Read John 9:1-41
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some claimed that he was.
Others said, "No, he only looks like him."
But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
10"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.
11He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."
12"Where is this man?" they asked him.
"I don't know," he said.
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."
16Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath."
But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.
17Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened."
The man replied, "He is a prophet."
18The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. 19"Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"
20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."
24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."
25He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"
26Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
27He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"
28Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."
30The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."
34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
37Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."
40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"
41Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (NIV)
This is a wonderful passage. We in it some much some obvious and some hidden that only comes out when understanding the times.
Here we have a man, not a child, not a teenager, but a man born blind. He is well known in the area. The disciple even know him as evidenced by their question. The encountered him and knowing he had been blind since birth, asked a question that people had actually debated. Did the man sin or did his parents sin to cause the blindness in the man? The Jews actually debated that a person could sin in the womb. They believed that the soul of a person actually existed before they were created in the womb. Others said, no, people can only sin after birth. Those who said it is after birth came to see what was written in Genesis 4:7, “sin lies at the door” referred to that sin was waiting at the entrance to the womb to enter a person when they were born.
But we also see in Scripture that the sin of the parents is upon the children. And to a certain extent, we see that in children of alcoholics often become alcoholics. Even though they swear they would never be like their parent, it is all they knew and the influence of the parent was too great for the child to overcome.
So, the disciples want to know where Jesus fell on this. But Jesus doesn’t answer their question. He does not relate suffering to sin as the Jews wanted to do. He says that what happened is so that God might be glorified. And we have come to see that miracles point to the glory of God. They signify God’s presence when it needs to be seen in a big way.
So Jesus heals the man and begins a chain reaction of events. And in this change reaction, we see three reactions to the healing. First there is the man. He cannot be swayed to say that Jesus is bad. In fact, he claims Jesus is something greater than most. He says at first he is a prophet. Later he asks the Pharisees if they want to be his follower too. And finally he is a believer that Jesus is the son of God and will share that.
Then we see that reaction to the Pharisees. Because the healing was done on the Sabbath, it cannot be of God. The reaction of the Pharisees is that God must work out of the predefined box we have placed him in. God must act out of my views of God. Their reaction is one to control religion, not help people experience God’s love. God is not to be controlled, we are to help break down the walls that keep people from experiencing God.
And then there is the reaction of the man’s parents. There is fear to pick a side. We live in times were people are afraid to voice their beliefs for fear of being attached or even worse, losing their jobs, their friends.
Where do you fall in these three reactions to what Christ has done in your life? Some might say they can identify with all three, depending on the time in their life. I think there are times where we want to control God and there are times when we are not sure if we should share our faith. And there are times when we are ready to talk to whoever will listen. Which reaction do you desire to be your standard reaction?
Jesus has a way of forcing the issue at times. And so often, that comes during suffering. In suffering, do we fear, do we seek to control, or do we trust that Jesus is with us? These are not easy questions. But to dwell on them will bring us closer to God.
Blessings and Peace