28 that God will bring good out of every situation for those who love God, no matter how bad the situation might look. If I had the time and the space, I would be able to tell you how true and real this promise is, for we saw time and time again God’s goodness and His power coming through our health situations to bless us and to bless others around us.
So what is your belief about pain and suffering? Is God an evil and uncaring God? Or can you see the hand of God in the midst of the suffering, revealing the power and the goodness of God towards those who know and love God. If you have not experienced this, perhaps it is because you have not taken the first step to invite God and His love into your heart. I encourage you to do so friend, and then I pray you would experience God’s grace and power in your life as I have in mine.
* If this article has been helpful to you and a blessing, please share it and invite your friends to come visit this devotional blog site.